Leaving Homestead with a Smile Howard Motorsports pleased with two-day test session Denver, N.C. (December 7, 2006) . It is only the first week of December, and it was basically a routine two-day test. But, for Howard Motorsports, the Grand Am...
Leaving Homestead with a Smile
Howard Motorsports pleased with two-day test session
Denver, N.C. (December 7, 2006) . It is only the first week of December, and it was basically a routine two-day test. But, for Howard Motorsports, the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series test at the Homestead-Miami Speedway this week left everyone on the team with a smile on their face. And, with good reason.
The second of three scheduled "off-season" test sessions for the Rolex Sports Car Series was held at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 5th and 6th, with 36 teams participating in either a Daytona Prototype or GT car. Howard Motorsports had three cars entered for the test, and the results were very pleasing for each.
Andy Wallace piloted both the #20 Pontiac Crawford DP and the #45 Infiniti G35 GT entry during the two-day test. Chris and Rob Dyson shared driving duties both days in the #16 Thetford / Norcold Pontiac Crawford DP, and Terry Borcheller and Johnny Mowlem split time behind the wheel of the Infiniti GT on Wednesday.
Wallace, who served as test and research development driver for Crawford Race Cars in addition to his driving duties in the Rolex Series, spent the better part of the first day of testing in the Infiniti G35 GT car. With this being a new car, Wallace ran over thirty laps in the two sessions on Tuesday in order to give the Howard Law Motorsports Team (owners of the Infiniti) the best possible feedback for their program.
"The Infiniti GT car is a different type of car," Wallace commented. "It's one that's really nice to drive. It's a very, very sturdy car. My first impressions of the car are really good. It's comfortable to drive and it's very quick, particularly through the oval portion of the track." Wallace's best speed on Tuesday was 99.638 mph on the 2.3-mile, 11-turn Homestead- Miami Speedway road course.
Wallace then turned his concentration to the #20 Howard Motorsports Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype. Beginning Tuesday afternoon and continuing through Wednesday, Wallace completed 67 total laps. His best overall time and speed was 1:14.159 / 111.652 mph to rank sixth fastest in the combined practice results.
"Our test with the Pontiac Crawford was really successful," Wallace stated. "We worked very hard with the new Bosch system, and ran a lot of laps with the new Hoosier tires. I think we've got a good balance on them now. Also, I believe we've got a good shock and spring package for this car. We were right at the top of the speed charts both days, and I'm very pleased with that. Our entire Howard Motorsports Team did a really good job."
"At Daytona, we spent two days trying to get the car to run right with the new Bosch system," Wallace continued. "We really didn't get to try any setup work during that test, so we finally got to work on a lot of different things here in Homestead. With the hot temperatures today (Wednesday), many of the cars were slip-sliding around quite a bit. But, by the end of our session, we had a really good balance for our Pontiac Crawford. We may face similar conditions here (Homestead) for our race next March, so this test really helped us for that event."
Crew Chief and Team Aerodynamicist Catherine Wallace was also elated after the test.
"The first day, we really didn't get to run that much in the DP car because Andy (Wallace) was busy with the GT car," Catherine commented. "So, for the limited time that we had, I feel as though we had a good test. We were at the top of the sheet (speed chart), and that was very pleasing to see. I would like to have tried a few more things, but we got a lot done on these new tires. But, what is this new Hoosier tire going to do at Daytona next month? That will be interesting to see. I definitely feel better leaving Homestead than I did Daytona last month!"
Chris and Rob Dyson alternated driving the #16 Thetford / Norcold Pontiac Crawford during the two-day test with the duo completing a total of 81 laps in the four sessions. The best speed achieved during the test was 1:15.164 / 110.159 mph by Chris Dyson during the Tuesday afternoon session.
"Our priority for this test was to get Rob (Dyson) back in the car," Chris stated. "It's been four months since he last drove, and he did a super job. He kept getting his lap times lower and lower. I think he'll be in good shape by Daytona. Technically, we were evaluating this new Hoosier tire, and we learned quite a bit on the first day here. Now, we've got a good 'cookbook' going into Daytona. Really, we're just getting back to driving the Daytona Prototype and the Pontiac Crawford. It was a pleasure, and I believe we're going to be very competitive at Daytona this year."
His enthusiasm was shared by each and every member of the Howard Motorsports Team at Homestead. The smile on their faces as they exited the garage area on Wednesday told the entire story of the past two days.
The next test for the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series will be at the Daytona International Speedway on January 4-6, 2007. The 45th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona is set for green flag on Saturday, January 27th.