Bell Motorsports' DORAN JE4 Chevy Rules Daytona Tests DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 5 -- Bell Motorsports started 2004 the same way it ended 2003, fielding the top car in Rolex Series action at Daytona International Speedway. With its silver DORAN...
Bell Motorsports' DORAN JE4 Chevy Rules Daytona Tests
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 5 -- Bell Motorsports started 2004 the same way it ended 2003, fielding the top car in Rolex Series action at Daytona International Speedway.
With its silver DORAN JE4 Chevrolet #54, the Miami-based team followed up its victory in the 2003 Rolex Series season finale at Daytona in November by to pping the speed charts every single day during the three-day pre-season tests here, which concluded Monday afternoon.
Its best lap overall during the testing was the 1:48.311 (118.32 mph) which it posted in the first of two sessions Sunday. That is faster than the current Daytona Prototype qualifying record at this track, which is the 1:48.667 (117.938 mph) lap set by Bill Auberlen in another DORAN JE4, the Doran-Lista Toyota #27, in November. Both cars were designed and built by Kevin Doran and staff of Doran Designs in Lebanon, Ohio.
And, since both the Bell Motorsports team and one of its drivers, Terry Borcheller, are the 2003 champions in the series' top division, the Bell Motorsports DORAN JE4 Chevy has to be considered an early-line favorite for the 2004 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, which is coming up Jan. 29-Feb. 1.
The Daytona Prototype ranks have grown steadily since the class debuted last year. Nineteen of the cars participated in seven separate test sessions held over the course of Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Bell Motorsports team was fastest in the first session Saturday morning with a lap in 1:49.205 (117.356 mph), and although it didn't top every single session it still earned the top spot for each day of testing. Along with its top time on Sunday, its best lap around the 3.56-mile road course on Monday was done in 1:50.708 (115.76 mph).
In addition to Borcheller, who is from Phoenix, and his regular co-driver, Forest Barber of Fort Worth, at the test the Bell Motorsports car was also d riven by Andy Pilgrim of Delray Beach, Fla., and woman racer Milka Duno of Caracus, Venezula.
"The car is good; it ran well and it's been a good weekend," said Barber late Monday afternoon after the test. "I didn't get many laps; I probably ran 25 laps all together. But the car feels good and I feel comfortable at this track. I think we'll do fine."
He noted that the three DORAN JE4s at the test finished first, second and third in the final session. "That had to make Kevin Doran happy," he noted.
Barber added that Bell Motorsports' drivers' line-up for the Rolex 24 will be "Terry [Borcheller], myself, Andy [Pilgrim] and Christian Fittipaldi. Those four are certain at this point."
The race, the most prestigious endurance sports car race in North America, will be covered live on SPEED Jan. 31-Feb. 1.