Joey Hand ended up quickest for the Ganassi squad.
Daytona Beach, Fla. – Even though the 2015 racing season is barely underway, 53 teams have arrived at the Daytona International Speedway for the annual Roar before the Rolex 24, a three-day test that allows teams to prepare for the grueling Rolex24 on the last weekend of January. The iconic race marks the season opener for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series.
Over the three days, some 12 hours of on-track practice takes place, to include 90 minutes under the lights.
A breakdown of the 53 entries: 16 Daytona Prototypes, eight Prototype Challenges, 10 GT LeMans and 19 GT Daytona cars.
Testing is valuable
Based on experience, teams recognize the importance of testing. A year ago, two of the eventual four class winners topped the charts in the Roar and all four of the fastest teams in the Roar finished the Rolex24 in the top five.
Due to the worldwide stature of the Rolex 24, the event draws the best drivers from around the world and the line-up is comprised all an all-star line-up of sports-car, IndyCar and NASCAR drivers.
Ganassi on top
In the opening round, IndyCar champion Scott Dixon led the way followed by new teammate Joey Hand, who will campaign the season alongside perennial champion Scott Pruett. They were both driving Ford EcoBoost Riley DPs fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.
In round two, Hand took over atop the timing charts with a faster run of 1:39.397. Said Hand, “It was a great first day on the job for me. It was a fun day and it is always a delight to be at Daytona, and I feel like I never left this team. I’ve only done four races with this team, but feel like I’ve been here for a long time. Getting the fastest time gives me a big boost of confidence.”
In addition to Dixon, Hand and Pruett, the Ganassi team’s cast includes the likes of IndyCar luminaries Tony Kanaan, Sage Karam and Charlie Kimball, NASCAR stalwarts Jamie McMurray and rookie sensation Kyle Larson.
Other class leaders
During the morning run, Pedro Ramy led the way in the GTLM class driving an Aston Martin Vantage V8 around the course in a time of 1:44.414. Phillip Eng took the speed honors in GTD racing while driving the Porsche 911 GT America from Wright Motorsports at 1:47.753. Lastly, Bruno Junqueira had the hot hand in the PC class with a time of 1:42.669.
Lamy’s time held in round two, and he was pleased with the result, saying, “The car was quite balanced, and we just kept working on the car. We will have to see what tomorrow will bring.”
In the afternoon session, PC driver Renger van zer Zande took the honors with a time of 1:42.360. On the GTD side, Marc Goosens set the pace at 1:46.948 in a Dodge Viper SRT.