The all-new #10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara DP-01 chassis of Wayne Taylor Racing wrapped up its first on-track test session at Carolina Motorsports Park on Wednesday as it continued preparations for the Daytona Prototype's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series debut March 29 at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Regular SunTrust co-drivers Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante and team owner Wayne Taylor took turns over the three days putting the latest creation from chassis manufacturer Dallara Automobili through its initial shakedown over the 2.279-mile, 14-turn road circuit located between Darlington and Columbia.
From all indications, the drivers, team owner and representatives from the chassis manufacturer feel preparations for the DP-01's debut at the Gainsco Grand Prix of Miami - round two on the 2008 Rolex Series schedule - are right on schedule for the all-new car, which first arrived at Wayne Taylor Racing headquarters in Indianapolis on February 5.
“I'm very happy because, basically, Max and Michael's first words out of the car were identical – both felt that the car has very good aero balance and both felt that the car gave confidence,” said Taylor, who has co-driven for and overseen the SunTrust Racing Rolex Series programme since joining the series in 2004.
“I did some laps this morning and I confirmed the same feedback. The shakedown and test of a new car is always full of uncertainty. You just don't know what you are going to get. But, after the last three days, I think we've got something pretty good that we can now work with.
“Obviously, we'll have to go through all the little teething things that you've got to go through with a new car. This isn't the best race track to be testing on because it's very abrasive and it's really a difficult track to work on balance issues. But it did the job for us right now. Overall, I think everybody is pretty upbeat because everything's been really good.”
“The test has been really a pleasure. It's been smooth. Incredibly smooth,” added Andrea Toso, Dallara's head of research and development who was on hand this week at Carolina Motorsports Park. “For a brand new car, it was all you can dream of.
“I'm surprised because there were so many unknowns. But it's gone simply great. The unknowns are many, many things. The oil system is new, the cooling system is new, cockpit controls, bars, pedals, the bodywork is new, the aero package is new, everything. So many things can go wrong when you shake a car down for the first time, but on the first day, after we ran a few laps, Max was driving the car with great confidence.
“The drivers are very excited, complimentary and enthusiastic. They are happy with the aero package. They say the car is very stable. It's a great result to end up the test with no real problems, really a great achievement. We'll see what the performance will be like at Homestead. I'm confident that they will finish the race strongly.”
Angelelli, Valiante and the Wayne Taylor Racing team next hit the track with the all-new #10 SunTrust Pontiac Dallara during the official opening of practice for the Gainsco Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead on March 27.