Race Weekend Central

Helio Castroneves, Colin Braun Top ROAR Day No. 1

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams took to Daytona International Speedway Friday (Jan. 20) for the first of three days of on-track activity as part of the ROAR Before the 24. After over three hours of testing, Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian’s Helio Castroneves was fastest with a lap at 134.608 mph.

Session No. 1

The opening 90-minute session saw a number of teams have issues. There were three red flag periods, but none of the three were serious.

The first came barely five minutes in when Andrew Wojteczko Autosport’s Nico Varrone stopped on course in West Bend. Later on, the second stoppage occurred when Riley Motorsports’ Felipe Fraga stopped his Ligier JS P320-Nissan in turn 7.

The final stoppage came with 22 minutes remaining when Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor stopped in the Le Mans chicane and required assistance to get back to the pits. There were a series of spins as well.

After 90 minutes of track time, the Meyer Shank Acura ARX-06 of Colin Braun was fastest overall with a lap at 134.010 mph. Braun’s lap was .141 seconds quicker than Porsche Penske Motorsports’ Matt Campbell in the best of the Porsche 963s. Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport’s Ricky Taylor was third fastest, then BMW M Team RLL’s Nick Yelloly. Mathieu Jaminet was fifth in the second Porsche.

LMP2 was topped by PR1 Mathaisen Motorsports debutant Alex Quinn with a lap at 129.237 mph, good enough for ninth overall. Quinn’s lap was .167 seconds quicker than Era Motorsport’s Oliver Jarvis. Tower Motorsports’ Scott McLaughlin was third, then Rick Ware Racing’s Devlin DeFrancesco. Proton Competition’s Gianmaria Bruni was fifth.

The LMP3 class was plagued by a series of spins during the session. While none of them were damaging, they did cost teams some time.

Performance Tech Motorsports’ Cameron Shields was fastest in class with a lap at 123.843 mph, 19th overall. Shields was nearly a third of a second faster than Sean Creech Motorsport’s Joao Barbosa. AWA’s Wayne Boyd was third fastest despite teammate Varrone’s early issues, followed by Matt Bell in the second AWA Duqueine M30-D08-Nissan. Andretti Autosport’s Dakota Dickerson was fifth.

In the GT class, Andy Lally in the GTD-class Aston Martin Vantage GT3 was fastest of all GT drivers with a lap at 119.771 mph, good for 26th overall. Lally’s lap was nearly four-tenths of a second quicker than the Racers Edge Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing’s Kyle Marcelli. Winward Racing’s Indy Dontje was third, then SunEnergy1 Racing’s Fabian Schiller. VasserSullivan’s Frankie Montecalvo was fifth.

The Heart of Racing’s Ross Gunn was fastest in GTD Pro with a lap at 119.704 mph, good for 27th overall and six-hundredths of a second slower than Lally. Gunn’s lap was one-sixth of a second faster than TeamTGM’s Owen Trinkler in a similar Aston Martin. VasserSullivan’s No. 14 Lexus for Jack Hawksworth was third, then Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia with a time set prior to Jordan Taylor’s issues. Turner Motorsport’s Bill Auberlen was fifth fastest.


Four teams did not set competitive times during the session. The most notable of the bunch was Action Express Racing’s Cadillac. Neither of the Wright Motorsports-run Porsches set times within a minute of the leaders. Finally, the Risi Competizione Ferrari outright did not participate in the session.

Session No. 2

In the late afternoon session, speeds continued to increase as teams began to get used to their new equipment. Unlike the first session, there were no red flags.

That said, there was a collision just past the halfway point of the session between Magnus Racing’s John Potter and AF Corse’s Luis Perez Companc in which both drivers spun. Perez Companc was determined by the IMSA officials to be responsible for the incident and had to serve a drive-through penalty.

This session was split in such a way that the first 15 minutes was dedicated to the LMP2, LMP3 and GTD classes, while the final 15 minutes was for the GTP and GTD Pro classes only. Normally, the final 15 minutes sees a lot of change at the top of the chart.

Not so much on Friday. WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque set a stout time 30 minutes into the session that held up until the closing minutes. Castroneves then set the best lap of the entire day with two minutes remaining.

Castroneves’ lap was .110 seconds quicker than Albuquerque. Cadillac Racing’s Scott Dixon was third fastest, followed by Porsche Penske Motorsports’ Michael Christensen. Earl Bamber in the second Chip Ganassi-run Cadillac was fifth.

TDS Racing’s Mikkel Jensen was quickest in LMP2 with a lap at 129.809 mph, 10th overall. Jensen was more than six-tenths of a second faster than AF Corse’s Matthieu Vaxiviere. PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Ben Keating was third, then Ryan Dalziel and McLaughlin.

Andretti Autosport’s Gabby Chaves was on top in LMP3 with a lap at 124.517 mph, 20th overall. Chaves’ lap was .449 seconds faster than Barbosa, while Fraga was third. FastMD Racing’s Yu Kanamaru was fourth, then Varrone.

Schiller was on top in GTD (and GT combined) with a lap at 119.753 mph, good for 29th overall. His lap was .076 seconds faster than VasserSullivan’s Parker Thompson. Magnus Racing’s Nicki Thiim was third fastest before Potter ran into trouble. Winward Racing’s Russell Ward was fourth, while Perez Companc was fifth.

VasserSullivan’s Ben Barnicoat was fastest in GTD Pro with a lap at 119.731 mph, two-hundredths of a second slower than Schiller in 30th overall. His lap was more than a half-second faster than The Heart of Racing’s Alex Riberas. Iron Lynx’s Mirko Bortolotti was third fastest, then WeatherTech Racing’s Maro Engel. Roman DeAngelis in the second Heart of Racing Aston Martin was fifth.


Saturday has three on-track sessions for WeatherTech teams. The first one is scheduled for 90 minutes at 11:15 a.m. ET. A 60-minute session follows in the afternoon. The day is capped off with a two-hour night session with teams having the option to use softer rubber.

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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