The Roar at Daytona was completed on Sunday 6 January. This has become a standard three-day test put on by IMSA for the Daytona 24 hours, always in the first week of January. It is mandatory for all entrants (of the 24 hour) to attend as IMSA uses it to monitor performance for potential BOP changes. The teams get to test new tyres, new cars and other new components prior to the busy upcoming race week. This year there was a new Michelin tyre, and several new cars that were making their debut, notably the new Porsche RSR GTLM, and the Corvette C8R. The field comprised 40 cars, which, while a little low compared to prior years, was a premium group of cars. A few more pits have been lost at Daytona, as a safety barrier was installed for the Daytona 500 which took away three of the existing pits. So, with this current configuration only about 47 full size pits are available.
There was a qualifying session for all classes, which is used to select pits and garage spaces (note: not for race start positions). Some teams seem to care about this, others not. There seemed to be some complaints in the early days (which were quite warm – 80ºF) about the BOP. But, when push came to shove, the qualifying sessions were amazingly close in all classes.
The Mazda was quickest overall setting a new unofficial track record, but the Acura and Cadillac were right there, the top cars separated by less than 0.5 secs. In GTLM, the Risi Ferrari was quickest by 0.001 second over the factory Porsche, with the rest not far behind. LMP2 and GTD were not so clear, as according to the rules, the Bronze driver has to qualify. The indomitable Ben Keating, who is driving in the race in two cars, an LPM2 and GTD, took the pole in LMP2. Frankie Montecalvo took the pole in GTD in the Lexus. Four of the five Lamborghinis were disqualified from qualifying, after they were found to have a non-homologated gear set in the car. Apparently, the American Paul Miller team were the only ones to have read the email from the Lamborghini factory on which of the gear sets to use, and as a result, they were in the clear. The four European cars apparently missed the mail…
Following is a brief photo essay of some of the goings on. More details at race time!
Race weekend for the Rolex 24 at Daytona is 22-26 January, and this race will be the first round of the prestigious North American Endurance Cup. Readers can access further information on major international and popular races in 2020 here.
Written by: Martin Raffauf
Images by: Martin Raffauf