DAYTONA, Fla.—Sebastien Bourdais in the #5 Action Express Coyote-Corvette was quickest in the night practice session at the 2015 Tudor United SportsCar Championship Roar before the Rolex 24, but nobody cared much—probably not even Bourdais himself.
Night practice is more about new drivers familiarizing themselves with the track at night, drivers familiarizing themselves with new car at night, and crews making sure the important parts function in the dark—making sure turning n the headlights doesn’t turn off the running lights or shot out the whole wiring loom, for instance.
Not that Bourdais, always the competitor (what driver isn’t?) didn’t push hard; his best lap of 1:39.310 at 129.05 mph compared well with fast laps form previous sessions. The fact that Johannes Van Overbeek and Ryan Dalziel in the #2 HPD ARX-04a finished sixth in the session, continuing their slow rise through the ranks, was certainly significant to them.
Still, the night session is more about testing and adjusting—to the dark, to cooler air and track temps—than about outright pace. The Fact that Max Angelelli in the #10 Konica WTR Dallara-Corvette was nerly six-tenths off the pace of Bourdais doesn’t have the folks at Wayne Taylor Racing worried, any more than Joey Hand in the #01 Ganassi Riley-Ford EcoBoost was worried about being a second and a half off the pace. There were other priorities.
Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage was back atop the GTLM timesheet, followed by the two Corvettes. The #54 Core Autosport Oreca again topped PC, and Christian Engelhart in the #28 Konrad Racing Porsche repeated as fastest driver in GTD.
Two Sunday sessions remain before the 2015 TUSC Roar Before the 24 wraps up, and if the weather holds, teams will get some valuable track time in some more normal warm conditions, after the rather cool temperatures of the first two days.
What the Tudor management will make of the test is unclear. Significant Balance of Performance changes were instituted to separate the classes more on track; these seem to have worked. Inter-class BoP might be harder to judge. The Aston, which struggled in 2014, dominated in 2015. That will surely set off some politicking from other teams’ management.
GTD seems balanced, but in Prototype it is hard to tell how the various different chassis perform relative to one another because only Shank Racing really got their new car to work.
ESM still only has a single car, and it is not particularly quick yet. Team owner Scott Sharp explained Saturday that the crew was going through the car one system at a time trying to get everything balanced; progress i sbeing made but more track time is clearly needed.
Krohn Racing’s Ligier-Judd has been seventh or so in class all weekend. Whether this is due to the engine, the chassis, or a combination is not yet clear; what is clear is that the car isn’t working to potential just yet. The drivers all have plenty of Daytona experience, so it isn’t that.
It remains to be seen what Tudor management gleans from the Roar; iit remains to be seen whether, in competition conditions, the two Prototype chassis can actually race for the win. So far, it looks promising.
The 2015 Tudor United SportsCar Series Rolex 24 at Daytona runs from Saturday, Jan. 25–Sunday, Jan. 25. Tickets and information are available at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Tickets-Events/Events/2015/Rolex-24-At-Daytona/Rolex-24-At-Daytona.aspx