Daytona Test: SunTrust Racing report

SunTrust Race Team Successful at Daytona Test Days Daytona Beach, Florida (January 7, 2006) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli, Emmanuel Collard and Ryan Briscoe experienced a very successful test at the Daytona...

SunTrust Race Team Successful at Daytona Test Days

Daytona Beach, Florida (January 7, 2006) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli, Emmanuel Collard and Ryan Briscoe experienced a very successful test at the Daytona Test Days this week in preparation for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

After eight practice sessions over three days, a 1:43.698 lap time at 123.590 mph set by Max Angelelli in the fifth session was the second fastest time of the test and the top time for numerous sessions. Seventy-five cars journeyed to the 3.56-mile Daytona International Raceway circuit to test in preparation of the 44th annual running of the historic twice-around-the-clock endurance race, scheduled for January 28-29, 2006.

"I'm extremely pleased with the test and I'm impressed by the team who put the car together in such a short time," said Max "the Ax" Angelelli, in reference to the fact the team built a new SunTrust Pontiac Riley car for the 2006 season after last year's finale in Mexico in early November. "The car did well. It ran very well. We had just a small issue and we solved it. I'm pretty happy for the guys. It's a good start of the new year and I'm looking forward to the race. The race will be totally different. We'll finally see who is the fastest and which team has the best package. There's still a little bit of time to go before we see everything."

The SunTrust team is being observed closely by all the other Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series competitors, as they attempt to dethrone the record-setting team in pursuit of a victory at the first event of the season. Finishing with quick lap times was only one of the many goals that the SunTrust team and drivers set for themselves coming into this event.

"We've accomplished a lot of our goals here (at Daytona). We have a really good race car," said Riley Technologies owner Bill Riley, who spearheads the team. "We're really just looking forward to coming back here and racing. I wish it were green flag today because we're ready to go."

"It doesn't seem like 2005 ended. It's been really hectic since the end of last season. We've built a new car for this year's 24-hour. We have literally the entire team we had here last year -- the same people, the same car package, the same drivers, although we've added a fourth driver with Ryan Briscoe. We will just do the same thing we did last year in preparation and how we ran the race and see if we can repeat it."

Emmanuel Collard, who was the third co-driver in last year's spectacular Daytona victory, felt the practice sessions were very smooth this week.

"Everything is working well. We've run the car well every session," said the Frenchman Collard, who was recently named the number one sports car driver in the world by AutoSport magazine. "We've had some understeer on the car but basically we've improved. We drove all four drivers and worked on set-up of the car, so we're good. All four of us drivers have got the same feeling about the car and how it was set-up, so that is good."

Newcomer Ryan Briscoe, had to adjust to driving with teammates and a closed cockpit sports car after competing his entire career, except last year's Daytona 24-hour enduro, in single-seater, open wheel, open cockpit cars.

"It's interesting and different," said Briscoe when asked to compare the two kinds of cars and driving styles. "You come in and have to talk with three other teammates about their feeling of the car and you always have to find a happy median. I don't think we have to make too much of a compromise in this team. I think we're all looking at having the same sort of race car. I think our driving styles aren't differentiating too much between the four of us. I believe that's something that's very positive about our driver line-up."

The fastest overall practice time of the week came today in the eighth and final practice session by Lucas Luhr in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports Porsche Crawford with a time of 1:43.431 at 123.909 mph.

Over seventy competitors are expected to enter for the 2006 running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona later this month. The SunTrust Pontiac Riley team will attempt to defend both their Grand American Daytona Prototype Team and Driver's Championships (for Taylor and Angelelli), as well as seeking a repeat at the 24-hour endurance classic.

Speed Channel will cover the Rolex 24 live for 12 hours in three parts, beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 28. Part I coverage will continue until 6:00 p.m. and return at 8:00 p.m. for three hours. The live coverage will return on Sunday morning, Jan. 29th and broadcast from 8:00 a.m. until the checkered flag drops at 12:00 noon.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Emmanuel Collard , Wayne Taylor , Lucas Luhr , Max Angelelli , Ryan Briscoe , Alex Job