Fernando Alonso offered a terse one-word answer of ‘No’ to a reporter during the early stages of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Asked about the Balance of Performance settings applied to the Cadillac DPi-V.R model by IMSA, the Spaniard said his Wayne Taylor Racing entry, along with the other Cadillacs in the field, surrendered vital top speed to their rivals each lap on the long sprints between Daytona’s corners.
The disadvantage would have been a crippling liability for WTR and its main Cadillac protagonists at Action Express Racing if the race stayed dry for 24 hours, but with the arrival of rain, the tables quickly turned in their favor.
Acura Team Penske’s ARX-05 DPis, quick during the cool overnight hours, were no match for WTR’s drivers — Jordan Taylor and Fernando Alonso, in particular — once the skies opened. From there on, it was an internecine battle for overall victory between the Cadillac camps, and from his perspective inside the winning WTR entry, Taylor credited a bold downforce choice — to do the unexpected — with the No. 10 DPi-V.R.
“When we saw the forecast we were kind of excited for the wet, knowing after qualifying that our pace wasn’t really there for the dry conditions,” he said. “Especially leaving the Bus Stop is where we lacked pace and that’s pretty much where you can pass on this track.
“So, we knew it was going to be a long race if that was the case, but our goal was to make it to sunrise when the rain came and stay on the lead lap until that point. And we were still as low-downforce as possible in the wet, where you saw Acura change to a high-downforce nose. Action Express did the same thing and we were able to pass Action on the straights. So I think we played our cards right in the rain, and playing the long game rather than trying to have the fastest car in the dry.”