Team put the DeltaWing coupe through its paces in nearly 120 laps over two days.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fl.– The DeltaWing Racing Cars with Claro/TracFone team gained valuable knowledge while running near the top of the speed charts during four “Roar Before the Rolex 24” practice sessions at Daytona International Speedway this weekend.
Takeaways from the DeltaWing coupe’s laps around the high banks of the famed speedway have provided team engineers plenty of data to sort through in the coming week and the outlook is positive leading into the Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance classic, the first race of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
All three DeltaWing drivers – Katherine Legge, Gabby Chaves and the newest member of the team, Mexico’s Memo Rojas (Andy Meyrick will join the team for the Rolex 24) – put the DeltaWing coupe through its paces in nearly 120 laps over two days.
It’s almost more like an open-wheel car than a sports car in the way it drives,
Elaborating on the setup that saw the team finish fourth at last season’s finale, the Petit Le Mans, the team consistently ran lap times within shouting distance of the leaders. With a quick lap Saturday morning of 1:39.484 and a series-leading front straight speed of 197mph, the team was poised to continue their progress through the afternoon and into night practice.
However, a chain of unfortunate events led to the DeltaWing team heading home from Daytona early. The revolutionary prototype sustained damage to the carbon fiber floor of the car during the aftermath of an incident late in the morning practice session, as another car hit the wall on the front straight just ahead of driver Memo Rojas that left significant debris on the racetrack.
The team was working through the resulting differences in downforce caused by the repaired floor when Rojas lost control in the Kink and tapped the wall. The team decided the damage was too significant to repair at the track and will return to their Braselton, Ga. shop to prepare for the Rolex 24.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona, part of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, takes the green flag at 2:30pm ET on Saturday, January 25, 2015. The race will be split among the three FOX networks, with the start of the race on the main FOX channel. The evening and Sunday coverage will be split between FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 (see local listings).
Memo Rojas: “It was a very productive two days. Unfortunately, we hit debris from a crash in this morning’s practice that damaged the floor of the car and affected the aerodynamics. I lost the car in one of the corners. But the most important part of the weekend is that the car is in really good shape – it’s quite fast. But I’m getting used to the car, which is good. It’s almost more like an open-wheel car than a sports car in the way it drives, so I’m readjusting to that. But it’s a fun car and it’s competitive, and that’s what you want here, to be running in a competitive car. So now we look forward to the race.”
Gabby Chaves: “I’m really happy with the performance of the car and I know we’ll keep improving as we get closer to the race. These things happen in a test; it’s unfortunate that it ended our day early, but we accomplished what we needed to do and we know what we need to do before the race. The car is similar to how it felt here a year ago, but it’s a more developed car. We’re pretty close to where we want to have the car, so we’ll be able to start working on the little things here and there that every team works on. I’m very happy and I’m confident and I think with a little bit of luck on our side, we can have a good race and challenge for the win.”
Katherine Legge: “It’s been a good two days. We worked through a lot of things Friday, starting from square one on setup and working through changes, trying to make the car as good as we can for the race. The car is basically the same car we had at Petit, minus the extra downforce for the banking. All the steps forward we made with the mechanical grip, we kept. So it’s been finding the balance, which we’ve done. We have the speed and the car is good now. It was a successful test for what we intended to do here – Memo has gotten used to the car and to the team. Gabby and I work well together, as we do with Andy (Meyrick) who will be here for the race.”
Tim Keene: “We had some damage from that incident this morning that affected the underfloor, and that had a negative effect on the balance of the car. But overall, everything was good. It was unfortunate at the end, but we got a lot of good data and we’re confident in that area. We have a good package – we’re quicker than we’ve ever been here. But it’s based on reliability and making smart decisions. We’ve got good balance, all three drivers are comfortable and are giving the same feedback, which is good. Everybody is comfortable in the car, everything was looking good.”