Cadillac Racing teams Konica Minolta, Mustang Sampling and Whelen Engineering are ready to kick-off the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Championship season with the 55th running of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona.
The No. 10 Konica Minolta/Cadillac DPi-V.R, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Cadillac DPi-V.R and the No. 5 Mustang Sampling/Cadillac DPi-V.R teams have been busy preparing their new cars since the Roar Before the 24 test three weeks ago. The teams are poised to start the season with the series equivalent of the Super Bowl this weekend at the Daytona International Speedway. The twice-around-the-clock classic will feature 12 brand new prototype race cars competing in the top class when the race takes the green at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday.
In the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Dane Cameron, Eric Curran, Mike Conway and Sebastian “Seb” Morris are focused mentally and physically on the task ahead and the rigors that come with driving for 24 hours around the 3.4-mile road course at the World Center of Racing.
“Cadillac has done a fantastic job with our new Cadillac DPi.V.R,” Curran said “From the aerodynamic styling cues to the thrust from the 6.2L V8, the car is completely new from the front bumper to the rear. We’ve done a handful of tests in our Whelen Engineering Cadillac and have shown strong results. From quickest at the first Daytona test to the reliability in the Roar test, we feel like we are ready to challenge any of the competition this weekend. We have the best car and the best team going into the 24 hour, I’m excited to bring home a Rolex! We’ve been strong in the past and feel more than ready. The Rolex 24 hour is like no other race. Nonstop pushing by all the drivers and all the crew for 24 hours straight. It’s very challenging to get up at 3 a.m. and jump in the race car after little to no sleep. So between the lack of rest, knowing when to eat and staying focused it’s the hardest race you can do mentally. In the end it’s also the most rewarding. As a driver I am focused on endurance training at the gym. You need to be prepared to do long drives in the car. It’s a really tricky race so at the end of the day you’re never really prepared unless you start staying up for 24 hours at a time. It’s a tough race mentally and physically for the drivers and the team.”
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling/Cadillac DPi-V.R is to be driven by Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Filipe Albuquerque. The team is going with just three drivers for the 24-hour race.
“I am very optimistic going into Daytona this weekend,” Fittipaldi said. “Performance wise all of the Cadillac teams have done their homework leading up to this weekend. I am very happy with where we are as a team with the car. The performance of the Cadillac in testing has me optimistic for the race. Will it be strong enough? I think so. The competition will be very tough. I have confidence in the car, the team and my co-drivers heading into the weekend. For me during the race it will be tough, we will each do as many four stints. I try to sleep as much as possible and stay hydrated. It is a long race, especially with just three drivers. You just have to be sure you are rested and mentally ready to go for your next turn at the wheel.”
The No. 10 Konica Minolta/Cadillac DPi-V.R team of Jordan and Ricky Taylor, Max Angelelli and NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon are primed and ready for the race. Team owner Wayne Taylor is going for his second Rolex 24-hour win and long-time teammate and business partner Angelelli will be running his last race.
“I think everyone is going into Daytona this year with a bit of an unknown,” Jordan Taylor said. “Everyone is coming in with brand new equipment, but I feel that we are the most prepared of all the teams and manufacturers. The Cadillac DPi-V.R was the first DPi car to hit the track last September and has more miles than anyone else. Everyone involved has done their homework and put all their resources behind this project, so I feel like we will not only have a reliable car, but a competitive one as well. To prepare, I always like to keep my January as free and relaxed as possible so I can get myself prepared for the race. Once we get to race week, everything gets hectic. We are pulled in every direction for media and fan requests, and it seems like the on track activity is the last thing that comes. So I like to get myself prepared, both mentally and physically, through mid-January, to make sure I’m all set when we finally get on track. When I first started doing 24-hour races, the toughest part was balancing the focus and rest time. Switching your brain on and off between stints in the car. With this being my tenth Rolex 24, I have a pretty good routine throughout the race to keep a good balance. I think the toughest thing is staying calm and relaxed in the car for the first 18 hours of the race. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment or in a battle, but you have to keep reminding yourself that it only matters in those last few hours. It will be the last race for Max, so that is also a motivating factor for us.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing