Cadillac Racing teams have successfully completed the Roar Before the 24 test weekend at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the season opening 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 24-27.
The goal for the Roar test is to get the drivers familiar with each other, their team and the Cadillac DPi-V.R. With each of the six Cadillac race cars running maximum laps with no real issues over the three days, the four teams, six cars and 24 drivers leave Daytona with a lot of data, a to-do list and the confidence that they have a car that can compete over 24 hours at months end.
The last day of testing included a qualifying session for garage space for the Rolex 24 hours. With fresh Michelin tires, new for this season, and the fastest drivers from the weekend the DPi field took to the track for 15-minutes of fast laps. Filipe Albuquerque had the controls of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R. He managed to post a time of 1:34.282 that was fourth on the “garage” qualifying time sheet. Albuquerque is joined by Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi for the Rolex 24.
“It was a pretty good qualifying run,” Albuquerque said. “I had some vibration from the rear tires so there is no way I can do the lap times of the P1 Mazda. We still have some work to do for the race. We were able to get a decent garage space for the team for the race and we have a lot of data to review.”
The defending 2018 series champions No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac with drivers Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani and Eric Curran ended the weekend fifth on the timing chart. Nasr had the qualifying duty and put in a lap of 1:34.368.
“The Cadillac felt good,” Nasr said. “It had a little bit of understeer, but I think that shows we have a little more to learn about the Michelin tires. We are working to tune our set-up for these new tires from the past manufacturer. The Cadillac was good all the way around. We have a good reference for the race. Both team cars did well and we are looking forward to the race.”
Jordan Taylor had the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R and put in a lap good for sixth on the qualifying sheet. Taylor is teamed with Renger Van Der Zande, Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi for the 24.
“I think it’s hard to tell pace-wise where we are but, I think from a car point of view, we made a lot of progress with some changes,” Taylor said. “It’s also good to get Alonso and Kobayashi through the car to get them comfortable driving-wise and seat-wise and ergonomics. That’s really what this test is all about, getting everyone comfortable, getting driver-change practice done, solid routines that they’re not used to that we do, pit-stop procedures. I think we got a big head start for the race. By the time we get back here, it’ll be just a matter of some fine-tuning. We knew those guys would fit in really well. It’s just about understanding driving-style differences, whether they like the same kind of car we like, same set-up, if they need big inserts or what they like with seat belts. But they fit in super well and they bring a ton of experience, so it’s been interesting to hear their feedback and their direction forth. They have so much experience, new ideas that maybe we don’t think about setup-wise and driving-style-wise. I don’t think you ever stop learning and these are two guys we can learn a lot from. In qualifying, the car got damaged in the Bus Stop on our best-timed lap. If we could’ve had a couple of more laps, we could’ve been in line with the other Cadillacs, but it’s just the Roar, so it’s not the end of the world.”
New comers to the Cadillac line-up Juncos Racing with their No. 50 Cadillac DPi-V.R and drivers Will Owen, Kyle Kaiser, Rene Binder and Agustin Canapino ran a time of 1:34.796 good for eighth. Canapino posted the time for the new to IMSA Juncos team.
“Today was a great day for the team and myself,” Canapino said. “We continue to gain momentum every time we go on track and have made a lot of progress in a short time. I am really enjoying every chance I get to turn some laps in the Cadillac DPi-V.R. The power this car delivers is amazing. I cannot thank Juncos Racing enough for all of their hard work they do to give us a great race car. The capacity and level that Ricardo’s (Juncos) team operates at is incredible, so hats off to everyone at Juncos Racing. We will continue to work together the next few weeks and prepare for the Rolex 24.”
In the No. 85 JDC Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R Tristan Vautier, Misha Goikhberg, Rubens Barrichello and Devlin DeFancesco drove their yellow Cadillac to a time of 1:34.935.
“I’ve had a good time in the JDC/Miller Cadillac this weekend,” Barrichello said. “I set a fast time yesterday in the car with a 1:35.9 lap. Even though I have done the Rolex 24 four times, this is the first time I have been early for the test getting laps in the car and getting to know the team. The last times it was last minute and showing up for the race. It is important that I am here testing and helping the team to gather data and develop this new car for the race.”
JDC/Miller with their two Cadillac DPi-V.R race cars had the No. 84 Cadillac DPi-V.R with Stephen Simpson, Simon Trummer, Chris Miller and Juan Piedrahita sharing the wheel and put in a fast lap of 1:35.066 posted by Trummer.
“I got my first few laps in the Cadillac yesterday,” Trummer said. “The Cadillac DPi-V.R is a lot different than the P2 cars I’ve driven. I am learning more and more every lap what the car needs to go fast and I get better with every lap. I like it. Every time out it gets better. We have a lot to learn with this new car, with every lap we do it is a step forward.”
The teams will return to Daytona in three weeks for the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona to run January 24-27.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/Photo. Richard Prince