Carrying a number that is near and dear to the team for the first time in years, Stevenson Motorsports is ready to go for its sophomore Audi outing in the 55th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona with the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Audi Tire Center R8 LMS this weekend.
A productive pair of practice sessions ahead of the qualifying session saw the team optimistic about their chances for a strong spot on the grid. Unfortunately, a fuel delivery issue cost Andrew Davis the opportunity to show the true strength of the Audi machine during qualifying and sees the all-star lineup of Davis, Robin Liddell, Matt Bell, and Lawson Aschenbach starting the season opener from the eighth row of the GTD grid.
The four veteran Stevenson Motorsports drivers join forces for the second time in the iconic No. 57 Audi Tire Center machine, a number that brings a lot of history and fond memories for the team as Team Owner John Stevenson ran it in his Rolex 24 At Daytona debut in 2004.
With over a decade of IMSA experience, the Jacksonville, North Carolina based-team made its return to the big stage of IMSA WeatherTech racing last year after taking the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Championship. The 2016 effort yielded six top-five finishes and three podiums in their freshman Audi year.
As they return to the fabled 3.56-mile roval of Daytona International Speedway the team looks to combine their stockpile of sportscar experience with the proven Audi technology to take home some Rolex watches as they focus on a single car entry for the 55th running of the endurance event.
“Unfortunately, we had a little mechanical issue there in qualifying,” explained Davis after the session. “I’ve qualified a lot here at this track and had some really good qualifying spots up top. We were optimistic although we were struggling a little bit this morning in practice and seemed to be hurting for speed a little bit on the banking but I was hoping for a top-six. I think we had that with our Stevenson Audi R8 LMS. During the session I was setting everything up and I had a decent partner in front of me who I think could have helped to get a little draft off of. The car was getting better each lap as the tires came in but after a few laps we experienced a fuel delivery issue and we couldn’t resolve that in the time given. I set myself up in the last three laps of qualifications to put it down but unfortunately, we had that problem before that. I think everything was just getting warmed up as far as tires and the car for us. So, we definitely didn’t show what we were capable of, but these guys are the best in the paddock and I know they will resolve any issue and give us a solid car for the race.”
“So we had a bit of an issue with the fuel pump during qualifying,” detailed Team Strategist Mike Johnson. “But Andrew (Davis) was pretty pleased during qualifying and I think without the fuel pressure issues, Andrew would have been another 3 tenths faster because the tire pressure alarms had just turned off and he was ready to set some flyers. We were so confident leaving the Roar, and nothing has quite gone our way today but I think we just need that one good session to get everyone back to normal, and I’m confident we can perform well in the race.”
Source. Sunday Group