Two days and four test sessions later, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship saw the two types of cars that comprise its Prototype class split the time sheets.
Oak Racing’s Morgan-Nissan P2 was fastest in Thursday’s opening session and Friday’s fourth and final outing, while Action Express Racing’s Corvette DP claimed the Thursday afternoon and Friday morning sessions. But don’t be mistaken: The DP and P2 battle for class supremacy might have been an even 2-2, but across those four sessions, DPs owned the fastest overall laps, with AXR’s No. 5 serving as the only car to dip into the 1:52 range.
Sebastien Bourdais’ 1:52.480 set late Thursday was repeated by the Frenchman this morning, recording a 1:52.488, while the best managed by a P2 car went to Oak Thursday morning with a 1:53.204. The team’s 1:53.338 on Friday afternoon was indeed best of the 12 Prototypes participating in the test, but still well clear of AXR’s benchmark.
“Things are going very well,” AXR’s Joao Barbosa told RACER. “There are still some issues; it’s hard for us in the current configuration to get the right aero balance on the DPs and we have too much [downforce] on the rear, but we had our test plan, went through everything and tried a lot of things to check off our list before the race. We had a few issues in the last session so we stopped early, but we’re leaving with a fast car and can’t wait to come back.”
Spirit of Daytona’s No. 90 Corvette DP (1:53.399) moved ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ No. 01 Ford DP (1:53.452) in the final minutes of the fourth session, completing the top-3.
Barbosa, like many, did not expect such a big gap between DPs and P2s at a track where most reckoned the ACO-based cars would thrive.
“It was a big surprise to not see the P2s going quicker,” he added. “Who knows what they were working on, but I was expecting them to be quicker. I was able to follow behind the No. 42 car and they could brake later because they’re lighter and corner quicker, but our top speed wasn’t that much faster, so it wasn’t a thing where we had a big advantage. It looked like they could go quicker in the corners than us, and when it comes time to go back and race, I guess we’ll see what they are capable of.”
The PC class saw 8Star Motorsports lead its third session of the event. 8Star’s No. 25 car (1:56.289) led the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport entry (1:57.557) and Bar1 Motorsports’ No. 88 (1:58.111). Fastest PC lap of the test went to 8Star Thursday morning (1:55.940).
Porsche completed its four-session sweep of the GT Le Mans times, cracking the 2:00 barrier for the first time and by a decent margin. The No. 911 RSR (1:59.395) was trailed by the No. 912 RSR (1:59.867) and the Risi Competizione-run Krohn Ferrari F458 (2:00.731).
Alex Job Racing made its first appearance atop the GT Daytona list (2:04.359) with the No. 22 Porsche 911 GT America. Riley Motorsports was second (2:05.075) with the No. 33 SRT Viper GT3-R and Magnus Racing bookended the top-3 with its No. 44 Porsche (2:05.367). Park Place Motorsports’ No. 73 Porsche captured the best GTD time this morning (2:04.289), giving the large number of 911 GT America runners hope they’ll have a more competitive outing at Round 2 than the Rolex 24 at Daytona offered.
Next up for TUDOR Championship teams is the Mobil 1 Sebring Twelve Hours on March 15.
Click here for the full results from the final session.