The competitors set to participate in the Rolex 24 at Daytona took part in three days of official testing sessions this weekend in preparation for the 57th running of the race (26-27 January). The Mazda DPis fielded by Mazda Team Joest clocked the top two times.
The equivalent of Test Day for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Roar Before the Rolex 24 is official testing at the Daytona circuit two weeks before the race to allow teams to prepare for the main event. It's also an opportunity to show off the potential of their car(s) and drivers. This weekend, Mazda Team Joest came out on top thanks to the #77 Mazda DPi shared by Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nunez, Timo Bernhard and René Rast with the fastest time (1:33.398), even setting a track record. Just behind was the #55 Mazda DPi driven by Bomarito-Tincknell-Pla (1:33.423) then Acura Team Penske's #7 Acura DPi trailing by eight-tenths of a second.
Fernando Alonso, who competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona last year, did his first laps at the wheel of the #10 Cadillac DPi entered by Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. He will share the car with Ranger van der Zande, Jordan Taylor and another driver who represents TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC), Kamui Kobayashi. Alonso clocked the sixth fastest time (1:34.431). Juan Pablo Montoya and Rubens Barrichello, also former Formula 1 drivers, took part in the Roar Before the Rolex 24 as well, with the Colombian clocking the seventh fastest time at the wheel of the #6 Acura DPi fielded by Acura Team Penske, and the Brazilian the ninth time with JDC-Miller Motorsport's #85 Cadillac DPi.
In the LMP2 class, French driver Gabriel Aubry (Jackie Chan DC Racing driver at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans) placed the #52 ORECA LMP2 fielded by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports at the head of the pack. He will share the French prototype with Matt McMurry and Mark Kvamme. The second and third spots were claimed by the #81 and #18 ORECA LMP2s entered by American team DragonSpeed. One of the #81's drivers is Nicolas Lapierre, winner in the class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Signatech Alpine Matmut.
Corvette Racing finished first in the GTLM class (the equivalent of LMGTE Pro at the 24 Hours of Le Mans). The #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R driven by Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller scored the fastest time (1:42.651), followed by the #67 Ford GT shared by Briscoe-Westbrook-Dixon (1:42.779) and the #66 Ford GT of Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sébastien Bourdais (1:42.898).
The competitors entered in the 57th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona will hit the track again on Thursday 24 January for the free practice session. The start of the race will be given Saturday 26 January at 14:00 local time in Florida.
PHOTO (Copyright - IMSA): The #77 Mazda DPi fielded by Mazda Team Joest scored the fastest time at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 ahead of the 57th running of the race in Daytona.