Daytona Testing – Day 1, November 6
Grand Am hasn’t released any lap times from either the morning
or afternoon sessions at Daytona, and our man Russell Wittenberg
was ill, and unfortunately couldn’t make it to the Speedway
So based on the Grand Am reports plus some other
snippets, here’s a round-up of the first day.
25 teams and
40 cars were present, and the main task should have involved the
DP teams running the mandatory (in 2007) Bosch ECUs – and
for some (most), that didn’t go quite as planned. The GT teams
will have to run the units by “mid-year”.
In terms of lap times, what we do know is that Max
Angelelli, in the SunTrust Riley Pontiac, was fastest, the Italian
setting a 1:43.728 in the afternoon: that’s three-tenths faster
than Lucas Luhr lapped the track in qualifying for the 2006 Rolex
24. Pat Long, in the car Luhr was driving back in January, set the
second best time, a 1:44.202.
Wolf Henzler was fastest in GT, in the #72 Tafel
Racing Porsche, with a 1:52.982.
Alex Job Racing
is initially going to concentrate on the #23 Ruby Tuesday Crawford
for the Rolex 24 (and a second crack at the title) but the team
owner is expecting to run a second car, perhaps from Round 3. “My
goal for the second car is to be a good partner that complements
Ruby Tuesday and sees good benefit to being in Grand-Am,”
Job remarked. “We will have Porsche factory drivers in the
No. 23 car only. The second car will be (driven by) drivers I bring.”
Tommy Erdos is running in the Cheever Racing Crawford
Porsche, and was fastest of the three drivers in the team’s
#39 entry, with a 1:45 dead.
“The pace got quicker and quicker,”
commented the Brazilian, “and I am confident we can get into
the mid 44s tomorrow should conditions allow.” The forecast
suggests that thunderstorms are possible on Tuesday.
is also running the #51 Fabcar Porsche, but no times available for
this car. “The Fabcar is definitely a different creature compared
to what we’re used to,” said Christian Fittipaldi. “I
think there is room for improvement, but in general, everything
is going fine. We have to keep chipping away at it.”
#87 is one of
the Farnbacher Loles Porsches.
Although the Bosch ECUs were causing problems up
and down the pit-lane (the best times were set using the 2006 set-up),
the Brumos team was in real trouble getting the electrics to work:
the team’s transporter rolled out of the circuit during the
afternoon, after the Riley Porsches completed very few laps, none
at pace – and they ‘lost’ one engine.
was making her debut in a DP, in George Robinson’s #84 Riley
Pontiac: “I’m very fortunate to be here right now,”
she said. “They’re interesting looking cars. It’s
unlike anything I’ve ever driven. It will be a good experience
for me. At the end of the day, driving anything you can get you
hands on is always good experience, and it adds to making you a
She’s expecting to share this entry at the race with Robinson
and Paul and Wally Dallenbach.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck man Bill Lester was lapping
in the #60 Michael Shank Riley Lexus, and impressed Oswaldo Negri
with how quickly he got up to speed. Lester is hoping to be invited
to join the team for the Rolex 24. That might be in the team’s
#6 car, with Henri Zogaib and Ian James. The drivers in the #60
car for the race will be announced on Tuesday.
Howard (not Boss) Motorsports had the #20 Crawford
Pontiac running the new Bosch system, while the #2 car was running
in 2006 guise.
“With that car (the #20), we missed most of
the morning session trying to get it going, but we made a few laps
near the end,” commented Butch Leitzinger. “It doesn’t
have the traction control and other systems working yet. It’s
going to take the entire test here to get it working. Hopefully
when we’re finished here, we’ll have it pretty well
understood. It’s a good idea, and in the long run it’s
going to be much better for the series.”
Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger were joined by Raphael Matos.
Fabrizio Gollin was back in a Doran: he raced the
full season in 2005, and was sharing the #77 car with Forest Barber
and Mexican Jorge Goeters. Gollin and Barber seem set to race this
car in the Rolex 24.
Bill Auberlen and Matthew Alhadeff will race the
#05 Sigalsport Riley BMW in the full 2007 Rolex season, but the
team may enter a second car too, at least in the Rolex 24.
Back in GT, Kevin Buckler had five Porsches present,
and even found time to get in some laps himself: “We have
three brand-new Porsches signed up for the Rolex 24 and hopefully
for the full season. Jim Lowe and Jim Pace are leading the charge
with the No. 66 car, and the No. 67 car will have Brett Milner,
John Peterson, Michael Gomez and Murray Mardin.
“One of the nice things about having five
cars here is that we can use several different setups and decide
what we like,” Buckler continued. “The (No.) 44 car
has been fast today, and the 65 had an unfortunate incident in the
bus stop, so we’re trying to get that fixed. Basically, we’re
just getting these guys ready for the Rolex 24.”
Buckler suggested that he is looking to field either
one Daytona Prototype or two GT cars for the full 2007 season.
Sylvain Tremblay and David Haskell, in the SpeedSource Mazda RX-8,
were joined by long-time Porsche man Randy Pobst.
“This is a fantastic car,” Pobst said.
“It’s a race car. It’s very well balanced, easy
to drive and it sounds great. It’s a brand new experience
Pobst seems like a strong candidate to race the Mazda early next