SunTrust Fastest at Roar Before the 24 Testing
New Corvette DP Performs Flawlessly for Angelelli, Taylor, Briscoe for Three Solid Days
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 8, 2012) – Max Angelelli, Ricky Taylor and IndyCar regular Ryan Briscoe introduced a new-look No. 10 SunTrust Corvette Dallara for Wayne Taylor Racing in style at this weekend’s Roar Before the 24 test days in preparation for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona at month’s end.
The SunTrust Racing machine turned in a performance as stunning as its brand new Corvette DP bodystyle and orange-and-white SunTrust paint scheme, clocking the fastest laps in four of the eight test sessions conducted over the three days, the second-fastest laps in two other sessions, and top-five laps during the remaining two outings.
All we’re hoping for is another weekend like this one, and that will be the race weekend.
Angelelli’s lap of 1 minute, 41.142 seconds (126.713 mph) during Sunday morning’s one-hour, 45-minute session was fastest of the weekend among 59 car-and-driver combinations that took to the historic 3.56-mile, 12-turn Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road circuit in the final test days before the highly anticipated 50th anniversary edition of the Rolex 24. It was .196 of a second faster than the next-best lap of the weekend (1:41.338 at 126.468 mph) turned in Saturday morning by the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP of Darren Law, David Donohue and Christian Fittipaldi. Corvette DP’s recorded the five fastest laps overall.
BMW clocked the sixth-fastest lap of the weekend (1:41.761 at 125.942 mph) in Saturday’s late-afternoon session at the hands of two-time-defending series champion Scott Pruett in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley he’ll share at the Rolex 24 with Memo Rojas, Graham Rahal and Joey Hand. The fastest Ford was the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Riley of Oswaldo Negri, John Pew, A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Wilson, which had a weekend-best lap of 1:41.762 at 125.941 mph on Saturday night.
The 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona is set for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28-29, with 15½ hours of live coverage on SPEED beginning with its hour-long pre-race show at 2:30 p.m. EST Saturday. The middle 10 hours of the race will also be streamed live on SPEED.com. Practice and qualifying for the 50th annual endurance classic begin on Thursday, Jan. 26.
Max Angelelli, Co-Driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette Dallara for Wayne Taylor Racing:
On paper, at least, it looked to be a very successful weekend for the SunTrust team. What’s the reality behind the SunTrust team being on top of the timesheets, and so often, during this test?
“You’ve got to understand that we were pushing the limit and, in the first session today, we did a qualifying run under the perfect conditions – low fuel, new tires, a good, clear lap, no mistakes. It was the perfect lap. Obviously we’re happy, but not because of that lap. We’re happy because we did eight practices without a single issue. Our SunTrust Corvette ran really well the entire time. So far, I’ve never had a January test as good as this one. It’s been great, very successful. All we’re hoping for is another weekend like this one, and that will be the race weekend. The sad part is that this was just a test. There is a lot that will have to be achieved on race weekend, but I’m pretty confident.”
What will happen over the next few weeks before the SunTrust team returns for the actual Rolex 24 race weekend?
“The new Corvette is a major step that GM (General Motors) has taken. There is a lot that still has to be done, many little things that still need to be improved. And, to understand that the hardest race for a car is its first race, and this one just so happens to be a 24-hour race, it’s a major risk and commitment that everybody is taking. On the positive side, things have gone very, very well, so far. I feel our team is a good team. Our guys, our mechanics and everybody, they’re really good. This is when you see that having a good team makes a huge difference, under these kinds of circumstances. I can’t wait to get back here in a few weeks.”
Ricky Taylor, Co-Driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette Dallara for Wayne Taylor Racing:
On paper, it looks like it couldn’t get any better than it has gone for the SunTrust team this weekend. How do you feel about the three-day test?
“It’s hard to tell considering we have no idea what everybody else’s plan was this weekend. We did a lot of different things. We did qualifying simulations, we did long runs, we did brake testing, we did radio testing, back-up radio testing. We did everything you could possibly think of and had plenty of time and are now down to our final prep for the 24-hour. Brian (Pillar) our engineer told me he’s never left a test this happy and this well-prepared, so I think that says a lot.”
Considering you’re rolling out a new car and all that means, were you particularly concerned about how quickly things would progress?
“We knew we had a good base when we came to Daytona this weekend. We knew where to start and everything. It was a matter of getting up to speed and tweaking a few thing from a really good starting point. Max, Ryan and I all liked the same things, so it was pretty constructive and we were able to get to where we wanted to be pretty fast. I think I’m happy with this car. If we could race this car, I’d be happy if nothing changes. Twenty-four hours is a long time. There will be a lot of cars out there and a lot of variables so, hopefully, we can make it to the end and be part of the fight over those last couple of hours.”
Ryan Briscoe, Co-Driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette Dallara for Wayne Taylor Racing:
Your overall thoughts as you look back on the past three days of testing with the SunTrust team?
But the main thing, at this point, is we have a car that all three drivers are really happy to drive.
“It felt very normal. I’ve driven with these guys so many times, now, and really felt comfortable right away driving with Max and Ricky. I love the new cockpit and the Corvette bodystyle. The car looks great, it feels great. I really felt comfortable and confident driving the car this weekend. It’s great working with a lot of common people at Chevy and GM and Pratt & Miller, too. There is a lot of really useful overlay as far as getting to know people and the same people I work with on the IndyCar side. It’s pretty exciting and good for me to be racing here with Max and Ricky and the whole SunTrust team.”
The SunTrust car was fastest in most of the eight sessions. Do you feel that will translate well to the Rolex 24 weekend itself?
“I hope so. We want to stay at the front and the car felt really good in practice. It’s handling beautifully and just feels really fast. That’s a good sign for the race. But, over a 24-hour period, you’ve got to be there at the end and that’s going to be the main goal.”
Wayne Taylor, Team Owner of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Corvette Dallara for Wayne Taylor Racing:
You must be happy with the way things went this weekend for the SunTrust team and the new Corvette DP?
“I’m extremely happy by the speed at which everybody at GM and Pratt & Miller and Wayne Taylor Racing has been able to turn this car around in terms of making it solid for a 24-hour run. We’ve come here and had no problems all weekend while going through all the changes we wanted to. Speaking to Max, Ricky and Ryan independently, all three had the same feedback. They’re all happy. I’ve got to be careful because it’s actually gone so well that we’ll be wondering what we might have missed. I think the guys have done a good job. They’ve taken the time to make sure the car is ready for the race. We did try to simulate a qualifying lap with Max this morning and we did a really good lap. I’m not sure if we can go any faster than that. But the main thing, at this point, is we have a car that all three drivers are really happy to drive. I’m really happy that we can take two good weeks to regroup and get ready for the big one.”
Still, with the uncertainty of having to race a new package for the first time at the end of the month, do you feel much better after the way things went this weekend?
“I feel much better. We’ve got the best crew on the pit lane and they look at every single millimeter of this car. There’s not even a question in my mind that we have the best driver lineup. We have three guys who are fast. We have three guys who are reliable. We have three guys who have done this before, together. And we have three guys who understand it takes a team effort.”