Team Chevy Daytona January test notes, day 3

Team Chevy Racing press release

Team Chevy Concludes Successful Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway

#9 Action Express Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP: Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, JC France, Max Papis
#9 Action Express Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP: Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, JC France, Max Papis

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 8, 2012) – The checkered flag has fallen on the final test session of the Roar Before the Rolex 24. It was an very successful weekend on-track for Team Chevy in all three Grand-Am Road Racing classes, Rolex Sports Car Series (Rolex) Daytona Prototype (DP) and Grand Touring (GT) as well as Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) Grand Sport (GS).

As was in the case in every DP session on both Friday and Saturday, the Corvette DP led with way Sunday with the top-five positions in the final combined time sheet. Max Angelelli ran the fastest lap of the three-day session on Sunday morning with a lap of 126.712 mph in the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette DP co-driven by Ricky Taylor and Ryan Briscoe. The two Action Express Corvette DP cars followed the SunTrust team.

In both GT and GS, the Camaro teams continued to refine their setups throughout the day. In GT, the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R posted another top-five time at the conclusion of today’s testing. With virtually perfect weather conditions, teams saw continual improvement as the engineers and crews fine-tuned their preparation for the Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona weekend.

The 2012 Rolex Series season opens with the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Jan. 28-29. 2012. Opening practice and qualifying will be held on Thursday, Jan. 26. The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season-opening GRAND-AM 200 highlights the Friday schedule.

JIM LUTZ, GRAND-AM PROGRAM RACING, GM RACING: WHAT ARE YOUR FINAL THOUGHTS ON TESTING AT DAYTONA: “I am quite pleased with the team’s testing results in all three classes, the DP, GT and GS. I think all of our teams accomplished everything they wanted to during the weekend. We are in really good shape for the race event. I hope the weather will be as nice as it has been during all of these test days. Everyone was pleasantly surprised with how many spectators we had here at Daytona, just for test days. It is a good sign of interest in the race coming up. I am quite satisfied with all we accomplished these three days.”

DID YOU SEE EVERYTHING OUT OF THE CORVETTE DP YOU EXPECTED? “I am pretty happy with where the Corvette DP cars are at after the weekend and what the teams accomplished in getting their cars dialed in, brake system refinement, getting their drivers rotated through and just getting familiar with the new Corvette body. I’m very happy with that. It is still pretty much of an unknown as to really how fast everybody will be. I don’t think until we have qualifying we aren’t going to know where we stand relative to the competition. We are very happy with what was accomplished.”

MAX ANGELELLI, NO. 10 SUNTRUST/ WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DP: 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 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, NO. 10 SUNTRUST/ WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DP: 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 things 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, NO. 10 SUNTRUST/ WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DP: YOUR OVERALL THOUGHTS AS YOU LOOK BACK ON THE PAST THREE DAYS OF TESTING WITH THE SUNTRUST TEAM? “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 body style. 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, NO. 10 SUNTRUST/WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DP: 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.”

ALEX GURNEY, NO. 99 GAINSCO/BOB STALLINGS RACING CORVETTE DP: “We ran the whole time without any show stoppers. We got through a lot of laps, so we have a lot of information to draw on. We are still learning about how the tires work with this car, and that is kind of our one question mark at this point. We did get to do a full fuel run, the whole stint, so I think we got a lot accomplished. The car is pretty quick so we feel pretty good about it.”

JON FOGARTY, NO. 99 GAINSCO/BOB STALLINGS RACING CORVETTE DP: “The team has done a tremendous job. They worked through the holidays and we threw a lot of issues at them that you need to sort out for a 24-hour race, and they did a good job. We still have a few lingering ones, and the more we run, the more stuff seems to come up. Our engineer said we are playing the game ‘Whac-A-Mole’ a little bit. You get one down and another one pops back up. There is a little bit of that going on, but we are definitely pleased with the progress that the guys have made. We found some good pace and we are definitely getting a handle on it. I am encouraged that we used almost all of the track time this weekend, but it’s never enough when you are working with a new car.”

MEMO GIDLEY, NO. 99 GAINSCO/BOB STALLINGS RACING CORVETTE DP: “I feel good. Everything is going really smoothly it seems. Still some issues to work out, I would say, but the consistency, and how the car feels over the course of a long run, is good. It’s good on old tires and mechanically we have not had any real problems through the test. We’ve just run laps and kind of stuck to our plan. I am super optimistic. For me, it is the best shot I have yet at the Rolex 24 with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing.”

BOB STALLINGS, TEAM OWNER, NO. 99 GAINSCO/BOB STALLINGS RACING CORVETTE DP: “I feel really good about it. The car is way beyond where I thought it would be at this point. I really thought it was going to take up until the last practice right before the race to have a general idea where we were, or a sense of comfort, but the drivers are pretty happy and the car is certainly drivable. It’s obviously not perfect, they are never perfect, but all in all, it is pretty doggone good. We’re encouraged.”

MAX PAPIS, NO. 9 ACTION EXPRESS RACING CORVETTE DP: "I predict we will have one of the closest finishes in Rolex 24 history. I've been looking at the time chart, and there is no one with a clear advantage over everyone. We're going to see 24 hours of everyone pushing to the limit. The key will be not making any mistakes, and dealing with traffic will be more important this year than in the past. I've been coming to the Rolex 24 since 1996, and I think yesterday's crowd was the biggest I've ever seen here for testing - the race track was filled with fans."

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Series GRANDAM
Tags angelelli, briscoe, chevrolet, corvette, fogarty, gidley, gurney, papis, stallings, taylor