Daytona 24: AIM/Doncaster Thursday report

The No. 61 AIM Autosport Lexus-powered Riley Mk XI will start this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona from 18th on the 70-car grid, after a brief qualifying session, shortened to a few laps due to a crash. Mark Wilkins lapped the 3.56-mile Daytona ...

The No. 61 AIM Autosport Lexus-powered Riley Mk XI will start this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona from 18th on the 70-car grid, after a brief qualifying session, shortened to a few laps due to a crash. Mark Wilkins lapped the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway infield road course in one minute 45.680 seconds in the "gold car", sponsored by Exchange Traded Gold and Barrick Gold Corporation. With the top 20 starting positions set for the race, the team will not have to qualify on Friday, so can use the time to change engines for the race.

"We have a very good race car for a 24-hour," Wilkins said. "We did what we wanted to accomplish, which was to qualify in the top 20, which means the guys have lots of time to get the other engine in the car tomorrow. That was our main focus. It's fantastic to come out and run with these guys -- these are huge names, so to go out and get in the top 20 our first year, I'm really happy.

"I think the Riley-Lexus is the best package. Lexus gave us a great motor; we've got lots of power. I think it's going to be the engine to have in the 24-hour. The Lexus guys are great -- they've given us tons of support and they're working on ways to make us go faster."

Wilkins will drive the first stint of the 24-hour race, followed by Brian Frisselle, Burt Frisselle and David Empringham.

Dave Lacey had a strong qualifying run for Doncaster Racing, setting the No. 17 MineStar Tim Hortons Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car 10th on the 42-car GT class grid. His fast lap of one minute 52.777 seconds was less than a second behind the class pole position. He will drive first on Saturday, then alternate with Lance David Arnold, Johnny Mowlem, Tom Papadopoulos and Greg Wilkins.

"We're very happy with that qualifying time," Lacey said. "I think a lot of guys in the GT class went to a qualifying setup, but that hasn't been our strategy for the weekend. We're trying to get a good race setup that's driveable for everybody on the team. We started the day with a fairly harsh front end and we softened that up quite a bit to make the car a bit more compliant. We're happy with the time, we've got a good race car, the new motor package is excellent and the team is coming together really well."

-credit: aim/doncaster

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers David Empringham , Burt Frisselle , Johnny Mowlem , Dave Lacey , Greg Wilkins , Mark Wilkins , Tom Papadopoulos , Lance David Arnold