2016 Sunoco Whelen Challenge Champion Jonny Adam took the wheel of the Action Express run No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP for the first time yesterday – the talented Scot met team-mates for the first time just this week, but was quickly up to speed with the track and car – yet another worthy Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner!
Adam is no stranger to 24-hour racing, having made the trip out to Daytona two years ago for his drive in the Aston Martin Racing team, but the DP car is a whole different ballgame for the Scottish driver.
The no. 31 got a good start during the first session of the 2016 ROAR, but various red flags, due to incidents and mechanical failures for other cars out on track, limited the running time for team. Despite this, Jonny still managed to get 4 laps in during the morning session after taking the wheel third in the line-up. The afternoon session (practice 2) gave Jonny a better opportunity to get up to speed with his team-mates, where the car racked up the most number of laps of the session! During this drive Jonny was seen to be putting his homework into practice, and was soon bringing his lap times to within a tenth of his team-mates, not bad for his first time out. The fastest lap during the session was 1.41.217 and the car was classified 8th overall.
Action Express’s team manager said “The first day of the Roar is about getting seat time for our new drivers”. As a team the test is all about making sure that the engineers, and full-time and endurance drivers, are all on the same page, and from we saw, we think they were certainly on the right track!
The second day of the ROAR practice weekend started with a fog over the track which meant the session was delayed for the most part. Jonny didn’t get out during this session, as when they eventually made it out, there was little time left to change over. However, at the end of the second practice of the day, he did get around 16 minutes in the car before the end of the session – with four drivers to get through, it can often mean that every driver will not get out during each practice.
During the night, and final practice of day 2, Jonny was first up in the line-up and, after going out on cold tyres for the first time, it took him nearly 3 laps to warm them up, quite different to his normal ‘drive’ he is used to in the UK. Conditions were not very ‘Florida friendly’ as there was a light fog rolling in, and it was trying to rain, but being a true Scot this weather didn’t phase him! When he is back out for the Rolex 24 at the end of the month Jonny could see conditions such as this, so it was good to get experience in the car with this type of weather. There is just one more day left on track for the team to fine tune their cars and continue to prepare for the Rolex 24, but we think that with the solid line-up, combined with the excellent organisational skills of the team, we could well be in the chance of a podium finish this year!
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