RACER.com is reporting live from the Rolex 24 at Daytona and will provide an ongoing series of brief updates, news items and quick analysis from Wednesday through Sunday.
[9:00 p.m. ET]
The Racer’s Group took the time to go back through its archives and generate some rather amazing metrics on its motor racing endeavors since the California-based outfit sparked to life in the 1990s.
From their review, starting with the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the team’s victories and podiums span:
2002 – GT victory
2003 – Overall and GT victory
2005 – 3rd place
2006 – 2nd place
2007 – 3rd place
2008 – 2nd and 3rd
2009 – GT victory and 2nd
2010 – 2nd and 3rd
2011 – GT victory
2012 – 2nd place
19 years competing in the Rolex 24 (1996 – 2014)
64 total cars entered through 2013 (62 GT and 2 DP)
4 wins (one overall)
5 second-place finishes
4 third-place finishes
277 different drivers from 25 nationalities (through 2011)
Total attendance number for TRG efforts at Daytona (all series)
19 Rolex 24s
19 Daytona Test Days
7 mid-season events (sports car)
8 fall/winter test events
3 PCA club races
2 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races
2 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series tests
1 NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500 race qualifying attempt
2 NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500 races
2 NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona test events
3 NASCAR Sprint Cup mid-season races (Firecracker 400)
2 private tests
Total events for Buckler and the team attending Daytona: 70
In cataloging the people, consumables and logistics involved with running the Rolex 24 at Daytona 19 times, TRG generated the following data:
114,688 Bottles of Water
67,344 Cups of Coffee
43,008 Meals Served
6720 Hotel Room Nights
2048 Total Personnel
718 Rental Cars
256 Golf Carts
Put it all together, and Kevin Buckler’s team has built an amazing legacy at the legendary event.
[7:00 p.m. ET]
SRT Viper driver Marc Goossens speaks with The RACER Channel after setting pole for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
[6:15 p.m. ET]
Alex Gurney, pole winner for the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona, speaks with The RACER Channel about the effort that placed the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP up front for the opening round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
[3:30 p.m. ET]
POPOW READY FOR IRON MAN ROLEX 24
Pro-Am driver Alex Popow has cooked up a busy weekend of driving. The Venezuelan ace is set to drive two entries for Starworks Motorsport, sharing the No. 78 Riley-BMW DP and the No. 7 PC entries Saturday and Sunday. To ready himself for something that should be a physically demanding experience, Popow told RACER he’s taken a different approach to training for the event.
“I’ve been playing some tennis, but I haven’t been working out too much for driving the two cars,” he said. “I think with this kind of thing, you have to be more ready to prepare your mind. You can’t let all of the driving and all the cars out there make you exhausted mentally. I think this for me is the number one thing to pay attention to in the race – keeping my mental side relaxed and it will be OK.”
The 38-year-old is preparing for plenty of driving once the race gets underway.
“The minimum drive time [in PC] is four hours, so I’ll do at least that amount,” he added. “In the DP, its only 45 minutes, but I know I’ll do three or four stints; probably five. Eight hours of driving is what I expect to do when it’s all over.”
And what does Popow have planned on Monday to relax and recover from the event? A visit to the masseuse, possibly?
“No, I’ll be on the beach taking in some sun,” he said with a smile. “That’s my favorite way to get my energy back.”
POPOW TO GO SOLO?
Popow also revealed his plan for a full-season of TUDOR Championship competition could be curbed without an infusion of sponsorship. Popow has been a big part of the financial engine behind the Starworks program since he joined the team in Grand-Am in 2011.
[3:00 p.m. ET]
(Mike Kitchel photo)
THE JAMES IN 007 FITS THE PART
There’s an Aston Martin in the Daytona paddock known as 007. Its driver’s name is James. And on Thursday afternoon he was wearing a tuxedo.
By all accounts James Davison is fitting in quite nicely with his TRG-AMR Aston Martin team as he prepares to run a full season in the No. 007 V12 Vantage. Davison and his co-drivers Brandon Davis, Al Carter and David Block all suited up in the tuxes before second practice on Thursday.
“A very fun opportunity,” he told RACER of the fancy attire. “With my first name being James it’s too convenient not to capitalize on.”
But after the photo shoot it was back to business for the TRG-AMR team, as Carter was sixth quickest in the GTD class during Thursday’s second practice.
“We’ve certainly made some gains with the balance and performance,” Davison said. “A single lap time is always good but I’m also aware it’s about getting to the checkered flag with the least amount of problems.”
Davison has an entire season ahead in the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship, but the 27-year-old Aussie also has an eye on the Indianapolis 500 in May. He made two IndyCar Series starts for Dale Coyne Racing in 2013 and still has an eye on an open-wheel return.
“I hope to run the Indy 500,” he said. “It’s a little premature right now, but there is a pretty decent chance that I will. You’ve got to have a lot of money behind you, which I haven’t had, unlike (James) Hinchcliffe and (Charlie) Kimball who I finished ahead of in Indy Lights. But that’s the way it goes – I’m looking forward to a great season with TRG Aston Martin and hopefully doing the Indy 500.”
[2.30 p.m. ET]
MAZDA NAME ON THE WAY
Mazda’s P2 SkyActiv diesel program uses a Multimatic-built chassis based on Lola’s coupe design, and after months of work on the project, RACER has learned the manufacturer is closing in on homologating the car under the Mazda name. Once the manufacturer decides on the name and model number that would be submitted to the ACO, it will wait for approval and then be able to refer to the car as a Mazda, marking the first time a Mazda-branded prototype will be seen in the IMSA series since the glorious 4-rotor RX-792Ps competed in the GTP series during the 1992 season. (Marshall Pruett photos, RIGHT)
[12:30 p.m. ET]
MAD MAGNUSSEN ISN’T RETIRING
A few reports emerged today claiming Corvette Racing driver Jan Magnussen was considering hanging up his helmet to support his son Kevin who will drive for the McLaren F1 team. Needless to say, the fiery Dane had a few expletives to share when I asked him if the reports were accurate.
“I was asked about watching my son and said I’d have some conflict with my own racing program and said I wasn’t sure what I’d do because I didn’t want to not see those races, and it was taken completely out of context that I was saying I want to retire,” he said. “F*** no I’m not retiring! They’ll have to throw me out of this team before I leave. No, I’m not retiring and you can print that right now.”
DP TO P2 GAP COULD COME DOWN ASAP
Richard Westbrook’s fast time from P1 was, according to the Briton, a combination of the Spirit of Daytona team’s form coming out of the Roar Before The 24, and being prepared to charge from the moment the green flag waved.
“The car was really easy to drive; I didn’t have to push extra hard and the lap came easy,” he told RACER. “But I can’t say where the rest of the Prototypes were. It was cold, which benefits the DPs because we’re a bit heavier. I’m sure when it heats up this afternoon, they’ll be faster and when we get to Sebring, they should be much faster.”
Westy also spoke on what it was like to share the track with 66 cars.
“You keep telling yourself the same old line about it being the same for everyone, but it’s a challenge, for sure,” he added. “You just hope everyone’s on their best behavior in the race.
WAITING GAME FOR GTD RUNNERS
Level 5 driver Jeff Segal didn’t get much time in his No. 555 Ferrari F458 this morning, but did have some interesting observations about the various lap speeds that were produced in the GTD class.
“We have some cars that were nowhere at the [Roar] but were right up there, and some guys that disappeared and it’s a bit curious,” said the two-time Grand-am Rolex GT champion. “It makes you wonder about the anti-sandbagging rule [IMSA] put in place and if they’ll really penalize people. If not, does that rule have any teeth? You don’t want to see threats about people sandbagging and have nothing done about it if it happens.”
[12:00 p.m. ET]
ASTON USES DRAFT TO POST QUICK P1 LAP
“We were all in on that lap, and we had a tow, which is fine,” said The Racer’s Group owner Kevin Buckler after driver James Davison posted the third-fastest lap of the morning. “James tried hard but there will be 10 guys in front of us when we get to qualifying. The Porsches will go faster, the Audis will go faster. We just need to show we can be fast , wherever we end up, because it’s good for the brand.”
(Marshall Pruett photo)
REPAIRS BEING MADE AT AJR
GTD team owner Alex Job tells RACER the No. 23 Porsche 911 GT America that sustained heavy damage during the first practice session should be back on track later today.
“I don’t think we’ll make second practice now, but probably qualifying. It’s mostly items that can be replaced; no structural damage. There was a lot of fluid down [in Turn 5] and Alex [Riberas] and a lot of other cars went off. Ours was the worst off, but we’ve had to do this before and will get the car ready to go.”
[8:45 p.m. ET]
12 HOURS OF DAYTONA FOR WILSON
Michael Shank Racing’s Justin Wilson comes into this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona fresh off of a harrowing 12-hour stint getting to Daytona International Speedway with his brother and fellow IndyCar driver Stefan Wilson as his co-pilot.
“We left Indy in our motorcoach headed for Daytona and with the [bad] weather, it slowed us down quite a bit,” said Wilson, who confirmed his return to the Dale Coyne Racing team for 2014.
“So Stef and I stopped at a campsite on the way down, put the hydraulic feet down (lifting the wheels off the ground and leveling the motorcoach), and when we went to leave, the feet wouldn’t come up! We sat there for a while trying to figure it out – to get them to come up – and nothing would work. So we’re crawling under the thing trying to find the problem and eventually we cracked a hydraulic line and let most of the fluid out to get them to release. It was a big mess…”
Tune in for the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona at the following times:
Saturday, Jan. 25
Tune in for the Daytona season opener at the following time:
6 p.m. on FOX Sports 2 (Same Day)