Spirit of Daytona Pleased With Successful Roar Before the Rolex 24
Daytona Beach, FL: Spirit of Daytona took part this weekend in a three-day GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series test at Daytona International Speedway. The annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 serves as a prelude to the 24-hour endurance race which will take place January 29-30, 2011 and was the final official test of the offseason.
Full-time drivers Antonio Garcia and Paul Edwards were joined by three-time American LeMans Series class champion Sascha Maassen, who will fill in as the team's third driver at Daytona. Maassen didn't take long getting acclimated to the new car turning in the fourth fastest time in Sunday's first session.
"The car feels really good. It's the best I've ever had here," Maassen said. "I'm very confident and happy to be a part of this team and with these drivers. We should have a very strong package for the race."
The test was the first time the Spirit of Daytona has been on track since the Continental Tire test at Daytona International Speedway on December 17, 2010. Edwards -- who piloted the No. 90 during the tire test -- was pleased with the team's progress and optimistic about returning for the Rolex 24.
"We made some changes that worked and some that didn't and needed to be eliminated, so where we left off today is very encouraging," he said. "All three of us are happy with the car and to have three quick guys in a car that's running well and a motor that's strong, we've got the whole package. We just have to keep moving forward."
The team's lone returning driver, Antonio Garcia, shared the same optimism.
"The car is running well, but the most important thing is we're on schedule. Every test we've done everything we need to do," he said. "All we need to do now is go back, analyze data and put together a package for race week. We should have a very competitive car."
Spirit of Daytona finished 11th in the Rolex 24 last season after an engine failure ended the team's race early. One year later, team owner/manager Troy Flis is pleased with the team's progress and feels the car is further along at this point than it ever has been in preparation for the prestigious race.
"The motor ran great, the car ran great and the drivers loved it. Being a top 5 car like we think we are right now is something to be happy with because this track doesn't show the capabilities of this car," he said. "We rolled off the truck and we're right where we need to be. That's our goal week in and week out."
-source: spirit of daytona racing