Sunday, January 5, 2014

End of the Roar

Well, the Roar has come to a close. It’s fair to say a lot was learned. Thankfully, in the incidents and red flags (of which there were many), no one was hurt and no cars damaged beyond repair. With the new regulations being released only hours ago, teams have plenty of data and rules to go over before returning to Daytona in about 2 weeks time.
On a personal note, I hope you’ve all enjoyed the pictures and notes! I’ll be posting a video sometime tomorrow, with lots of ambience and perspective from this great weekend. The Future may be here, but the Past hasn’t been forgotten. And as a sports car fanatic, it’s a fabulous thing to reminisce.
In the mean time, here are some notes and tidbits from the track learned on Sunday:
-Neither of Risi Competitizione’s regular season drivers, nor their endurance addition, was on hand for the Roar. Sources say one of the duos from last year’s ALMS season (Beretta and Malucelli) will not be with the team for the coming Tudor United SportsCar Championship year. A familiar face to WEC Ferrari fans will fill the second driving position. The endurance specialist will also be a WEC favorite.
-Mika Salo will again contest the 12 Hours of Bathurst. The Finn said he will race in honor of his teammate from last year, the late Allan Simonsen.
-Some of the biggest drama from last night came with a Ferrari driver who, after bringing out the caution, could not find his way back into the pit lane. His car, which did at least one lap around the track after regaining momentum, drove normally through the first section.  But the driver then elected to enter pit lane at the wrong end, traveling against the flow of traffic. Some members of IMSA jested that they “thought for a second [Kimi] Raikkonen was in the car.” As some might remember, Raikkonen had a famous incident of getting lost on track during a Formula 1 event in Brazil. Which leads to the point that…
Some drivers should be evaluated as to whether or not they can run during the race. There were a few separate occasions (and I’m not going to name names) where drivers took actions that can lead to bigger and more dangerous incidents. As a general rule, drivers should always check their mirrors, and gentlemen drivers should do so more often.
-Congratulations to Greg Pickett and the entire Muscle Milk Pickett Racing team, who announced yesterday what we’ve been waiting years to hear. Pickett, Lucas Luhr, and Klaus Graf will contest in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year. The 2012 and 2013 ALMS P1 Champs will be racing in their Oreca Nissan in the P2 category.
-Ryan Dalziel deserves an award for heart. He WILLED the Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b around the track, pushing everywhere to be competitive with the DP cars. That isn’t to say the Honda powered machine isn’t quick on its own; it is. But Ryan had the car on the edge for a few sessions, ultimately ending up P7 overall combined.
-Nick Tandy remains on pole for Daytona. Last year’s GT polesitter set the fastest overall time for the GTLM category. While the Porsche didn’t have a flawless weekend, spending a bit of time in the garage due to issues on Saturday, Porsche’s British factory driver managed to make the best of the weekend. Tandy will be contesting the full TUSC season, racing at many American venues for the first time.
-Many people have been asking what the relative speeds are like for the DP cars versus the P2 cars around the track. Honestly, it depends on the competitiveness of the cars themselves. For example, the 1 was able to easily pass the 50 on the banking, but the 50 was not running as it will be during the race. Conversely, at times, the 42 looked like was dragging a parachute as the 99 roared by. It also depended on the runs. Fuel loads were not always the same and there was not a clear example of one being faster than the other in equal conditions. So for now, I’ll say they’re both quick in their own ways and it won’t be until the race until we truly see who has strength.
-Audi continued to show its strong performance by being the quickest of all GTD cars. Flying Lizard Motorsports, which made the jump from Porsche to Audi, set the fastest time with the 45 machine. However, the sister car, the 35, should not be overlooked. Two of the 4 drivers who won the GT category last year, Dion von Moltke and Filipe Alburquerque, are piloting this car. Also, for the superstitious, the 35 car is in the same garage bay as the winning Alex Job Racing Audi had last year. Just saying…

P- 5 Action Express Racing                                    1:38.630
PC – 8 Starworks Motorsport                               1:42.010
GTLM – 911 Porsche North America                   1:45.564
GTD – 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports                    1:47.981

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