Rolex 24: Friday Live Updates

Rolex 24: Friday Live Updates

IMSA

Rolex 24: Friday Live Updates

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 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 through Sunday.

Be sure to check back regularly each day, and to follow us on Twitter @RacerMag, @MarshallPruett and @MikeKitchel

 

 

[8:30 p.m. ET]

Will Scott Dixon tell his teammate and fellow Indy 500 winner whether he’s relieved himself in the seat of the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Prototype during the race? What’s the grossest habit among the Ganassi teammates Memo Rojas has had? And which driver are the three distancing themselves from? Watch as TK has some fun ahead of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

[8:00 p.m. ET]

 

Watch as Michael Shank Racing driver AJ Allmendinger hands over the controls of the No. 60 Riley-Ford EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 to teammate Ozz Negri during night practice at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Negri, one of the best in the business, then shows what it’s like to get up to speed on cold tires, how traffic can affect lap time and where to pick and choose the best places to pass – all things they’ll be doing this weekend for 24 hours.

 

[6:00 p.m.]

 

Ford Racing boss Jamie Allison was one of many manufacturer representatives meeting with IMSA on Friday. With a gap of 0.566 second to the leading Corvette DPs in qualifying, Allison was hoping the series would make an adjustment to level the lap times between their twin-turbo EcoBoost V6s and the naturally-aspirated V8s that power the Corvette contingent and the Dinan-built BMWs.

 

All of the DP cars received a five percent reduction in air restrictor size for the race, reducing power in a bid to draw down the DP and P2 gap, and after reading IMSA rules boss Scot Elkins’ thoughts on keeping the Balance of Performance untouched for the race (below in our 2:45 p.m. ET update), Allison shared his thoughts on the topic.

 

“I’m here to tell you that there is a declared disparity even with in the DP and we believe it’s rooted since the Roar test,” Allison told RACER. “If you look within the DP camp there was about a disparity between the Fords and the Chevys with the application of the five percent reduction in the restrictor size we believe that has impacted the normally-aspirated V8 differently than a V6 turbo like the EcoBoost and it has manifested itself in about a 2mph [top speed] difference on our Fords.

 

“The impact of that reduction on the V8s aren’t as high, so, there is an acknowledged disparity, however, we recognize – and the series has asserted – that in the spirit of the new IMSA, no DP changes will be made after qualifying and we respectfully accept the fact that’s the policy. But the fact that we have a disparity, and it’s a 24-hour race, we’re going to do our best to challenge and be in contention to win.”

 

Allison met directly with Elkins on Saturday, and although the meeting with IMSA did not produce the desired effect at the Rolex 24, he hopes to see the disparity erased by Round 2 at Sebring – possibly as a result of some help from Ford.

 

“Scot has a really tough job and the series is trying to balance everything within a class, between two different engine configurations and across classes between DPs and P2s with all they’ve had at their disposal. Something we’ve learned at Ford, and I attribute it to our leadership, is every challenge is a gift and as challenging as this is, I look at it as a gift to the series.

“We talked with Scot, and here is the opportunity … the tools of reducing power through restrictor size restriction is one science I believe now we can open the eyes of the series and we can give to Scot. We can go through a progression of restriction and measure the impact on a dyno and evaluate the different impact on engine configurations – turbo and naturally-aspirated – so in the future he’s able to say it’s not a common application of reduction. It’s not a five percent across both.”

Allison’s tone was one of improving the performance balancing process going forward, and after a good laugh, he answered whether some of the source of his displeasure was due to the exceptional speed of rival manufacturer Chevrolet.
 
“Honestly it’s less about who and more about the process; we subscribe to a being able to participate and compete in a platform whereby we feel it’s equitable, and I think the series has tried it’s best to try and be equitable,” he added. “The gap only became known in qualifying because circumstantially in the other practices; too much traffic, cycling drivers…you really didn’t get a clean opportunity to show what you had. I understand the position Scot and the series is in and if you want to bring stability to the series you can’t change things at any hour so I respect it. It’s unfortunate, given where we’re at. But I respect it.”


[5:30 p.m. ET]

Rolex 24 DeltaWing In Car

The DeltaWing Racing team takes RACER inside the DWC13 coupe as it laps the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway during practice for the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

[3:30 p.m.]

 
BRISCOE EXCITED ABOUT SPORTSCAR UNION, DRIVER REUNION
 
 
For Corvette Racing driver Ryan Briscoe the Rolex 24 at Daytona is the annual racecar driver reunion – one where familiar faces from across all forms of motorsport unite before kicking off their respective race seasons.
 
 
“It’s just so much fun to be catching up with so many old friends,” Briscoe told RACER. “I always feel like this race is such a reunion of drivers. Everybody has had their offseason and drivers from everywhere show up for the Daytona 24.”
 
 
But this year’s class reunion is even bigger, as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship has combined the world’s best sports car drivers into a single field.
 
 
“I think it’s great,” Briscoe told RACER. “We’ve seen it before with open-wheel racing; it seems silly having two different classes running basically the same cars at different events. So this is a really exciting time where nobody misses out – everybody that is a sports car driver is here. And we all get a chance to run the Daytona 24 and Sebring all together and that’s how it’s meant to be in American sports car racing.”
 
 
Briscoe and co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia will have some catching up to do in the No. 3, as an electrical gremlin prevented their Chevrolet from turning a wheel during Thursday’s qualifications. They will start 66th, but have 24 hours to make up the difference in their Corvette DP, which Briscoe enjoys piloting.
 
“It’s such a great car to drive,” Briscoe said of the Corvette C7.R. “It’s not much different from cars I’ve driven in the past and the driving style is very similar to a DP – it moves around a bit, but you’ve still got downforce and good enough brakes that you can really hammer it. It feels good.”
 
After bouncing between ALMS and the IndyCar Series last season, Briscoe signed this offseason to return to Ganassi Racing to replace the retiring Dario Franchitti. But that move ranks second on the list of major offseason developments for the seven-time IndyCar Series race winner, as he and wife Nicole had their first child (daughter Finley) in early December.
 
Fatherhood has done little to disrupt Briscoe’s approach to the 2014 season.
 
“It’s been great back home,” Briscoe said. “Mom and the baby have been good and healthy and you couldn’t ask for anything more. I feel real lucky that it’s all been going so smoothly. It will get harder once we’re traveling (more) but we’ve been getting plenty of advice from other drivers and drivers’ wives (who have kids). We’ve been doing a good job so far.”
 

2:45 p.m.]

NO BoP CHANGES AHEAD

IMSA rules boss Scot Elkins met with the media on Friday and revealed that after a day of reviewing data from Thursday’s practice and qualifying sessions, no changes will be made to the field heading into tomorrow’s race.
“I honestly don’t think there’s going to be anything changed,” he said. “It doesn’t sound right, but maybe in some cases [the speed disparity between Prototypes] looks worse than it is. The reduction we did on the DP cars got us closer to the P2s, we were at like 1.6, 1.7 [seconds apart] at the Roar. We adjusted the restrictors and even the P2 teams are within right around a second. We know we’re never going to get it perfect, but the raceability aspects and the differences between the DP and the P2 car is what’s going to come into play.
 
“The P2 car is lighter, it’s got more downforce, it’s probably to be better on tires. The DP car has a little bit faster lap times, faster top speeds–at some point over 24 hours that’s all going to balance itself out. We’re hoping. That’s the plan right now. I think we’ve got it to where the best we’re going to get it. There’s nothing drastic that we can do that’s going to make it any better. So we’re going to let them race.”

[1:45 p.m. ET]

LET THE BoP GAMES BEGIN

It didn’t take long for the post-qualifying conversations to turn to Balance of Performance. The loudest barking has come from the Prototype class where GM’s fleet of Corvette DPs have ruled the show so far.

With the No. 78 Riley-BMW sent to the back of the field for a technical infraction, Corvette DPs comprise the two front rows, with one of Chip Ganassi’s Ford EcoBoost turbo DPs in fifth, another Corvette DP in sixth and, to the surprise of many, the DeltaWing in seventh.

The Ford contingent have made their displeasure unknown, citing noticeable top speed disparity that resulted in a 0.566-second difference from the top EcoBoost to the pole-winning Corvette DP. Ford, as one might expect, has been lobbying the series for an adjustment – either to increase their speed or to slow the Corvette DPs.

In P2, the same has been true from Extreme Speed Motorsports and team co-owner Ed Brown, who has been pushing hard to have some form of concession made prior to the race to ensure the P2 cars are not left behind by their DP counterparts.
 
Stay tuned for what could be an interesting BoP update this afternoon

[1:00 p.m. ET]

RULES UPDATES

 

IMSA published a bit of rules housekeeping Friday morning, clarifying the following:

 

12.3.2 (TUSC) Penalty: No finishing points are awarded to any Driver that does not achieve the
minimum laps or drive-time requirement in each Car for which they are nominated to be eligible for
point awards.
 
47.2.5.B. (TUSC) After Safety Car and Cars that have not pitted are past the Start Line, Race
Control shall authorize the Lap Down Wave By (LDWB) for any eligible Cars. A Car is eligible for the
LDWB if it was one or more whole lap(s) down from its class leader on the first full lap of yellow; if it
has not pitted during the yellow; and if it is in the line behind the Safety Car but in front of the first
Car in its class that is on the lead lap. The first full lap of yellow is defined as the lap beginning when
the overall leader first crosses the Start Line under full course yellow. LDWB Cars may pit anytime
after receiving the LDWB. It is the competitor’s responsibility to determine if their Car is eligible for
the LDWB.
 
47.2.5.E. (TUSC) DEBRIS Full Course Yellow (announced at the discretion of the Race Director):
For a short or “Debris” Safety Car period, after the Pass-Around, the pit lane remains closed until the
Safety Car has extinguished its lights in preparation for a restart. No Final Wave-By is performed.
Any Emergency Service Cars must pit again on the first opportunity after the pits are opened taking
the restart on track. The restart is led by the overall leader, or, if that car (and any others) enters the
pit lane, by the next car remaining in the line behind the Safety Car. For the Debris Full Course
Yellow, a Car entering a closed pit and working on the Car (typically crash damage) for an extended
time is deemed to have served the Emergency Service requirement to pit again if such Car is still in
the pit lane at the time that the main field has taken the restart and passed the pit exit.
 
[12:55 p.m. ET]

SMILE


Most of the IndyCar Series drivers competing in the Rolex 24 posed for a photo arranged by IMS. Enjoy!

[12:45 p.m. ET]

WRONG NUMBERS

The IndyCar Series has a rather large PR presence at the Rolex 24, including staff members from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Among the items they’ve distributed is a list of IndyCar drivers competing in this weekend’s endurance race, but, and this is more of an annoyance than anything of great importance, they’ve opted to only acknowledge the drivers in the field with their 2014 plans in place.

 

They’ve highlighted 10 drivers, leaving Sebastian Saavedra, E.J. Viso, Tristan Vautier, James Davison and others who took part in the 2013 season out of their press releases. With the series needing to grow its media presence, the choice to limit the volume of drivers it mentions to the assembled media. Throw in some of the up-and-coming open-wheel stars here – Sage Karam and Gabby Chaves, in particular – out of their missives.

 
The tactic might make sense to some, but I’m struggling to find the logic behind it all

11:00 p.m. ET]

 

NEW MOTOR FOR MSR

 

Although pre-race engine changes are nothing new ahead of the Rolex 24, one of Ford’s three Prototype entries came out of Thursday with a definite need for a fresh powerplant for the race. Michael Shank Racing’s Thursday night practice activities were cut short when the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost engine lost a head gasket.

 

The team’s plight was, by all accounts, kept rather quiet until a slight miscue with radio frequencies was made. What had been an internal communication between the team and driver A.J. Allmendinger became known to the rest of the competitors on pit lane when the IMSA communications channel modeled by all of the teams was mistakenly used to relay the head gasket issue to ‘Dinger…

PUTTING A BAD QUALIFYING PERFORMANCE BEHIND THEM

Extreme Speed Motorsports had a forgettable qualifying session. Its pair of HPD ARX-03b P2 cars were unexpectedly slow, and the issue for the No. 2 car was an easy one to diagnose.

 

“We had a turbo issue,” said HPD technical director Roger Griffiths.

 

The issue that befell the No. 1 could also be traced to a component-related item, but the part wasn’t to blame.

 

“There was a slight human interface issue on that one,” added Griffith.

 

A nut, it was later found, made its way into the footwell, interfering with the drive-by-wire throttle system, preventing the car from running wide open.

 

The No. 1 will start 18th, two spots behind the No. 1 in 15th.

 

PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE BITES 8STAR

 

8Star Motorsports owner Enzo Potolicchio was hoping to get ahead of the maintenance curve by having the gearbox in his No. 25 PC entry serviced ahead of Thursday’s busy slate of practice sessions and qualifying. Many teams opt to have that kind of service done after Thursday as they get ready for Saturday’s Rolex 24, but the Venezuelan paid the price when the transmission failed in spectacular fashion towards the tail end of the second session. Among the damage that was incurred, a split oil line caused an unpleasant fire at the back of the car, forcing the team to miss the rest of the day’s activities.

 

“We were trying to be smart guys and get the service done early, but there was something that went wrong obviously in what happened,” Potolicchio told RACER. “If there’s a good way to look at it, it’s maybe we got the problems out of the way now so we don’t have it in the race. If we waited to do this Friday, maybe the same failure would have hit us when it counted.”

 

Due to missing qualifying, the 8Star car will start at the back of the field.

IMSA TUNE-IN:

Tune in for the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona at the following times:

Saturday, Jan. 25

2-4 p.m. ET on FOX (Live)
4-9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2 (Live)
 
Overnight (Jan. 25-26)
9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ET on IMSA.com (includes live images, in-car cameras and announcers)
 
Sunday, Jan. 26
7 a.m. – 3 p.m. on FOX Sports 1 (Live)

Tune in for the Daytona season opener at the following time:

Friday, Jan. 24

6 p.m. on FOX Sports 2 (Same Day)

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