Ryan Lewis took part in the recent Roar Before The 24 Grand Am Rolex Series official test to make his Grand Am GT and Daytona debut ahead of the legendary 24 hour race. He drove a BMW M6 for the PR1 Mathiesan Motorsports team.
Driving alongside team mates Tom Padodopoulos, Max Hyatt and David Cheng in the three day event, the team ended up with 15th quickest GT combined time of the test.
Commenting on the test, Ryan said: “The test overall went very smoothly. Of the four of us only Max had had some significant time in the car so we knew the main focus was getting as much seat time for the rookies. The BMW was certainly different to some of the other cars I have driven in the past, but within a lap of leaving pit lane you know you are driving a real race car. Once you adjust your driving style a little to play to the cars strengths, it becomes a really fun and rewarding car to drive. The power and noise from the BMW V8 is awesome.”
The team struggled to compete with the fleet of new Porsche 911 GT3's on circuit, which dominated the timesheets throughout the test. However Ryan and the team were happy to spend the test focusing on set up work to improve the balance of the car and their times improved throughout, with Ryan setting their fastest time of the test in his last run.
He added: “At the end of the test I was happy with the balance of the car and the progress all of us had made over the three days. The only minor frustration I had was that I don’t think we posted the time that the car was capable of. We decided to put some new tyres on after I posted our fastest lap in the first few laps of my run. Unfortunately I made a small mistake at the kink on my first flying lap trying to carry too much speed and had to work pretty hard to avoid damaging the car. Even though I don’t think we reached our potential I am still came away form the test confident that we will be at the sharp end of things come qualifying. Even more encouraging was that the car was not difficult to drive at any point. This is the really important factor in a race of this duration. We have the right package to be able to put in consistent laps over long periods of time without having to really lean on the car. Looking after the car and being in a good position in the last hour of the race is what it’s all about.”
“This is going to be my first 24 Hour race so I’m sure it’s going to be different experience to the other endurance races I have done. Both Max and Tom have experience at the Daytona 24 so I’m going to try and learn as much as I can from them regarding when to sleep, eat, anything to make my job a little easier. I am really looking forward to bringing in another strong result for PR1 Mathiesan Motorports. Our podium at Petit Le Mans last year was fantastic so I can’t wait to go racing with the team again.”