The Roar Before the Rolex 24 test sessions wrapped up Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, with a total of 54 sports car teams having prepared for the Rolex 24 At Daytona set for Jan. 30-31.
When on-track action was complete, the test’s fastest lap on the 3.56-mile road course belonged to the No. 2 Prototype class entry of Tequila Patrón ESM, a Honda HPD Ligier JS P2. Driver Luis Felipe Derani posted a 1 minute, 39.249 seconds (129.130 mph) lap Sunday afternoon, in the last of seven sessions.
The weekend’s Rolex 24 preparation came with a spectacular backdrop – the nearly complete DAYTONA Rising renovation that has transformed the “World Center of Racing” into the world’s first true motorsports stadium. Teams were treated to a preview of what they – and race fans – will experience when they return for the season-opening race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Impromptu reviews were over-the-top, starting with a competitor very familiar with the Speedway – five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona champion Scott Pruett, co-driver of the 5 Corvette DP Prototype of Action Express Racing.
“It’s fantastic,” Pruett said. “We saw a lot of it worked on last year – everything that was taking place, and [having] the anticipation of it getting done. At the Rolex 24 here in 2016, [they’re] getting everything prepared to be absolutely top-drawer. I can tell you for all the races we’ve been here and seeing all the work that’s been done continuously, it is a monumental task and I just applaud everybody at Daytona for getting it all done, having a vision to do it.
“You just don’t drive down a city street and all of a sudden see this massive racing facility. That is pretty spectacular and for all the people out there who don’t know much about Daytona or haven’t even thought about coming, it’s just truly magical being here. The energy … the excitement … everything that’s going to take place.”
Following are the top times posted during the Roar in the other three WeatherTech Championship classes – Prototype Challenge, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona.
Also practicing during the Roar weekend were teams entered in the season-opening race for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the BMW Performance 200 set for Jan. 29 at DIS. The weekend’s best laps in that production-based series belonged to the No. 33 CJ Wilson Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 in the Grand Sport Class (1:57.430); and the No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman in the Street Tuner class (2:05.688).
Tickets for the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
Fans can follow sports car racing at www.imsa.com and go on Twitter (@IMSA). Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube for the latest news all season long. Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch redevelopment project at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.