Testing gets underway for the 56th Rolex 24 at Daytona

by Vince Pettit

Official testing for the 56th Rolex 24 at Daytona has begun as competitors hit the track yesterday (5 December) ahead of the season-opening IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race on 27-28 January.

A total of ten Prototype class cars were present, including the reigning champion team of Wayne Taylor Racing with Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande sharing the #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi.

“It’s good to be back… everybody loves running at Daytona,” Jordan Taylor said. “This test gives us a little head start, going through some little things, making some adjustments to find some more speed.

Ricky Taylor got his first official taste of testing under the Team Penske banner in the Acura DPi in an all-star line up that features former Indianapolis 500 champions Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya.

“Ricky and I drove together for four years,” added Jordan. “So we created a good bond not only as brothers but as teammates, to have a good understanding of what we needed to click and win races.

“Now we have Renger for next year so this test is great to have him come in for two days, get to know the team, get to know the car, the little details. Every detail counts and when we get to January we want to have all those things sorted out.”

“Daytona’s our home race,” Jordan Taylor said. “It’s become a tradition for us.”

Ryan Dalziel was also out on track in the #2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi who he will be driving alongside Scott Sharp.

“For us, 2018 starts today,” Dalziel said Tuesday. “I look forward to this race every year and it seems like every year we put on a spectacular show.”

Oliver Jarvis had his first experience of the Mazda DPi that he will drive alongside with Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez and Harry Tincknell.

“It’s a dream for me to be here full time,” Jarvis said. “I’ve always wanted to come over to the States and run here. When I got the call from (Mazda Director of Motorsports) John (Doonan), it was a very easy decision to make. I wanted to be here, I wanted to be a part of the Mazda team.

“IMSA has gone from strength to strength with so many DPi cars. It’s probably the strongest field I’ve ever seen, but with the team we’ve got, I think we’ve got a great chance.”

Competitors took to the track throughout the day with two 2 hour, 45 minute session, while entries in the new IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda, which has its first race on 6 January, had two one-hour sessions.

Testing continues today with the production-based Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge getting some track time ahead of their opening race, the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge on 26 January.

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