ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA PRACTICE -- 2-2-95 DAN CLARK (WSC ...
ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA PRACTICE -- 2-2-95
DAN CLARK (WSC #44 Screaming Eagles/Slick 50 Lexus Spice) -- (On Fire) I was heading into turn three (infield East Horseshoe). I noticed, felt, a change of note in the engine. I thought I'd short- shift coming out of turn three. I was short-shifting from second to third when I heard a "whoomp" and felt a shudder. I saw a lot of flames out of the left side of the car. I spent the rest of my time getting out of the car -- quickly. I'm OK. One arm of my driving suit and a glove got singed. I'll tell you, our Nomex driving suits work.
It's too early to tell about the car. We'll have to take a look at the wiring-harness and try to trace down what happened. We have to see how bad things are burned up. There isn't any suspension damage or structural damage, mainly fire damage. We'll just have to see. EXXON GTS-1 & GTS-2 PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING -- ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
IRV HOERR (GTS-1 #4 Brix Racing Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme) -- (NOTE: Hoerr has won 29 IMSA races in Oldsmobiles since 1986 -- and four season championships. His only Daytona win came in October, 1986, in the IMSA American Challenge Series.) I went out to qualify with the car in pretty much total race trim with the same tire compound we're going to race on. We wanted to see where we sat in relation to everybody else. We saw that the pole would be reachable if we turned the rpm up a couple hundred. I went out and made one lap, turning the engine a little harder than in the race -- we'll change the engine before the race -- and was able to turn in a good lap. That's really the only lap we did that (high revs). The car is great for the race and that's what we're totally concentrating on.
If we were first or 25th on the grid we were going to stand on what we did today so we could concentrate on the setup for the race. We'll spend tomorrow getting the car race ready. Being on the pole is good for the sponsors, but it doesn't realy mean a thing for the race. Our main concern is to get that Oldsmobile ready for the race. We really want to win this race. That's our primary concern.
STEVE MILLEN (GTS-1 #75 Nissan 300ZX) -- We are very pleased with the progress of our new package. The new car is a completely different animal than the one which we brought here last year. We came in as a favorite for last year's event and there was a lot of pressure. This year, it's kind of nice to come in as an underdog - - actually, the whole race is a toss-up -- no one knows who is going to do well.
In terms of qualifying, we still have subtle changes to make to the car, which we will begin making in tonight's practice session. But, the Nissan Motorsports/Cunningham Racing crew has done a great job in making the conversion to the new V8 -- the car has run very well right out of the box. In a 24-hour event like this, getting ready for the race is more important than qualifying. You can bet we'll be back at it tomorrow.
DIETER QUESTER (GTS-2 #12 Yokohama BMW M3) -- I'm not all that pleased with the lap. I had to pass two cars, but that's life. I think, at 100 percent, we can do better. We are well prepared for the race. The 24 hours is, you know, like going to a casino. I mean gambling. We have three good elements: BMW, the right choice in tires in Yokohama and a lineup of good drivers. I must include myself in that, too, you know.
EXXON WORLD SPORTS CAR POLE QUALIFYING
MAURO BALDI (WSC #33 Sequent/Apex One/Perry Ellis Ferrari 333 SP) - - (New IMSA Exxon World Sports Car track record: 1:43.326, 124.035 mph; former record 1:45.934, 120.981, set 2/3/94 by Fermin Velez in a Chevrolet Spice.) Of course, I'm happy because of the team and because I didn't have so many test days on the car and laps on the track. The mechanics and the team did a good job in bringing the best car here to Daytona. I believe also that Pirelli has made very good tires for us, for qualifying and for the race. This is my second pole position at Daytona. I also won the pole here with the BFG Porsche, I believe it was 1987. The pole is not the most important thing, we are looking toward the race.
FERMIN VELEZ (WSC #3 Sequent/Apex One/Perry Ellis Ferrari 333 SP) - - I'm very pleased for the Scandia team that we are one-two on the front row. To have both cars on the front row was the goal. I knew I was close to Mauro and I thought I had a chance to run a better lap. When I got my second set of tires, I was going for my fast lap, but a car spun in the chicane and messed up my lap completely. What matters is that we are both on the front row.
ANDY EVANS (Team owner, Scandia Motorsports) -- I'd say today's success was made possible by testing here in December and January. We ran 1:43s in December, 1:43s in January and 1:43s today.
BOB SCHADER (WSC #2 Motorola Oldsmobile Spice BDG02) -- We won't be going for the front row in qualifying today. Instead, we're putting in a new engine. That's no real tragedy because the way the Ferraris are running, trimmed-out, there was little chance of the pole and we're not disappointed. We think the 5.25 liter Oldsmobile Spice will be the right car for a long haul like the Rolex 24.
ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA PRE-RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
JOHN FERGUS (#72 GTS-2 Champion/H.H. Brown/STP Porsche 911 GT) -- I called Bill Adam on Tuesday to check in how things were going, and he said he needed a driver. Bill asked me to come by this morning, and this came together around 11 o'clock. I'm very enthusiastic. I've finished second in this race twice, driving a Jack Roush car, the years his other car won. One of those times was with Dorsey Schroeder -- who is also on this team. Dorsey and I were talking earlier, and he felt it was our turn this time. I raced here last year with Oldsmobile, and we finished fifth.
BUTCH LEITZINGER (#16 Dyson Racing Ford R&S MK-III) -- I'm really impressed with this car. It's real easy to drive, with very little buffeting. I don't see any problems with fatigue with this car. James (Weaver) has been doing most of the chassis changes, and the car is very nice. Two weeks ago Rob Dyson called me and said he needed a driver. I said OK -- it was not a very long conversation! I'm real happy to be here. This is a very good car -- I don't see any weak spots with it, and the team is very well organized. (This will be the second Exxon WSC start for Leitzinger, the 1993 IMSA GTU champion. He drove with the Scandia team at Sebring last year, finishing third. Leitzinger is the defending overall and GTS winner at Daytona, co-driving with Paul Gentilozzi, Scott Pruett and Steve Millen in a Nissan 300ZX.).
JOHN PAUL JR. (#12 GTS-2 BMW M3) -- This is my first race for Tom Milner's team. We're planning to run two BMWs -- for myself and David Donohue -- at all the races. Hopefully, we'll have our WSC program running possibly later in the year. (Paul Jr. had planned to run with Rob Dyson until the full-season BMW deal came along.)
BILL WONDER will be driving his Ford GT-40 in Saturday's Rolex Legends At Daytona Historic Sportscar Racing Ltd. exhibition event. This is the same car that won the Daytona Continental 1965, driven by Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby. "This was the third GT40 built," Wonder said. "I bought it in 1966, and ran it here five years in a row -- and I finished three of them."
ANDY WALLACE (#9 WSC Sara Lee/Toy Store Chevrolet Spice) -- The car is very fast! The problem is, we only ran 10 minutes and we had a cooling problem. We burned the engine up. We've only got one other one, the race engine. It's such a fast car...if we could only get it to cool. We went out on really old tires and ran race revs, and we were only three seconds off the pole time. We're just trying to get everybody in the right frame of mind to fix it, otherwise we'll have to put it back on the truck. (team missed January test at Daytona) We tested at Moroso (Motorsports Park in West Palm Beach), and it overheated. We tested at Sebring and it overheated again. It's just caught up with us and it's a shame. It's a fast car, and everything on the car is proven and reliable.
TOMMY RIGGINS (#90 GTS-1 Oldsmobile Cutlass) -- We've added Craig Carter to the team. He won IMSA's American Challenge championship the two years before I did... It was Gene Felton for two years, then Craig for two years, me for two years and Irv (Hoerr) for two years. We had a lot of fun, a lot of good racing, back then. We had our battles. But, when I was with Dingman's (racing a two-car GTS-1 Pontiac Firebird program) I suggested they get him to drive the second car. He even moved down to Orlando and worked there for about six months. Andy (Petery, car owner) called him up a few days ago. He had to get his (driving) suits altered, but he's ready! ENRICO BERTAGGIA (#61 Callaway SuperNatural Corvette LM) -- The car is not perfect for this track. We don't have the right balance, now. It's bouncing in the rear, and on the banking it's like this (demonstrating a camber problem). We're getting too much temperature on the rear tires -- we can only go five laps at a time. We had a power steering tube break. We've had little troubles all day, and I only did 10 laps. Still, I like the circuit very much (in the night session) I only did five laps (and the car was sixth-fastest at 1:57.715) -- I think we can get to the (one minute) 54's. We didn't qualify today, but we'll try to get a good compromise between the banking and the infield for qualifying.
JOHN CHRISTIE (program manager #44 WSC Slick 50 Lexus Spice) -- An injector O-ring caused the fire this afternoon. The biggest thing is we haven't been out (to practice). We may be looking at an all- nighter. (on burnt bodywork) We haven't got all-new ones. We're having to fix them, and there were quite a few holes burned through. We've got to re-wire it, and that's a major problem. But we're not afraid of doing it. I don't know, we'll thrash on and change as much as we can. The engine program is all our own, there's no factory assistance. We're doing everything with Steve Jennings. Craig (T. Nelson) is funding all the development himself. We're almost there... At Willow (Springs, in Southern California), the outright track record is a (one minute) 14. Ross Bentley got in the car, on two-day old tires, 30-degree ambient temps, and Daytona settings and ran a 15!
TONY SOUTHGATE (designer Ferrari 333 SP) -- All we've got to do is keep going for 24 hours. That'll be some achievement, because it's very difficult. We've really done nothing big since we tested here twice (in December and January). The biggest problem has been making all the spares -- noses and wings and gear ratios -- things like that, in time for the race. Nothing major's actually changed on the cars. Also, it was a chore building up the endurance engines and transmissions. No, we don't actually have a stockpile of them. If we can do the whole race, great... It's a difficult race -- it's more like running an obstacle race. If it makes it, it'll be the first time, because this car's never done a 24-hour race.
We're running a one-piece wing on the Momo car. It was offered to (Andy) Evans' team, but they didn't want it. They thought it was too low on downforce. It's actually a low-downforce wing that was designed with Le Mans in mind. They're having to run it here with a gurney flap on the back for more downforce. With the straightaways here they thought they'd try it.