Porsche teams dominated the Rolex Series’ GT class at the ‘Roar Before the 24’ test, with drivers on Porsche GT3 setting the top three times of the three day event, beating strong completion from teams representing Audi, Chevrolet, Ferrari and BMW.
Fighting against the rest of the GT field at Daytona International Speedway Porsche have dispatched a number of drivers from their works’ stable to bolster teams for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and it was two factory driver who led the way in the test in preparation for the 24 Hours.
American Patrick Long set the best GT class time of the weekend for Park Place Motorsports with a lap of 1:48.596.
Nick Tandy, joining the Konrad Motorsport/Orbit team in his first race as a Porsche works driver was second fastest. Andy Lally, for defending Rolex 24 winners Magnus Racing was third fastest. The Porsche veteran outpaced his own teammate Richard Lietz – another from Porsche’s stable of works drivers. The pair will be joined by Magnus Racing team owner John Potter and European Le Mans Class champion Nicolas Armindo for the race.
However, even with such a strong quartet of drivers and evidently strong pace Lally knows that a repeat of the 2012 victory will be a tough feat.
“Last year I said the Rolex 24 had the strongest GT field in any series – ever,” he said. “But this year’s field is just as strong as last year, with the addition of multiple new manufacturers that will be vying for the win. Audi and Ferrari are both going to be very strong, Porsche will be again be very strong, along with the usual contenders from BMW, Camaro and Corvette.”
Elsewhere in the GT class Audi are fielding an expanded effort after their Rolex Series debut in 2012 with Audi factory drivers – victorious in 24 hour GT races in Europe in 2012 – filling many of the driving slots.
Ferrari – who won the class title last year with AIM Autosport also bring an increased presence to Daytona while long term Rolex Series competitors BMW and Chevrolet have called on their own experienced names, Corvette drivers Jan Magnussen and Tommy Milner – normally found in American Le Mans Series of 24 Hours of Le Mans competition – joining 2012 vice-champions Stevenson Motorsports for the Rolex 24.