DAYTONA, Fla.—Light rain hit the Tudor United SportsCar Series Roar Before the Rolex 24 Sunday morning, totally changing the character of the session. Rain tires and cautious lines replaced high-speed testing of the latest aero or suspension setting.
Light rain fell briefly at the end of the Continental Sportscar Challenge session but the track dried before the Tudor cars came out. The rain returned shortly after the start of the session and kept falling, forcing teams to call their cars in for rain tires. Drivers had to find out how much each section of track had changed after every lap—and occasionally didn’t learn in time, though no one hit anything solid; the session finishwd without a yellow flag.
Racers talk about “a dry line forming.” This is what that process looks like. (Chris Jasurek/Epoch Times)
The rain did make a hash of lap times; Earl Bamber in the #912 Porsche North America RSR was fourth fastest overall, behind three Prototypes and just ahead of Renger Van de Zander in the Starworks PC Oreca.
The rain stopped halfway through the session, and the track was dry enough for cars to start to push limits in the final half hour. Kyle Larson in the #02 Ganassi Riley EcoBoost Ford, Darren Turner in the #98 Aston Martin, and Wolf Henzler in the #17 Falken Tire Porsche (Falken has long been known for its rain tires) were notably daring in the Bus Stop chicane.
Alex Brundle pushed the hitherto sluggish (relatively) Krohn Racing Ligier-Judd into second place, two seconds slower than Sebastien Bourdais in the session-leading Action Express Coyote-Corvette. Brundle ran 39 laps, Bourdais 24; most teams ran a dozen or so, and a dozen teams didn’t even take the track. There just wasn’t that much to learn on a wet and constantly changing track, versus the risk of damaging a car on the last day of a test.
Rain remains in the area; the afternoon session might be dry, or not. Either way, a lot of teams will probably pack up early. The Roar is almost over—which means the racing season is about to start.
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