Chip Ganassi Racing No.1 BMW Riley DP
Chip Ganassi Racing No.1 BMW Riley DP. Photo by Lynne Huntting
JOEY HAND of California was the fastest Grand-Am Rolex Series driver in the first practice session of the Daytona Test Days Friday morning. He turned a 1:41.0431/126.837 mph on the twelfth of his 32 laps in the car, No.01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley Daytona Prototype. His co-drivers are 2010 Rolex Series champions, SCOTT PRUETT and MEMO ROJAS, and new Ganassi IndyCar driver, GRAHAM RAHAL.

BORIS SAID of CA was the fastest Rolex Series GT driver, running sixteenth OA, with a lap of 1:50.377/116.111 mph in No.94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3. His co-drivers are BILL AUBERLEN, PAUL DALLA LANA and MATT PLUMB.

The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16 is having its annual three-day test session, Roar Before The 24, at Daytona International Speedway, as a run up to the 49th running of the oldest American 24 hour endurance race. The weather was bright and sunny and really cold. It warmed up as the day went on. The torrential Wednesday night rain is just a memory.

No.10 Sun Trust Racing Chevrolet Dallara Daytona Prototype
No.10 Sun Trust Racing Chevrolet Dallara Daytona Prototype. Photo by Lynne Huntting
Three cars had problems of sorts during the first session. MAX ANGELELLI/No.10 Sun Trust Racing Chevrolet Dallara DP was brought in from the track to complete paper work. Doran Racing’s No.77 Ford Dallara DP came in with right front suspension problems.

RICHARD WESTBROOK of England suffered a right rear tire puncture, lost air for a lap, and brought the No.95 Level 5 Motorsports BMW Riley DP in to avoid any damage to the brand new bodywork. Neither the team nor the Grand-Am officials have yet to determine what caused the puncture.

The Level 5 sister car, No.55 BMW Riley DP only ran three laps, due to transmission problems.

The Spirit of Daytona Racing No.90 Chevrolet Coyote had no problems, but people kept asking as the car was in the garage a long time during the session. The team started the one hour 45-minute session with the race gearbox in the car. It then pitted to swap transmissions from the race to test gear.

Eight cars, one DP and seven GT cars, did not get on track at all.

The car count is now 17 Daytona Prototypes and 31 GT cars, with the addition of No.32 PR1 Motorsports BMW M6 GT.

Ganassi Strategist Mike Hull, Scott Swim and Chris Neville
Ganassi Strategist Mike Hull, Scott Swim and Chris Neville. Photo by Lynne Huntting

SPEED TV will be covering the Rolex 24 live, but not through the night. Details TBA. On site for the test are the on-camera walkers and talkers, LEIGH DIFFEY, CALVIN FISH, CHRIS NEVILLE, DORSEY SCHROEDER, and BRIAN TILL. Behind the scenes staff include GREG OLDHAM, RICK RATAJCZAK, SCOTT SWIM, and spotter CHUCK DRESSING. The Rolex 24 coverage will have all these folks plus JUSTIN BELL, DAVID HOBBS, and BOB VARSHA.

The second and final Friday practice is in the afternoon. Stay tuned for remarks, insights and feedback on the new track surface. Everyone has an opinion.