Crashes Mar TUDOR Championship Daytona Debut


United SportsCar Championship

A pair of dramatic accidents overshadowed the first day of Tudor United SportsCar Championship testing at Daytona International Speedway.

Just as had been the case in the two days of weekend running at Sebring International Raceway it was Action Express Racing who were the fastest team, the #5 Chevrolet Corvette unofficially breaking the lap record which dates back to Joerg Bergmeister and the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Joao Barbosa’s best lap of a the day – 1:39.623 – a shade better that Bergmeister achieved in the 2011 Riley-Porsche DP (1:40.533).

Records – unofficially – also fell in the GT classes. Nick Tandy’s lap record, set in qualifying for January’s event eclipsed by the #93 SRT Motorsports Viper, shared by Marc Goossens and Kuno Wittmer.

“That’s no surprise [that we’re under the record],” said Christian Fittipaldi, part of the Action Express line-up with Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais. “We knew it was going to be faster. At the end of the test I think it’s going to be between three to four seconds quicker than the track record.  I wish it was only my car, but that’s not the case. Everyone is going to be a lot quicker. We have a good package, and we hope we can make it work better than the other teams.”

The Action Express crew, however, were also one of the two team effected by tyre failures that led to scary high speed crashes.

Barbosa spun the #5 on the back straight in the final stages of the afternoon session. The morning’s running had been ended by a scary, airborne crash for Richard Westbrook in the Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP. A tyre failure through the tri-oval sent Westbrook on a tumbling trajectory more reminiscent of stock car crashes than any recent sportscar accident. Though the #90 car was heavily damaged in the accident Westbrook was able to walk away from the wreck.

After only a single car from the class tested at Sebring five PC cars made laps of Daytona, the best laps coming from Raphael Matos in the Performance Tech entry.

Alex Job Racing’s #22 Weathertech backed Porsche was the best of the GTD runners.