Preparations have officially begun for the 51st anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 26-27. Twenty Rolex Series cars, including eight Daytona Prototypes and 12 GT class entries, kicked off the two-day test session on Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway.
The Daytona Prototype teams in attendance included the defending Rolex 24 champions Michael Shank Racing, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, Action Express Racing, Wayne Taylor Racing, Team Sahlen and Spirit of Daytona.
Among the GT class teams were defending Rolex 24 class winners Magnus Racing, AIM Autosport Team FXDD with Ferrari, Stevenson Motorsports, Brumos Racing, TRG, Marsh Racing, Alex Job Racing, Park Place Motorsports and Racers Edge Motorsports.
In addition, an American Le Mans Series P2 fielded by Conquest Racing (RIGHT) was turning test laps with Martin Plowman at the wheel. The P2 car's laps will provide data as an initial step in evaluating the potential class structure of a unified series in 2014.
On the speed charts, Alex Gurney led the morning session in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette with an unofficial lap of 125.985mph. Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette led the second session in the early afternoon with an unofficial lap of 127.063mph. In the third and final session in the late afternoon, Joao Barbosa put the No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette on top again with a lap of 126.473.
Fastest of the entire day in the GT class was Frank Biela in the No. 52 Audi of America Audi R8 with an unofficial lap of 117.629mph.
Taylor brothers sharing
Ricky and Jordan Taylor are shaking down their new 2013 Rolex Sports Car Series rides for the first time during this week's test session. Jordan Taylor, who is a two-time GT class winner in the Rolex Series with Autohaus Motorsports, has joined his father's team Wayne Taylor Racing as the new co-driver on the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette with Max Angelelli. He replaces his brother Ricky, who after three successful seasons at Wayne Taylor Racing recently signed to co-drive the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Chevrolet Corvette.
“Just hearing him on the radio is weird,” Jordan Taylor said of working for his father Wayne. “Coming into the pit box and seeing him there . . . I'm use to seeing him at night at dinner but not at the track listening to my debrief. It's cool to have him there and there's no better person to have than my dad to ask for advice.”
In his three seasons at Wayne Taylor Racing, Ricky Taylor earned 10 poles and seven Daytona Prototype victories driving with Angelelli. He's thankful for the pre-Rolex 24 test sessions as he forms chemistry with the Sprint of Daytona team.
“It's nice to come here in November and get to know the team and get in the car and get up to speed and really make yourself comfortable for the race,” Ricky Taylor said. “The guys have been awesome, just really welcoming and making everything easy for me. I had a couple of laps (in the morning session) there and getting up to speed.
���It's weird looking at the 10 car out there but it's such a cool opportunity for me. I can't wait to get going. (Spirit of Daytona) was so strong last year. I'm just really looking forward to this year.”
Sports car testing on the 3.56-mile road course concludes on Wednesday. A section of the Oldfield Grandstands will be open free to the public with access available through the lobby of the Daytona International Speedway ticket office.