Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototypes dominated the opening day of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Roar Before the 24 test at Daytona International Speedway.
Examples of the machine topped both of the sessions on the opening day of the three day event, with the fastest lap of the day coming in the morning session with Christian Fittipaldi lapped the 3.56 mile track in 1:38.630 in the #5 Action Express Racing entry he is sharing with Sebastien Bourdais and Joao Barbosa.
The trio were second fastest in the second session of the day when Spirit of Daytona Racing led the Corvette DP fleet at the top of the time sheets with a best lap of 1:38.898.
The top three in the second session were all Corvette DP, the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing ‘Red Dragon’ third fastest. The team are only planning on entering the four North American Endurance Championship races in the 2014 season after full campaigns in the Rolex Series.
Earlier in the day the top five in the first session had all be Corvette DPs with Wayne Taylor Racing and Prototype new boys Marsh Racing third and fifth fastest respectively alongside the Action Express, SDR and Bob Stallings crews.
In both sessions the next best behind the Corvettes was the #1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HDP ARX-03b shared between Scott Sharp, David Brabham and Ryan Dalziel. The 1:40.039 lap by the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry in the afternoon session was the best of the Ford EcoBoost powered team, the lone Michael Shank Racing entry further hampered by reported drivetrain problems that limited their afternoon running. The DeltaWing, the final part of the TUDOR Championship’s premier class, set a best time 1:41.010, eleventh fastest overall in the afternoon session.
While BAR1 Motorsports were the fastest PC entry in the second of the day’s session it was CORE Autosport’s car that ended the day with the best time having topped the morning session with a 1:42.468.
The Corvette C7.R got off to the perfect start on its first public outing as the pair of Corvette Motorsports cars – still keeping their curves hidden amidst the Bridget Riley alike camouflage livery – ended the first session first and second with the #4 car the faster of the two on 1:45.743.
However, that time was eclipsed later in the day by #911 car of Porsche North America which topped the GT Le Mans class by a relatively huge half second with a lap of 1:45.564 with the #91 SRT Motorsports Viper second fastest in the afternoon session. Predictably – given the pedigree of the class – another five cars were clustered into the same second behind the Viper with Corvette, Aston Martin and BMW teams all in close attention.
Having swapped from Porsche to the Audi R8 LMS over the course of the winter Flying Lizard Motorsports were the fastest of the GT Daytona class in both of the day’ sessions. The #45 car – shared between Tim Pappas, Nelson Canache and Spencer Pumpelly set a best time of 1:47.981.
The Audi teams – hoping to repeat for the manufacturer at the Rolex 24 – showed strongly with all four teams – GMG Racing, Fall–Line Motorsports and Paul Miller Racing – in the top ten in at least one of the day’s sessions.
Level 5 Motorsports – running a Ferrari 458 Italia in the class – and Park Place Motorsports’ Porsche were second fastest in the class in the first and second sessions respectively with the GTD versions of the SRT Viper and Aston Martin Vantage also appearing in the class top ten as the TUDOR Championship competitors got their first bearings on where they stand relative to their 2014 rivals.
The Roar Before the 24 testing continues with four sessions, including a 90 minute night session, scheduled for Saturday.