CJ Wilson Racing picked up where it left off at the Roar test by posting fastest times in both Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge sessions on Wednesday.
The 2016 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season kicks off this week at the newly refurbished Daytona International Speedway and for the first time ever, CJ Wilson Racing can justifiably dream about heading to the Florida venue’s famed Victory Lane.
The move to the senior GS category of the CTSCC with the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport means that the Austin based team travels to Florida’s Atlantic coast with both title aspirations and, after recording the fastest times in both of Wednesday’s sessions, genuine hopes of winning the season opener.
The new driver pairing of Marc Miller and Danny Burkett have plenty of reasons for optimism. The hugely encouraging ‘Roar before the 24’ test earlier this month saw Canadian newcomer, Burkett, topped the timing list despite his relative lack of GT racing experience. The drivers of the #33 ONE Capital Porsche carried that momentum into day one of the season opener with fastest times in both wet sessions.
“Burkett and the team were pragmatic in their approach to finding speed in opening practice. “I took about forty minutes of the session which ate into Marc’s time somewhat but he was happy I was able to take a methodical approach and gradually work down to a pretty quick time. Marc then got into the car and put it P1 right at the end of the session.”
Racing for a high-profile owner also brings additional pressures as Burkett discovered between sessions. “Prior to the second session, I had to run up and do an interview with Radio Le Mans. Being up in the booth with John [Hindhaugh] and being the first driver to be interviewed in Daytona’s new press area was a very cool experience. I then had to rush back down, get my gear on and jump into the car but I was able to grab P1 right away which was very satisfying. I was able to soak up everything I learned from the first session and apply it in the second one.”
“It’s great to be able to start the season at Daytona feeling so at home in the car as Danny and I both showed today,” explained Marc Miller. Getting everything out of the new Porsche is still a work in progress as the Holland, Michigan resident outlined, “We have four sessions this week to really get the car dialed in and it’s pretty exciting to do so with a championship winning team and another great teammate. Today we worked really well and got the car dialled in and overall we’re really happy with the way the car powers down. We are working to get it better in traffic, once you get into a dicey position it is not as stable and not as confidence-inspiring. But overall we could not be happier right now. I think we’ll have a good race car for Friday.”
For former open-wheel racer, Burkett the opening event is extremely significant particularly from a commercial perspective.. “Our partner, ONE Capital, is going to have a big presence at the event, and, as a partnership, we are going to make a lasting impression on the IMSA paddock. Daytona is the one race CJ will be attending, so Marc and I are extra pumped to start our year off with a win!”
ONE Capital Management’s Managing Director, Brad Barrett shares the team’s optimism about the season opener. “We are looking forward to the start of the season this weekend in Daytona. After the Roar test and today’s results, we enter this weekend anticipating a solid performance by everyone involved. The entire team is top tier and we’re incredibly pleased to partner with CJ Wilson Racing.”
Team Manager, Andris Laivins is hugely encouraged by what he has seen on track so far. “Wednesday turned into a rainy practice day, so we are super pleased to be as quick as we are. Hopefully that translates to a good dry setup for race day, because at this point we may not see a dry track until then. Regardless, it looks like the work we did at the shop after the Roar is paying off, and it’s great to see the team smiling.”
The opening round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, The BMW Performance 200, takes place at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, January 29th at 1:45pm EST. Watch the race live on www.imsa.com or on the dedicated IMSA app. You can also follow the race via IMSA Radio on www.radiolemans.com. For live updates on the progress of the #33 ONE Capital/Motor Oil Matters Porsche follow CJ Wilson Racing on Twitter and Instagram @cjwilsonracing.