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ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA QUALIFYING ROUND UP

Mazda sets course record, qualifies first at Daytona

Driven by Olly Jarvis, the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P went around the Daytona International Speedway road course faster than any other car in history in Thursday’s qualifying for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Jarvis not only captured the overall pole position but broke the 26-year-old course record on the 3.56-mile road course.

On his fourth flying lap, Jarvis ran a time of 1:33.685 which officially reset the longstanding record lap of 1:33.875, and the time held to the end of the session. In the No. 55 Castrol Mazda RT24-P, Jonathan Bomarito ran a time of 1:34.212 which would be good for fourth position at the end of the session.

This is Mazda’s first overall pole position in its history at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and is the first pole position in IMSA for Jarvis and the Mazda RT24-P. Mazda has captured 22 class victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, beginning forty years ago with a 1-2 finish for the Mazda RX-7 in the GTU class.

Quotes
John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports
“Everyone at Mazda is appreciative of IMSA to give us the chance to showcase our brand here in this championship. It’s been a good month. The Roar was good and today was good, but this weekend is what it’s all about and we hope that it can be a great end to what has been a good month. Everyone involved with Mazda Team Joest – Multimatic, AER, and these drivers – have been absolutely non-stop and we are very, very proud of the results we are seeing from their effort. All that effort has resulted in Mazda’s first pole position at this race. We have been in touch with the Gurney family since we unofficially went under the track record at the Roar Before the 24, and we are really pleased to honor them with this track record.”

No. 55 Castrol Mazda RT24-P
Jonathan Bomarito
“It’s a great day for the Mazda program. All of the Mazda Team Joest guys have worked so hard since the checkered flag fell at Petit Le Mans last year, and having our cars start first and fourth for the Rolex 24 at Daytona is proof of that. Obviously, the Mazda RT24-P has a lot of pace, but we also know we have a car that will be good for the race and I’m looking forward to taking the green flag on Saturday afternoon.”

No. 77 Mazda RT24-P
Oliver Jarvis
“The most important thing for us was to get the pole. Since the Roar, I’ve gotten a better understanding of what it means to have the course record. For that record to stand for 26 years is incredible, and I wasn’t sure that we could beat it today because of the rain that we had this morning. I think for us and for Mazda Team Joest, it’s the icing on the cake, because we worked so hard. There’s been no off-season, and this is the result of all the hard work that’s gone in back at the workshop. For me, it’s very special to achieve my first pole with Mazda, but also to beat such a longstanding, impressive record is something special.”

Source. Mazda

Pole position for Porsche at the 24 Hours of Daytona

Porsche will take up the 24 Hours of Daytona from pole position. At the wheel of the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, works driver Nick Tandy (Great Britain) set the fastest lap time in the 15-minute qualifying session. Scoring a time of 1:42.257 minutes, the British racer was clearly ahead of his toughest rivals in the GTLM class. Earl Bamber (New Zealand) planted the sister car with the starting number 912 on the fifth grid spot. The two Porsche 911 RSR tackle round one of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season in the livery of the legendary Brumos Racing team.

In the hunt for top times, the Porsche GT Team chose a perfect strategy. The experienced factory squad sent the ca. 510 hp sports cars from Weissach out on the track precisely at the right time. Tandy benefited from the slipstream of other vehicles and got the best out of the 911 RSR’s high potential. With his hottest lap, the UK driver set a new qualifying record for the GTLM class at Daytona. Posting six top times in the GTLM class, Tandy is the best qualifying driver in the history of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. The fifth grid spot for the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR rounds off a successful qualifying session for Porsche.

In the GTD class, Lars Kern (Weissach) secured a top-ten grid position at the debut of the new 500 hp Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by the Canadian team, Pfaff Motorsports. With the number 9 vehicle, the Porsche development driver turned the eighth quickest lap in the 15-minute session. The identical No. 73 sports car run by Park Place Motorsports takes up the 24-hour race from position ten, with the customer squad vehicles from Black Swan Racing (#540) and NGT Motorsport (#99) occupying grids positions 13 and 17 respectively.

The 24-hour race at Daytona takes off on Saturday, 26 January, at 14:35 hrs local time (20:35 hrs CET).

Qualifying quotes
Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “The first qualifying of the year and immediately on pole position: you can’t wish for a better start than that. We have to give a little credit to the competition for the nice slipstreaming, but it became clear that we were right up there at the decisive moment. That was the first step, now comes the race. Our goal is clear: We want to defend our position with the pole-setting car and ensure that the sister car makes up a few places.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “Our aim was to look for a decent slipstream, and that worked perfectly. On the long straights at Daytona this can really help and gives you a lot of time, especially if you catch the slipstream from two cars – as in our case. Sometimes this tactic doesn’t work, but today we were in luck. While pole position is fantastic, it doesn’t mean as much at a 24-hour race as it does at other events. Still, it’s important to start such a weekend with a great result.”

Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “The qualifying was okay. Congratulations to Nick, Patrick and Fred on claiming pole in the number 911 car. Everything ran perfectly for them, but not so much for us. It’s obvious that we need to do a bit more work on optimising the car before the race. But certainly anything is possible.”

Lars Kern (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “A little more would have been possible. I got stuck behind another car, which gave me a good tow with the slipstream on the straights, but held me up significantly in the corners. That cost a bit of time. But all in all I’m very pleased with the setup and handling of our Porsche 911 GT3 R. The car feels good and that gives me confidence for the long race.”

Qualifying result
GTLM class

1. Pilet/Tandy/Makowiecki (Porsche #911), 1:42.257 minutes

2. Magnussen/Garcia/Rockenfeller (Corvette #3), + 0.326

3. Briscoe/Westbrook/Dixon (Ford #67), + 0.377 seconds

4. Rigon/Molina/Pier Guidi/Calado (Ferrari #62), + 0.455 seconds

5. Bamber/Vanthoor/Jaminet (Porsche #912), + 0.539 seconds

6. Hand/Müller/Bourdais (Ford #66), + 0.633 seconds

7. Krohn/Edwards/Mostert/Zanardi (BMW #24), + 0.696 seconds

8. Farfus/De Philippi/Eng/Herta (BMW #25), + 0.729 seconds

9. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (Corvette #4), + 0.982 seconds

GTD class

1. Longo/Franzoni/Gomes/Bertolini (Ferrari #13), 1:45.257 minutes

2. Keating/Bleekemolen/Stolz/Fraga (Mercedes #33), + 0.067 seconds

3. Farnbacher/Hindman/Marks/Allmendinger (Acura #86), + 0.139 seconds

8. Kern/Olsen/Robichon/Hargrove (Porsche #9), + 0.688 seconds

10. Long/Campbell/Lindsey/Boulle (Porsche #73), + 0.846 seconds

13. Werner/Cairoli/Seefried/Pappas (Porsche #99), + 0.974 seconds

17. Müller/Bachler/Renauer/Häring/Görig (Porsche #540), + 1.412 second

Source. Porsche

Front-Row GTLM Start for Magnussen, No. 3 Corvette

Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen qualified second Thursday in GT Le Mans (GTLM) for Saturday’s Rolex 24 At Daytona ahead of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s opening race.

Driving with Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller, Magnussen set a lap of 1:42.583 (124.927 mph) in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Magnussen and Garcia won the 2017 and 2018 GTLM Driver’s championships and were victorious at the Rolex 24 in 2015.

Oliver Gavin qualified the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R ninth in class and only 0.6 seconds behind his teammate. Gavin, who set a lap of 1:43.239 (124.133 mph), is aiming to repeat his 2016 Rolex 24 class victory with teammates Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler.

As was the case in Rolex 24 qualifying last year – and earlier this month in official testing – the pair of yellow Corvettes opted to use a drafting strategy around the superspeedway portion of Daytona International Speedway. Different this time is that other teams followed Corvette Racing’s lead during Thursday’s session.

This year’s Rolex 24 is the 20th anniversary of Corvette Racing’s competitive debut. The program starts its third decade in search of its 13th Driver and Manufacturer title in 21 years of racing in IMSA, along with a fourth victory at the Rolex 24.

JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED SECOND IN GTLM: “I suppose it was an OK result. Had it been a little cleaner, maybe I could have gone quicker. But three-and-a-half tenths is quite a lot. I’m happy with the lap but it was not clean. I had to fend off one of the Porsches starting the lap and then had to pass Oliver during the lap as he had just done his fastest; he let me by but I still had to pass. We didn’t quite hit the tow we had planned and how we wanted. But the Corvette was good and the time itself was good considering how messy of a lap it was. I’m quite happy with the car we have for the race. But this is about qualifying first, and we didn’t.”

OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED NINTH IN GTLM: “We have been battling grip level since the start of today, and qualifying was no different. We are not entirely sure why we are getting very low bite from the tire. We tried to our tow strategy but things got a bit messy. After that the speed just wasn’t there for us. I’m not entirely sure why. The tire pressures were split which was a bit unusual, so maybe that was part of it. The track also is very different from the test earlier this month. We have a couple more sessions to work on a few things, so I’m confident the guys at Corvette Racing will come through.”

Source. Corvette Racing

Hindman Scores Third on Rolex Grid with LaSalle Solutions Acura for Meyer Shank Racing

The No. 86 LaSalle Solutions / Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) Acura NSX GT3 Evo qualified on the second row with Trent Hindman behind the wheel for the 57th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Thursday.

The New Jersey-native made his first ever IMSA WeatherTech qualifying run which resulted in a third place finish as he posted a 1:45.396-second flyer.
Racing alongside Mario Farnbacher, Justin Marks and AJ Allmendinger, the young gun used lessons learned from his co-drivers during Thursday’s qualifying session.

Hindman is pulling double duty as he will be competing in both the IMSA Micheline Pilot Challenge race on Friday as well as the twice around the clock event on Saturday and Sunday.

Having scored podiums in every race that he has competed in with MSR (2nd place – 2018 Rolex 24, 2nd place – 2018 Petit Le Mans), Hindman will look to continue those results in 2019 as he runs the full season with the team.

“This is the first time I’ve qualified this car – in fact, it’s my first time qualifying in the WeatherTech series so there’s definitely a lot of things to manage, coming into an environment like this,” said Hindman. “We’ll take it in stride, I have a great team behind me, fantastic co-drivers and fantastic teammates across both teams that I’m learning a ton from. I’m pretty young in this whole WeatherTech Championship so there’s a lot for me to learn! You want to end the 24 hours at the front so starting at the front is an advantage. The goal is always to be on the pole but we’re happy to be in the top five. The Meyer Shank Racing guys gave me a fantastic LaSalle Solutions Acura NSX GT3 Evo and we look forward to trying to get ourselves some new watches on Sunday!”

“Trent just did a great job,” said Shank. “He is so quick to learn and get up to the pace that we need him to be at. He listens and takes in all of the information and it shows when he gets out on track. I think we have a really solid lineup with Trent, Mario, Justin and AJ. These guys will be someone to look out for and Trent started us off on that track with his qualifying run.”

Source. Sunday Group

Cadillac Racing Teams to Start Together for Rolex 24 At Daytona

Cadillac’s six DPi-V.R prototype race cars will start the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 At Daytona as a pack in fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and eleventh for Saturday’s 2:35 p.m. race start.

At the drop of the green of the 15-minute qualifying session at the World Center of Racing, the 11-car DPi field got up to speed quickly. Felipe Nasr, in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, led the armada of Cadillac prototypes with a time of 1:34.333 that will have him starting from the third row in fifth.

“I felt like we had a decent run while getting the best of the tires when it was needed,” Nasr said. “The car was good and makes me feel confident going into the race. Daytona is a long race with qualifying only being a small piece and I am sure we can make up some ground and fight for the victory.”

Jordan Taylor had the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R and put in a lap of 1:34.479 that will have the No. 10 going away from the start in sixth.

“I think, realistically, we were racing for fifth-fastest time,” Taylor said. “We ended sixth by a half-tenth to the 31. But, I think for us, qualifying was more of a practice session than anything. We made some big changes just to see what they would do between practice and qualifying just to get a read on it because we’ve had such limited running. We understand now what our changes did, and now we move to night practice with some more direction. We weren’t necessarily going for the pole, which we knew wasn’t realistic, but it was more race prep, and that’s the ultimate goal when it comes to getting the car just right.”

New to prototype racing, Augustin Canapino drove the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R to a time of 1:34.679 good for seventh on the grid.

“First off, I want to start by saying thank you to Juncos Racing, Ricardo Juncos and Cadillac for their support,” Canapino said. “We are very happy with our results as this was our first time qualifying in IMSA both as a team and for myself as a driver in this series. This is a great starting point for the weekend in the No. 50 Cadillac DPi-V.R car and looking forward. We feel great being so close to the level of the teams we are competing against, which has exceeded our expectations. This team has achieved a lot in a short time, so we will keep working hard to prepare for our first endurance race.”

In the No. 85 JDC/Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R, Tristan Vautier posted a time of 1:35.369 that will have him starting eighth.

“We are a bit disappointment with our speed,” Vautier said. “We didn’t come here with the biggest expectations because we are a new Cadillac team and the competition is very good. We accept that we have a leaning curve. We accept that. Everyone is motivated to catch up and we are now in race mode for 24 hours. We will attack, keep it clean and be there at the end.”

Stephen Simpson had the wheel of the No. 84 JDC/Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R and will start ninth on Saturday based upon his run of 1:35.442.

“Not really where we want to be, but obviously an improvement from the Roar,” Simpson said. “Our engineers and mechanics have been doing a great job and working very hard the last couple of weeks. Like we have done the last couple of years, we do things with our way of thinking and we’ve always come out right. The Cadillac is very new to us, but we have taken a positive step forward. We have lots to learn from that session, but we are now switching to race mode.”

Filipe Albuquerque reported issues with his No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R from the start of the session. A mechanical problem at the rear of the car resulted in the team not taking a lap. The defending race winners will start the race from the rear of DPi field.

Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing

Heinricher Racing’s Figueiredo Makes First Rolex 24 Qualifying Run

Making her first official qualifying run for the 57th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Bia Figueiredo (Ana Beatriz) qualified ninth in the No. 57

The team is making history as the first all-female team to enter the Rolex 24 since 1993. The entry combines MSR veteran Katherine Legge with two-time IMSA Champion Christina Nielsen, Australian V8 Super Car driver Simona De Silvestro and Brazilian Stock Car driver Figueiredo.

Only two practice sessions preceded the 15-minute qualifying run. Figueiredo, who set the fastest time in qualifying during the Roar Before the 24 event weekend (which set garage and pit assignments), was aiming for the same success. At the close of the session, she laid down a lap of 1:46.116, placing her on the fifth row for the start of the twice around the clock event.

“We had so much rain this morning and it’s so much warmer than it was at the Roar, so the car is different,” said Figueiredo. “We worked hard to fix the car, but it didn’t go the way we wanted it to go. The time is fair but I wish we could have at least repeated the time we had at the Roar so we could be closer to the pole, but we’ll work to have a better car for the race.

Program leader, Jackie Heinricher, was beyond excited to see her effort make its first official qualifying run and is hoping to see the No. 57 move up the order during the star-studded event.

“Bia (Figueiredo) did an amazing job,” said Heinricher. “It’s great to be here with the entire Meyer Shank Racing team. All of the girls have proven to be strong on and off the track and it’s exciting to see this all come together. I’m confident in the drivers, and the team that we can have a very strong race on Saturday. It’s going to be a long race but we’ve done a really good job in qualifying, and we are excited to go racing.”

Mike Shank not only serves as owner of the team but is on the box making calls for the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing entry. Still hoping for some more speed, Shank is eager to see this program put on track come Saturday.

“We didn’t have quite the pace that we were hoping for during qualifying but I know we will get there,” said Shank. “Bia (Figueiredo) did a great job, it was her first time officially qualifying the car and she is a really strong driver. It’s been great to see the team dynamic between Katherine, Christina, Bia, Simona and Jackie. We have a strong group and to have Jackie, who despite not driving, is still right there supporting us, it’s been great. We are making gains and are going to be prepared come race day.”

Source. Sunday Group

WeatherTech Racing Ferrari starts 16th for the Rolex 24

WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Toni Vilander (Finland), Dominik Farnbacher (Germany), and Jeff Westphal (San Mateo, Calif.) will start from the eighth row in the GTD class in the 57th running of the IMSA WeatherTech Rolex 24 At Daytona January 24-27 at Daytona International Speedway.

MacNeil had the controls of the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari GT3 488 for Thursday’s 15-minute GTD qualifying session. MacNeil turned his fastest lap of 1:46.321 on his fourth circuit around the 3.56-mile modified oval road course.

“I am a little perplexed,” MacNeil said. “We had a good handle on the WeatherTech Ferrari at the Roar and this morning. I am not sure if the track changed or if it was something that we did in between the last practice and qualifying. We are going to pour over the data and get it right for night practice. Twenty-four hours is a long time. We have the team that can win this race. We’re not too worried about where we are starting. There’s just more motivation to run a strong and consistent race to be in contention on Sunday afternoon.”

Source. Kyle Chura/Weathertech Racing

Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini squad complete qualifying prep for Rolex 24

Paul Miller Racing, the reigning IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class champions are ready to kick off the team’s championship defense after practice and qualifying today at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The 1st Phorm-sponsored Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO will start from the fifth row of the grid in ninth position on Saturday after Corey Lewis recording a qualifying time of 1:46.040 – more than two seconds faster than what the team recorded in last year’s Rolex 24 qualifying.

Last year the Paul Miller Racing entry charged from 16th on the grid through to a third-place finish.

Rain greeted the 47 entries at Daytona International Speedway today before the first practice with the Paul Miller Racing team elected to wait out the wet track – putting in a few laps in their Lamborghini toward the end of the practice session.

The second practice session was run under completely dry conditions and all four drivers – Lewis, Bryan Sellers, Ryan Hardwick, and Andrea Calderelli – were able to have time behind the wheel prior to the afternoon’s qualifying session.

The team continued to focus on the race set up and preparing for long distance runs throughout the practice sessions.

By the IMSA regulations, the silver-rated drivers were required to qualify in the GTD category and the Paul Miller Racing. Lewis set his fastest time on his fifth of eight laps completed in the 15-minute session.

Saturday’s race will go green at 2:35 pm local time with Bryan Sellers scheduled to take the wheel for the start aboard the No.48 entry.

This will be Sellers’ twelfth start at the endurance classic and his first race since being crowned series champion for the 2018 season.

Source. Paul Miller Racing

FORD GTS TO START 3RD, 6TH

Following Thursday’s GTLM qualifying session for the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Ford GTs will start the twice-round-the-clock race in third and sixth place.

Both cars only turned a combined seven shakedown laps in opening practice, which featured steady rainfall that followed an early morning Daytona downpour. The second practice session saw a drastic improvement in weather conditions, with the Nos. 66 and 67 setting the third and fifth quickest times in GTLM, respectively.

Despite continued sunshine, track temperatures cooled slightly as qualifying began. Both Fords held on pit lane for a few minutes into the session, before setting out to turn in their laps. In the end, Ryan Briscoe set the top lap for Ford, placing the No. 67 in third position.

“It was a strong lap, the car felt good. It was a bit disappointing to not have enough for the pole, but I’m still happy with my performance,” said Briscoe. “We had a little lockup early that gave us a bit of a flat spot, but nothing too bad. It ended up being a great lap, and these Michelins are definitely quicker than ever. Times are fast across the class in general, so it’s going to be tight competition with the other manufacturers, but the team will give it everything as always.”

Nine-time WeatherTech Championship pole winner Joey Hand qualified the No. 66 in sixth position in the GTLM category.

“There’s no question we’ve been trying to catch up since the Roar test with the added weight and the less horsepower we have,” said Hand. “We spent the entire test there trying to decipher the car and we’re still doing that. There’s definitely a difference with the cars with that added weight, so we’re still working through what the car wants. We’ve been here before. A couple years ago we struggled, but then figured it out right before the race and the race was great. We’ll keeping tuning on it. This team has won a lot of races here at Daytona. That’s not by accident.”

Next up for both Ford GTs is night practice session under the lights and Friday’s fourth and final practice session before the team takes to the track to try for a third consecutive Rolex 24 title.

“It’s been tremendous to have the Ford GT win here the last two years,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “It shows how strong the car, the team and the drivers are in this program. We’ve come back with a competitive package, and to be able to win a third time in such a historically significant race like this in our fourth year in the program would be beyond most expectations.”

Nasr Fifth-Fastest at Daytona in Whelen Engineering Cadillac

Felipe Nasr earned a third-row starting spot for the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona, running a fast lap time of 1:34.433-seconds in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R during Thursday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying.

With qualifying now in the books, Nasr and the Whelen Engineering team will move the focus to improving on last year’s second-place finish in Saturday’s 57th running of the endurance classic. He will be joined by fellow defending IMSA DPi champion Eric Curran and 2016 Daytona winner Pipo Derani in the red-and-white Whelen machine.

“I felt like we had a decent run while getting the best of the tires when it was needed,” Nasr said of the qualifying run. “The car was good and makes me feel confident going into the race in the position we are. Daytona is a long race with qualifying only being a small piece; I am sure we can make some ground and fight for victory.”

Nasr was fastest in Thursday morning’s opening WeatherTech Championship practice. Starting out on rain tires as the track was still damp from an early morning deluge, Nasr gradually improved to a lap of 1:36.108-seconds.

“The track was wet in the beginning, so it was a chance for us to get a read on the car,” said Nasr, who was at the wheel for the entire 45-minute session. “It was good for me, because I have never driven Daytona in the rain, so we got a good feel for the car. Just like in the race, we then made the transition to slicks. It was a good overall session to understand the car and the tires – just in case we have the same in the race, we are ready to react to that. So it was a productive session.”

The team has a final opportunity to fine-tune the Whelen Cadillac in Friday morning’s final practice, set for 10-11 a.m. ET.

Source. Sunday Group

Mustang Sampling Racing Ready for Rolex 24 Defense

2018 Rolex 24 At Daytona champions Mustang Sampling Racing will look to repeat the feat this weekend as the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship launches its 50th Anniversary season at Daytona International Speedway.

Mustang Sampling Racing drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi are going for their fourth career victory in the race, with fellow 2018 winner Filipe Albuquerque targeting a second consecutive win in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R. The race marks the final start for Fittipaldi, who will look to cap his impressive career with another victory at Daytona. The team had been planning to have Mike Conway as part of the lineup, but instead will utilize the same winning line up of drivers from 2018 again in 2019.

“We just got off the phone with Mike (Conway), he has been delayed and is still in England,” said team manager Gary Nelson. “We are very disappointed that we won’t be able to have Mike in our car for the race. With the delay, it became obvious that he could not make the trip to Daytona in time for the final practice session. We all decided that it may be best for the 5 car to race the Rolex with Christian, Joao and Fillipe. We will continue to work with Mike in other events in the 2019 endurance championship.”

Thursday’s 15-minute qualifying session didn’t provide the hoped for results as the 2017 pole-winning team suffered an issue during the brief session that kept them from setting a time. The team, which has three victories in the 24 hour event, will start the race from the back of the DPi field and will look to return to Victory Lane on Sunday.

“The Cadillac was feeling nice but just when I was getting ready for my first flying lap and getting into sixth gear something didn’t feel right,” reported Albuquerque. “So I brought the car to the pits as I knew we had a problem. There was really nothing we could do. It is disappointing, but we’ve got a lot of racing before Sunday afternoon and there is an awesome team behind us.”

Source. Sunday Group

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