Competitors in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 geared up for the Jan. 30-31 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona by unofficially besting track records in both the Daytona Prototype and GT classes in a three-day test.
The Roar Before The Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway saw Max Angelelli eclipse the track record with a lap of 1:40.466 (127.566 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara, while Leh Keen led GT competitors with a lap of 1:49.214 (117.348 mph) in the No. 41 Dempsey Racing/Team Seattle Mazda RX-8.
The official track records will be on the line in Rolex 24 At Daytona qualifying at 3:45 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 28, which will set the top 20 positions in each class for the race. Final qualifying will be held at 11 a.m. ET Friday. The 48th Rolex 24 At Daytona takes the green flag at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 30.
Defending Rolex 24 winner David Donohue set the track record in 2009 qualifying with a lap of 1:40.540 (127.472 mph). Sylvain Tremblay broke the GT mark last year by running 1:49.455 (117.100 mph) on his final lap of the 15-minute qualifying session.
Angelelli said winning the pole was not a priority for the SunTrust Racing team. The team won the 2005 event with Wayne Taylor and Emmanuel Collard co-driving with Angelelli. For 2010, "Max the Ax" will drive with Pedro Lamy, plus car owner Wayne Taylor and his son Ricky Taylor.
"I want to win the race - we want to win the race," Angelelli said. "That's the only thing that counts. We were very happy with this test. We were very happy with the car. Everything was perfect."
Second in Daytona Prototype testing was IZOD IndyCar Series star Scott Dixon in the No. 02 TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley, 1:40.588 (127.411 mph); followed by Michael Valiante with a lap of 1:41.182 (126.663 mph) in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley; Scott Pruett in the No. 01 TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley, 1:40.986 (126.909 mph); and Christophe Bouchut in the No. 55 Level 5 Motorsports/Supercar Life Racing BMW Riley, 1:41.121 (126.739 mph).
Martin Ragginger was second in GT with a lap of 1:49.627 (116.906 mph) in Alex Job Racing's No. 23 Foametix/Battery Tender Porsche GT3. He was followed by Spencer Pumpelly, 1:49.700 (116.828 mph) in the No. 71 TRG Porsche GT3; Jorg Bergmeister in the No. 67 TRG/Flying Lizard Motorsport Porsche GT3, 1:49.730 (116.796 mph); and Tremblay in SpeedSource's No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8, 1:49.770 (116.753 mph).
Practice for the Rolex 24 begins at 10 a.m. ET Thursday, Jan. 28. Friday's schedule includes the Fresh From Florida 200 for the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. SPEED's live coverage of the Rolex 24 will begin at 3 p.m. ET Saturday and last until 10 p.m., and will resume at 7 a.m. ET Sunday until 4 p.m.
News used with permission from Grand-Am.com.