5 January 2014
Magnussen leads GT challenge on day two at Daytona
Jan Magnussen fastest for Corvette in the GT classes on day two of running at Daytona
Corvette Racing and SRT Viper are ready to square off for the first time in more than a decade in the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, which opens the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship later this month.
This weekend, both teams are testing in the Roar Before the Rolex 24 in preparation for that showdown.
Jan Magnussen led competitors in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in Saturday's session, running a lap of 1min 46.010secs in the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.
Antonio Garcia, the 2009 Rolex 24 winner who will co-drive that car along with Ryan Briscoe, cautions not to count out any of the competitors in GTLM.
“It's not only Corvette and Viper,” Garcia said. “I think everybody else will be there – with BMW, Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin. We can't forget about any of the factories here. We are all very strong, as we showed last year in the ALMS. I think the completion will be real hard this year in the TUDOR Championship.”
The #97 Aston Martin Vantage shared by Stefan Mucke, Darren Turner, Pedro Lamy, Richie Stanaway and Paul Dalla Lana was second, 1min 46.157secs, followed by the #4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Robin Liddell with a time of 1min 46.165secs.
“What we do in the Roar is very important towards the race,” Garcia said. “So far, we're running according to plan, to get as much information that we can to be prepared for the race.”
The Corvette and Viper teams last faced each other in the Rolex 24 in 2000, when an SRT Viper fielded by the French ORECA team took the overall victory by 30.879 seconds over Corvette – the closest finish in event history at that time.
Corvette Racing won overall in 2001, its last factory appearance in the event.
“It's going to be a great show,” said Jonathan Bomarito, who co-drives the #93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R with Kuno Wittmer and Rob Bell. “We're still trying to get used to the differences in the cars and classes. I've won here before, but this is the first time here for SRT as a team with the Viper GTS-R. I know this class will be a good battle again, and we've got as good a shot as anyone. The guys are doing a great job, and we're going to go for it.”
BMW Team RLL is competing at the Rolex 24 for the first time, with a two-car line-up including IndyCar regular and 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Graham Rahal – son of team owner and 1981 Rolex 24 winner Bobby Rahal.
“We need a little power to be competitive with the Corvettes, Vipers and Porsches, but we'll do OK,” Rahal said. “We're going to focus on the strengths of the car and improve it, and see if we can find some time in the infield to make up for it. It's been a busy couple of days, but it's nice to get back in the BMW Z4. For me, this test is vital, because I haven't driven a GT car here in years. The more time I can get behind the wheel the better.”
Jan Heylen led competitors in the GT Daytona (GTD) category, running 1min 48.228secs on the final lap of the afternoon session in the #58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America co-driven by Madison Snow and Marco Siefried.
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