NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Jamie McMurray described a “good” ‘Roar Before the 24’ test sessions for the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Rolex Series squad.
The team, reigning champions in the Rolex Series and four time winners of the Rolex 24 at Daytona ended the three day session fourth and fifth overall with their two BMW-Riley Daytona Prototypes.
While the overall pace of the test was set by Michael Valiante for Michael Shank Racing Ganassi’s #01 – driven by series champions Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett, plus Juan Pablo Montoya and Charlie Kimball ended the days at Daytona International Speedway fourth fastest overall (1:42.463), the sister #02 car of Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Joey Hand and McMurray fifth. Their best lap (1:42:598) just little over a half second slower than the overall best of the weekend.
“We had a good couple of days testing,” said McMurray, who is one of just two drivers in Ganassi’s 2013 line-up for the race not to have previously won the Rolex 24. “It’s always fun to get in these cars. It was a first for me to get in the car while it was raining but I turned some quick laps [on Friday] and we ended up on top of the leaderboard that session. What a different experience that is, but still fun. We’ve got a great driver line-up and what a diverse group it is. We all learn something from each other and the race should be really exciting. I’m looking forward to it.”
The other driver still waiting to win the Rolex 24 is Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Indycar driver Kimball who will be making his Grand-Am Rolex Series debut at the Rolex 24 (January 26-27) and got his first laps in the car during the three day test.
“This has really been a great experience,” he said. “Chip has put together a great group of individuals from three different series and I’m learning a lot from all of them. I’ve gotten quite a bit of time in the car and I’ve had to get used to a lot of things; like getting use to a roof, driving at a new track and even driving at night. I haven’t driven at night since my go-karting days. The guys [Memo, Scott and Juan] have been great in helping me and it’s a testament to the group of drivers Chip has put together. I’m really looking forward to being a part of and contributing to the Rolex 24 at Daytona.”
The team and drivers will return to Daytona for the Rolex 24, the first on track action on Thursday January 24.