Cadillac Racing teams Konica Minolta, Mustang Sampling and Whelen Engineering completed three days of steady running at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for this month's Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The No. 10 Konica Minolta/Cadillac DPi-V.R, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Cadillac DPi-V.R and the No. 5 Mustang Sampling/Cadillac DPi-V.R teams were able to turn laps in changing conditions that they may see at the end of the month for the twice around the clock classic race. On Friday it was sunny and 85 degrees, Saturday brought rain and Sunday was cool in the 40s. With only a single issue on the number 5 Mustang Sampling car on Saturday evening having to change a gearbox the three Cadillac DPi-V.R prototypes ran maximum laps around the 3.4-mile World Center of Racing in preparation for the 55th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona to run January 28-29.
Joao Barbosa driving the No. 5 Mustang Sampling/Cadillac DPi-V.R set the pace for the Cadillac trio running with a time of 1:38.693 in the final practice, good for third overall in the prototype category (the No. 13 Oreca posted the fast lap of 1:38.408).
Mustang Express drivers Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Filipe Albuquerque leave the Roar test confident.
"We're going through the program and process of getting our cars ready for a 24-hour race," Fittipaldi said. "There were areas we expected less obstacles, but that is part of the learning curve with a new car. Everyone in the garage is facing the same thing and it's not only us. We're happy with the progress we gained and feel well-prepared for the 24 hours. We're not where we want to be compared to past years, but I'm quietly confident of what we can do here at the end of January."
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac four-some of Jordan and Ricky Taylor, Max Angelelli and four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon put the black blue DPi-V.R through its paces this weekend posting a fast time of 1:38.951 good for sixth today.
"It was a good test," Ricky Taylor said. "We've really been pleasantly surprised with the Cadillac, especially with it being a brand new car. We were working this weekend on little things that kind of weren't unexpected, and it all went very smoothly. All the drivers were able to get into the car for plenty of laps. We were able to drive through all sorts of conditions - cold, hot, dry, rain, night, day - and with all of that different experience, that's what testing for three days here is all about. So we'll come back for the race and hopefully not have to do much more than fine-tuning so we can do what we know how to do here in the race, and that is to pit only for fuel and driver changes, stay on the lead lap, and race for the win at the end."
In the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Dane Cameron, Eric Curran, Mike Conway and Sebastian Morris closed the day fifth on the time sheet (time of 1:38.902) and satisfied with the weekend of running.
"I think everything is going well, we're working through the learning curve of our new Whelen Engineering Cadillac this weekend," Curran said. "The Roar is big as it's the last time you can gain miles on your car to be prepared for 24 hours coming up in a couple of weeks. The guys on the Action Express Racing team are working hard to learn as quick as we can because everyone has new cars and new equipment. We're not where we want to be yet, but we're showing pretty good pace as we focus on the reliability and speed to be competitive and on top of the podium in a few weeks."
The Rolex 24 At Daytona race weekend is set for Jan. 26-29. The green flag drops at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Jan. 28, with pre-race coverage on FOX starting at 2 p.m. (ET). FOX will carrying the first two and a half hours of the race before switching over to FOX Sports 2 from 5 to 10 p.m. (ET) and then again from 11 p.m. (ET) to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. Race coverage will continue on FOX Sports 1 at 12:30 p.m. through the end of the race.
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