Weather is one of the story lines this weekend at Daytona International Speedway for the Grand-Am ‘Roar Before The Rolex 24 ‘ three-day test session. Florida is in the throes of an arctic air invasion the likes of which hasn’t been seen in awhile. Try twenty years. All three days have rain expected and lows below freezing, but Saturday won’t get above 38 degrees F/3 C as a high. For that special day, the local weather folks are predicting ice pellets, sleet and possibly snow flakes…for the longest track day, going into the evening for Night Practice.
I haven’t seen the 2010 Grand-Am Rolex Series rule book so I don’t know if tire warmers are allowed. No doubt the drivers in the closed cars will be glad to have a roof over their heads this weekend.
The latest entry list for the Roar has 14 Daytona Prototypes and 26 GT cars. Ten of the DP’s are Riley chassis car, with the two Dallaras, and one each for Coyote and Lola. The DP engine manufacturers are: BMW-five; Chevrolet-one; Ford-five; Porsche-three.
Two DP engine manufacturers will be among the missing this season. The 2009 champion GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing switched from Pontiac to Chevrolet; and the two cars of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will now run BMW rather than Lexus. Both teams will continue with Riley chassis. Also missing will be the Penske Racing team, which ran the Porsche/Riley combo.
In the production-based GT class, the manufacturers include BMW-two; Camaro-two; Corvette-one; Mazda-seven; Pontiac-two; and twelve Porsches.
Friday’s schedule calls for two practice sessions for the Rolex Series – one morning and one afternoon; and two for the Continental Tire Challenge Series. It will be retail hours for the cars Friday, 9 am – 5:15 pm.