Having conquered the world of stock car racing — clinching his second NASCAR Cup Series championship last November — Kyle Busch has a new world to conquer when he joins AIM Vasser Sullivan for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“Rowdy” turned his first laps in the No. 14 Lexus RC-F GT3 he co-drives with Jack Hawksworth, Parker Chase and Michael de Quesada during Friday’s opening Roar Before the Rolex 24 session.
“I was able to run some pretty decent times — at least that’s what the guys said, anyways,” Busch said.
Before he can began the learning process, though, Busch admits he has a great deal to unlearn.
“I’ve got my NASCAR driving techniques embedded in my brain, and I’ve got to get rid of those and get more accustomed to what this car can take,” Busch said. “The driving techniques are certainly a lot different between the two vehicles.”
Busch already knows how to go fast in either car. Slowing down, though, is very different.
“I’m used to our big, heavy stock cars, where you have to start the slow-down process way early and the braking zone is forever,” Busch explained. “By the time you turn in, you have to be off the brakes or otherwise the inside wheels will lock up and you’ll skid tires. You also have to take care of the brakes, because our Cup cars are so heavy and they’re steel. You can really overheat them and create a soft pedal.”
Stopping the Lexus requires a different style of driving — one that Busch enjoys.
“You can drive the snot out of these cars,” Busch said. “You can just throw it off in a corner as far as you feel you can get in there and stomp the pedal as far as your leg will allow you to do it. You figure out where the apex is and get through that. It’s a completely different technique in that aspect.
“I was definitely getting more comfortable and pushing it more and more. Now I’m ready for my next session, to fine-tune my marks a little bit more and get a little more finesse. Right now, it’s a little sloppy, but as I get more laps I feel it will get better.”
This will be Busch’s second sportscar race at Daytona. He joined Scott Speed at the Brumos Porsche 250 Grand Am race in 2009. Running in “1,000-degree heat” on July the Fourth weekend, the pair finished 10th in a Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley.
“I hope to be a bit faster this time around,” Busch said. “I want to have fun, but I didn’t come here to completely have fun. I want to win for Lexus, for AIM Vasser Sullivan Racing, and to put on a good show for the fans who show up, and for the NASCAR community as well. I hope we can keep on the track for the whole race, and have a shot at the end.”