Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi took their first laps in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi during Friday’s opening session of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Alonso, who made his sports car debut here last year with United Autosports in an LMP2 car, was happy with the car.
“Obviously, I have a lot more to learn, but it was nice to do my first couple of laps, and everything was OK,” he told RACER. “Obviously, the team has a lot of experience around here, and setup-wise etc, the car is quite ready, near the optimum. So there’s more time for ourselves to get acclimated to the car. So far, so good.”
Alonso ran six laps, with his best a 1m36.984s. Co-driver Jordan Taylor was second-fastest overall, running a 1m36.407s.
A year ago, Alonso finished 13th in the class, with the LMP2 teams struggling to meet the pace of the DPis.
“Last year we didn’t have a chance, but it was the first race of the year, the first endurance race for me,” Alonso said. “I thought we could have been in the top five if we got lucky in the race but obviously we had too many issues. This year is very different. We are in a more competitive environment, so there is a real chance to be fast. We’ll try to execute the race OK, no mistakes, and let’s see what the result is at the end.”
Kobayashi will be making his American sports car debut at the Rolex 24. He ran three laps in the session, with his best a 1m39.197s.
“I was quite impressed with this banking,” Kobayashi said. “This is the first time I jumped into the car, so it’s very difficult to express the feeling of how this car feels to the other one’s I’ve raced. I’ve enjoyed it a lot, especially the track, and the car’s feeling pretty good as well. It’s just going to be a matter of getting used to it. It’s amazing to be here.”