DAYTONA, Fla.—The Tudor United SportsCar Championship officially started its 2015 season with the three-day Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway Friday morning.
The weather was reasonably cooperative: the early fog lifted, and instead of releasing rain, the low-hanging clouds actually broke to let the sun through for a few minutes.
49 cars in four classes took advantage of the dry weather, racing around the 3.56-mile Daytona track, much of which is comprised of the banked NASCAR oval with a challenging infield section linking the front and back straights.
Less than one-hundredth of a second behind Dixon was Joey Hand, driving the #01 Ganassi Riley-Ford for the first time.
Close behind the pair of Ganassi Riley-Fords came Sebastien Bourdais in the 2014 prototype class championship-winning #5 Action Express Coyote-Corvette with a lap of 139.633 at 128.632 mph.
The six quickest cars—all Daytona Prototypes—were covered by half a second. The nearest non-DP was the DeltaWing, more than a second behind the sixth-placed car.
Olivier Pla was eighth overall and quickest of the P2 contingent in the #57 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2-Judd with a lap of 1.41.161 at 126.689—not a terrible performance for a car which had never turned a wheel at Daytona before.
In GTLM, Aston Martin proved quickest, with Pedro Lamy in the #98 V8 Vantage delivering a lap of 1:44.414 at 122.472 mph, followed by the pair of Porsche North America 911 RSRs, with Patrick Pilet in the #911 only eight-thousandths ahead of Jörg Bergmeister in the #912.
Wolf Henzler in the #17 Falken Tire Porsche 991 RSR was fourth quickest in class, more than three-tenths back.
Bruno Junquiera was quickest in the Prototype Challenge class and 12th overall in the RSR Racing Oreca FLM09-Chevrolet.
GTD was also a Porsche playground, with Phillip Eng in the #58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America finishing 33rd overall, .024 seconds ahead of Leh Kehn in the similar #22 Alex Job Racing WeatherTech car.
The racing resumes at 1:35 p.m. with the Continntal Tires Sports car Challenge running its second session of the day, followed by two-and-a-half more hours of the Tudor Series cars starting at 2:55 p.m.