“While I've only done it with three, not four drivers, three does seem normal,” Briscoe surmises. “It is busy. You're counting on yourself and both of your teammates being in top form; it's a lot of driving time. You need to do all the stuff, and still try and get rest out of the car. It does take its toll. It does wear you out.
“But having four drivers has its disadvantages, because there's an even greater compromise in setup or driver fit. It may not be all the time, but it's difficult to get everyone the same size. In our car, we don't have an insert [for the seat], so driver changes are simple.
“Ricky, Max and myself have done this before as a group. Continuity helps in this sort of racing. In lineups with more than three, maybe not everyone's happy with feedback. There's no reason a three-driver lineup can't work as long as they're fit on the day.”
For this year's Rolex 24, SunTrust is one of only three cars in the DP class with a projected three-driver lineup. The others are Action Express's No. 5 and the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing No. 99 – sister Corvette DPs to the SunTrust entry. Angelelli notes Wayne Taylor's availability as a backup driver if one of the three was to have any sort of issue that took them out of the seat. It's a luxury for a team to have a former Rolex 24 overall winner available on the pit box in the last resort.
Regardless of who's driving, Angelelli explains that a driver lineup that's willing to compromise makes things easier for the team as a whole in preparing for the event.
“When the compromise is not a problem, you can expect the success,” he says. “If compromise is a problem, the focus shifts to other goals – ‘I like the car that does this, or the seat to feel like that' – and the focus of winning becomes secondary rather than primary.”
Will compromise lead to more Rolex 24 success for SunTrust Racing in 2012? All will be revealed Jan. 28-29 on the tight turns and high banks of Daytona International Speedway...
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