XM SATELLITE RADIO VICI RACING ON TRACK TODAY AT DAYTONA Daytona, Fla., - It was a very busy day for the XM Satellite Radio VICI Racing team at the Daytona International Speedway today, as the ...
XM SATELLITE RADIO VICI RACING ON TRACK TODAY AT DAYTONA
Daytona, Fla., - It was a very busy day for the XM Satellite Radio VICI Racing team at the Daytona International Speedway today, as the #18 Porsche- Fabcar hit the track for the first time, taking part in free practice, the first qualifying session, and finally the night time acclimatisation session.
The big news of the morning was the rain, and due to the inclement conditions the team decided to sit out the first practice session, electing instead to work on set ups. "We're working on adjusting the hydraulic balance and a number of detail geometry changes," commented Technical Director & Chief Engineer Roland Wall, an engineer with vast racing experience. Meanwhile, the bulk of the VICI Racing staff, who had travelled up from the team's US base in Miami base, were all mumbling about the unexpectedly cold weather.
Around lunchtime though the weather cleared, and the track started to dry out. The second practice session saw the #18 XM Satellite Radio VICI Racing Porsche-Fabcar taking to the 3.56-mile road course for the first time. Terry Borcheller, one of five drivers being employed by XM Satellite Radio VICI Racing this weekend, is in the drivers' seat. As the most experienced driver on the team, and with unrivalled Dayton experience, he is entrusted with getting the car set-up this afternoon. The one hour session (1:30 to 2:30 PM) is cut short by 23 minutes when a car goes off into the tyre barriers at 1:55 PM. Terry turns in a consistent pace and sets a best lap of 1:48.810 during the ten laps he runs. "It was unfortunate that the session turned out the way it did with so many yellow and black flags as we were trying to get our drivers out on track; mechanically the car ran very well, no issues to report, the power seems strong, we will have to see how it goes during qualifying. The track was mostly dry, but still wet in a few places, and one of the problems was that every time we were getting tyre temperatures up, we hit the flag periods."
Gaston Mazzacane, a former F1 driver, is one of the five drivers in the #18 car this week. "This will be my first 24 hour race," says the Argentinean, "I'm looking forward to a strong race. The team will come up with a good, consistent strategy; we drivers need to be good mentally, no mistakes - a lot of concentration for 24 hours. The team is working very hard, so our race prospects look pretty exciting. This race is very popular in Argentina, fans always follow Daytona, and as I'm the only Argentinean driver here I will be able to count on a lot of support back home."
Night practice gets underway at 6:30 PM. This one-and-a-half hour session allows each driver to experience the demanding Daytona International Speedway in the dark and is mandatory. All five XM Satellite Radio VICI Racing drivers', Terry Borcheller, Uwe Alzen, Gaston Mazzacane, Nicky Pastorelli and Robert Renauer, get valuable track time; for several of them this is a new experience. Each driver gets six laps behind the wheel of the #18 Fabcar-Porsche, with Terry, the most experienced of the quintet getting the action underway.
For 21-year Robert Renauer the Rolex 24 will be his first time racing in the dark, and it will in fact be his first 24-hour race. It is a steep learning curve for the youngster, but one he is looking forward to. He completes is six laps this evening very smoothly; it is also his first time in the car this week. "The car is much better than it was at the official Daytona tests at the beginning of this month," he says after his stint, "we're going in the right direction for sure, and I'm really looking forward to the race, it will be a whole new experience for me" he says.
The session concludes and the team swing into action with a routine engine change: removing the unit that has seen them through the practice sessions today, changing it for a new unit that will take them into the race on Saturday. With Grand-Am rules allowing the teams up until 9:30 PM this evening before the paddock is closed for the night, the mechanics instantly swing into action to start removing the engine. The job will be completed first thing tomorrow morning. "The crew are doing a great job, everyone is working very hard; we're nicely heading in the right direction," says Roland.
-credit: vici racing