Race Weekend Central

Jordan Taylor, Wayne Taylor Racing Pace Roar Before the 24

Last weekend, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) held their annual Roar Before the 24, a three-day test session for teams in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ahead of the season openers for both series.  The status quo appears to have been upheld in TUSC, but just barely.
Overall, the best lap of the weekend was set by Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta-sponsored Chevrolet Corvette DP Evo with a lap of 1:39.181 (129.218 mph).  The lap is nearly a full second off of last year’s overall pole time of 1:38.270, but still very quick.  A little more than a tenth of a second back was the No. 5 Action Express Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP Evo shared by Joao Barbosa, Sebastien Bourdais and Christian Fittipaldi in second, while the new Ligier JS P2 fielded by Michael Shank Racing with AJ Allmendinger at the wheel was third.  Both Chip Ganassi-owned Ford EcoBoost Riley DPG3’s were quick as well, posting the top times on Friday and ending up fourth and fifth overall.
Taylor’s overall fast time of the meet occurred in a session on Saturday morning that was cut short due to a spectacular crash involving the Fifty-Plus Racing BMW-powered Riley DPG3.  DeFoor spun in the tri-oval after a failure on the car, caught air and flipped.  You can read more about the crash on Frontstretch here.  DeFoor was uninjured, but Fifty-Plus Racing now must thrash to have their No. 50 ready in ten days.  Saturday also saw the DeltaWing crash in the infield, ending their weekend after putting up a series of competitive times with their lineup of Gabby Chaves, Katherine Legge, Andy Meyrick and former Ganassi driver Memo Rojas.
In Prototype Challenge, core Autosport’s No. 54 shared by team owner Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, James Gue and Mark Wilkins was fastest with a lap of 1:41.769 (125.932 mph).  RSR Racing’s No. 11 with Verzion IndyCar Series standout Jack Hawksworth along with Bruno Junqueira and Chris Cumming driving was just behind.  Starworks Motorsport’s No. 8 was third quickest.
Performance Tech Motorsports had a rather miserable Roar.  First, according to SportsCar365.com, full-time No. 1 driver David Ostella reportedly has quit the team, which would result in a scramble to put together a competitive lineup at the last minute.  Secondly, the team was the slowest of the 8 PC teams at the track.  Finally, the No. 38 crashed hard on Saturday, which resulted in the team leaving early in order to repair their car before ahead of the Rolex 24.  Only Jerome Mee (signed for the endurance races) and James French are currently confirmed for the race.
In GT-Le Mans, the Porsche 911 RSR’s for Porsche North America were once again at the top of the charts.  The defending champion No. 912 was fastest with a lap of 1:44.316 (122.857 mph), just a few tenths of a second off of the slowest PC cars, while the No. 911 was third.  Aston Martin Racing will be encouraged by the pace of their V8 Vantage, which ended up second fastest in class, just a tenth of a second off of the No. 912.  Last year, the team pulled out of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup after an uncompetitive showing at Daytona claiming that the rules were stilted against their car.
In GT-Daytona, Riley Motorsports’ two SRT Viper GT3-R’s topped the charts with former SRT Motorsports driver Marc Goossens being the only driver in the class to dip into the 1:46’s with a lap of 1:46.948 (119.834 mph).  The No. 93, which will compete in the four Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races only, was second.  Third fastest was the No. 58 Porsche 911 GT America fielded by Wright Motorsports with a Brumos Porsche paint scheme.
In addition, IMSA announced the official broadcast schedule for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Every minute of the race will be televised in some shape or form, either on television or on the internet.  The race telecast schedule is shown below.
2015 Rolex 24 Television Schedule
Time                            Network
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.             FOX
4 p.m. – 8 p.m.             FOX Sports 2
8 p.m. – 10 p.m.           FOX Sports 1
10 p.m. – 7 a.m.           IMSA.com^
7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.        FOX Sports 1
^ – Available via free online streaming.  Stream available for entire race outside of the United States

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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