A beautiful sunny day greeted the race cars for the first of the three-day Continental Tire Sports Car Festival Powered by Mazdaa Presenting the Rolex Sports Car Series. The day is half over before you can say that. But no worries.
All twenty-seven of the Rolex Sports Car series entries were on track Friday morning for their first practice, which included a split a combined hour long session, book-ended by thirty-minute sessions for each of the two classes – Daytona Prototypes and GT cars.
Of course I know that RYAN DAZIEL is from Scotland, not Canada, as I reported yesterday. What was I thinking?
Current points leaders SCOTT PRUETT No.01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley was the fastest DP for most of the time of the ten cars in the class. He co-drives with MEMO ROJAS. Pruett’s fastest lap was 1:21.836. All ten DP’s were faster than the 17 GT cars. MIKE HEDLUND & JOHANNES van OVERBEEK/No.03 Extreme Motorsports Ferrari 458 were fastest in that group, turning a 1:27.721.
The order for the DP class second through tenth was: No.2 Starworks Motorsports Ford Riley; No.99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP; No.90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP; No.7 Starworks Ford Riley; No.8 Starworks Ford Riley; No.5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP; No.60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley; No.10 SunTrust Racing Corvette DP; and No.9 Action Express Corvette DP.
In the GT class, second through fifth were OLIVIER BERETTA and ALLESSANDRO BALZAN/No.63 Ferrari 458; BILL AUBERLEN, PAUL DALLA LANA, and BILLY JOHNSON/No.94 Turner Motorsports BMW M3.
Auberlen and Dalla Lana are among several GRAND-AM double-duty drivers this weekend. They were fastest in the first practice for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, driving No.96 Turner Motorsports BMW M3 in the GS Class. Their best time was 1:35.230.
The team of GARETH NIXON and DAVID THILENIUS/No.76 Compass Honda Civic Si were the fastest in the ST class of the CTSCC group.
Fifty-eight of the original 63 CTSCC entries were on track.
Lots of prep work goes into making the car track-ready, and one of the less publicized tasks is installing the windshield tear-off sheets. I watched the process Thursday for the ‘Off with the old and on with the new’ routine. The car was No.63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458. Sometimes it was a two-man job.
The windshield had to be properly cleaned and then sprayed to provide a wet surface for adherence, the tear sheet carefully applied, precisely cut to fit, and more spraying. Then the exacting task of fitting the sheet to the windshield, which involved a razor-sharp cutting edge, a squeegie-device and a heat gun.