Series champion Scott Pruett led the premier Daytona Prototype class in both sessions on the first day of Grand-Am's 'Roar Before The 24' test event at Daytona International Speedway.
Pruett, who it was confirmed in the no.1 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates car earlier this week, set the pace in the morning with a lap of 1:31.043 around the road course at the famous Florida track, only to better the lap in the afternoon session by a fraction of a second (1:31.034).
“It’s a great way to be kicking off the season,” said Pruett after the morning session. “Last year certainly was an incredible season. This is our Super Bowl. A lot of energy goes into it – not only from the teams, but the officials and everyone involved. It’s monumental.”
“We had a few questions coming into the test, and so far, so good,” he added. “The track is really improved with the paving job. It’s wonderful to drive. It’s well worth the huge effort that everyone put into it – a tremendous job. And the Continental tires came up to temperature real well, and the consistency and predictability were there as well.”
In the second session Pruett – who will share the BMW-Riley with Memo Rojas, Joey Hand and Graham Rahal – had to better the lap of Ryan Dalziel – one quarter of Action Express Racing's winning line-up from 2010, now driving for Starworks Motorsport.
The second Chip Ganassi car, which ran second fastest in the morning session in the hands of Juan Montoya, finished the afternoon fourth fastest.
The Doran Racing Ford-Riley team – which includes Sunoco Challenge winner Ross Kaiser – suffered a frustrating first day, losing much of the morning session to a mechanical problem as Radical UK champion Kaiser explained; “On Brian [Frisselle]’s first lap out, a brake rotor exploded and took out the suspension with it. They spent the rest of the morning checking the car out, so we missed the rest of the session. Henri (Richard) will be arriving this afternoon, so it will be the three of us in the car.”
United Autosports – running in conjunction with Grand-Am regulars Michael Shank Racing – ended the day with a best lap of 1:42.823 and 15th on the afternoon timesheets.
The fastest lap in the GT class (1:50:170) went to Spencer Pumpelly in the no.67 TRG Porsche in afternoon session.
“Our team comes down to Daytona really well prepared,” Pumpelly said. “The good news is we’ve got everything ready to go right out of the trailer. TRG is fantastic. But the tough part is I don’t know how much we’ve got left in it. We’re going to be ready for the Rolex 24, for sure. Hopefully we can get a little more time out of it.”
Wolf Henzler – one of Pumpelly's co-drivers set the early best time in the session, as the TRG crew eclipsed the marker laid down by Bill Auberlen in the Turner Motorsport BMW M3 in the morning.
Brumos Racing – overall 2009 winners stepping down into the GT ranks for 2011 – peaked at third fastest in class in the morning session.
The 'Roar Before The 24' test continues until Sunday.