DAYTONA BEACH (FNN SPORTS) – With an initial two-day Rolex 24 At DAYTONA test completed on Wednesday, teams immediately switched their collective focus to the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 testing on Jan. 5-7 at Daytona International Speedway.
The focus must be adjusted from past years. On the last day of the Roar, pit boxes and garage stalls for the 56th running of the Rolex 24 will be determined by a special qualifying session. Each IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class – Prototype, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona– will have a 15-minute qualifying session.
“As we’ve seen over the past several years, every second counts in the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, placing a premium on the location of a team’s pit box and garage,” said IMSA Vice President of Competition Simon Hodgson.
“This really adds a sense of urgency,” said reigning Prototype co-champion Ricky Taylor, part of a powerhouse Team Penske Racing/Acura DPi lineup in 2018. “Now there’s a chance to win something at the Roar … before, everyone would go home early. This is also going to be good for the fans who come out to watch.”
This past season, Ricky Taylor co-drove with his brother Jordan Taylor – for their father’s team, Wayne Taylor Racing. Jordan Taylor is back with his dad’s group, co-driving the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi with Renger van der Zande. To him, the special qualifying addition means one thing – recalibrate.
“I’m not sure how it’s all going to shake out at the Roar for us,” Jordan Taylor said. “The Roar has always been when we’ve tested a bunch of different items and running things to prepare for the race itself. We’ve never put a [competitive] package together for the Roar.”
This new wrinkle is complemented by another on the Roar Before the Rolex 24 schedule. On Jan. 6 (1:25 p.m. ET) the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series will make its Daytona International Speedway debut with a one-hour, 45-minute race.
Concurrent with the end of Rolex 24 testing on Wednesday – there were two WeatherTech Championship sessions – was a one-day test for IMSA’s popular production-based Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. That series’ season-opening 2018 race is also at DIS, the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge on Jan. 26.
Also, the popular Scout Days returns to the Roar Before the Rolex 24, as boy scouts and girls scouts camp for two nights (Jan. 5-6) in the DIS infield, with access to all Roar activities.
Tickets for the Roar Before the Rolex 24, Scout Days, the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, the 60th annual DAYTONA 500 and all other speedway events can be purchased online atwww.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.