DAYTONA Beach, Fla.—Day Two of the Grand Am Roar Before the Rolex 24 test session was a complete contrast to Friday, the first day. Gone was the gloom and damp misery: Saturday turned out to be a perfect Florida winter day, temperature in the 70s, sunny with a light breeze—a perfect day for racing.
Good thing, because a fair crowd turned out to get an early glimpse of the cars and teams which will contest the 51st Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 26–27. The fans were not disappointed.
A newcomer to the Daytona Prototype ranks set the fastest time of the day and the weekend, ahead of the 2012 winning and third-place cars.
Former GT driver Dane Cameron, driving the brand-new #42 Sahlen’s Racing Riley-BMW showed the field the quick way around Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56 miles.
“This is probably our eighth or ninth day with the car—There are teams that have had these cars for that many years or more,” Cameron commented after the session.
Cameron set his lap, the fastest of the weekend so far, during Saturday’s early morning session. His time of 1:42.101 at 125.52 mph kept him barely ahead of Michael Valiante in the #6 Shank Riley-Ford who ran 142.160 at 125.450in the afternoon session. The second Shank Riley-Ford was quickest in the evening session with 1:42.296 (125.283 mph.)
Beating the DP veterans was a tremendous result for Dane Cameron and Sahlen Racing. The team started in 2001 in the Continental Sports Car Challenge, then moved up the Rolex GT, where it had success campaigning Mazda RX8s. For 2013 the team is moving up to the highest level, the Daytona Prototype class of the Rolex Sports Car Series.
The team’s brace of Riley-BMWs is brand new; aside from a few test laps in December, the cars have hardly a mile on them.
“We’re trying to catch up to everybody. It’s going pretty well so far,” Cameron quipped.The Roar wraps up Sunday afternoon. Tickets are available through Grand-Am.com.
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