Daytona 24: VICI Racing Friday report

XM SATELLITE RADIO VICI RACING ON TRACK TODAY AT DAYTONA Daytona, Fla., - The final day before the 45th edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona gets underway at 3:00 PM EST tomorrow (Saturday) saw XM Satellite Radio VICI Racing making final ...


Daytona, Fla., - The final day before the 45th edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona gets underway at 3:00 PM EST tomorrow (Saturday) saw XM Satellite Radio VICI Racing making final preparations to the #18 Porsche-Fabcar.

The day started with the mechanics completing the installation of the race engine, a programme which had commenced as soon as night practice was completed yesterday. "We need to get the car on the track later this morning," said the team's hugely experienced German driver, Uwe Alzen, "we need to work to make it go a little bit faster, the next session is the qualifying session for Terry, and we need to get the car closer to the front, to close the gap. We also will be looking to make the car more comfortable for the race; this is my ambition for today."

Meanwhile one of the VICI Racing drivers was not enjoying the weather: "It's really cold here at the track," says Gastón Mazzacane, it is not like the weather we had at the beginning of the month for the tests, that was warmer, and it was also much warmer in Argentina when I left earlier this week. This morning we will change the engine, so it will be a new engine for this afternoon, I hope everything is working well, and for tomorrow and for Sunday. I'm very happy to be here, working with XM and VICI Racing.

With the top 20 positions locked out after the qualifying session yesterday, the XM Satellite Radio VICI Racing team - having posted the 21st fastest time - were looking forward to the extra track time available this morning when the second qualifying session was scheduled to get underway at 11:40 AM. However with one of the fastest 20 runners having their time disallowed, the #18 Porsche-Fabcar moved up into 20th position, adding the black-and-yellow car to the list of top runners ineligible to take to the track.

Highly rated Nicky Pastorelli is another up-and-coming driver who is new to the XM Satellite Radio VICI Racing team; and in fact the 21-year-old Dutchman is making his sports car racing debut this week. "Of course I'm very excited to be here," he said today. "This is my first 24 hour race, my first time in a non single seater car and I have never been here in Daytona before, except for the two-day test with the team earlier this month. It's really nice, the track is nice, it a fresh experience for me going through the banking for the first time, but you get used to it pretty quick. The only thing is that it's very busy on the track; there are about 60 cars out there, and a lot of slower ones in the middle, so you have to be very careful. Apart from that it's all very positive. The car's ok, and I think our car's getting better and better. Of course in the beginning it was a bit difficult as it was new for everyone, we were starting from zero, but we are getting there now." It's not all new though as Nicky has racked up night time running experience: "I have already run at night in the tests here earlier this month," he says.

With final qualifying off the schedule, the team prepared for the last practice session of the day (1:00 to 1:45 PM). Youngster Robert Renauer, the other German in the line-up, was entrusted with driving duties. "The most important issues for us in this session will be to make sure the new engine we have just installed is running smoothly, and to bed in new brake pads for the race," says VICI Racing Team President Ron C. Meixner from the pit wall.

Robert runs five laps as he dials the new engine and brakes in, keeping his pace consistent but conservative. However he still posts a best lap of 1:50.386. Unfortunately on his sixth run transmission gremlins come into the picture. "This is the first technical issue that has arisen," says Technical Director & Chief Engineer Roland Wall," so were pretty pleased. For a new package we have had nothing break or nothing fall off the car, and all the assembly and disassembly of the last few days has gone well, so I have no complaints.

"The car was good," said Robert at the end of the session, "I was able to drive a lower 50 second lap which was good, and I'm looking forward to the race. The dry track was much better; it makes it less dangerous to drive on this circuit. I was flat out on the main straight when I briefly lost drive in 6th gear and the limiter hit in. I immediately pulled off, and now our mechanics are looking into the problem."


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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Gaston Mazzacane , Uwe Alzen , Nicky Pastorelli , Robert Renauer