EVENT PREVIEW: ROLEX 24 2017
Round one of the 2017 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge is upon us. The opening round, as usual, will take place on the afternoon of Friday, January, 26 and will act as the curtain-raiser to the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
For 2017, the race will be a four hour test of endurance for both cars as and their two driver line-ups:
Marc Miller, #33 Porsche of Fresno Cayman:
This is the season opener for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. We race tomorrow and we are going to get a lot of track time today with four practices leading up to late afternoon/evening qualifying and then a practice tomorrow morning before the race. So there are a lot of opportunities for us to find a lot of gains but there are also a lot of opportunities to make mistakes. Our ultimate goal is to be methodical about we approach these sessions and just keep our eyes focussed on having a car that will be great over a four hour run, long stints, potentially a lot of cautions and then just keep planning towards that four hour race rather than leading practice in a twenty minute session.
Till Bechtolsheimer, #33 Porsche of Fresno Cayman:
Looking forward to being at a track where I’ve had a go before, having been at the Roar. It feels like I’m not being thrown in at the deepend quite as much. I’m hopefully going to be able to capitalize on that and make for a good qualifying today. In terms of where I want to end up in qualifying it’s hard to know. It’s hard to tell not having seen the times of the other new teams and the other new manufacturers and the new drivers. “I don’t know” is the answer. But hopefully, it will be good.
Damien Faulkner, #35 Winward Racing/Techemet LP Cayman:
For the #35, we just want a solid day to be honest, we had a great test at the Roar and we just had a little mishap at the end where my teammate spun at met the wall. Today, we just want to get out there, there’s a lot of running, four sessions before qualifying and then straight into qualifying without even time to think. We just want a solid day, it doesn’t matter where we qualify, we just want to work on the car a little bit and have a great balanced car with no mishaps.
Russell Ward, #35 Winward Racing/Techemet LP Cayman:
You know I’m not going to hold my hopes too high and expect too much but I’m here to learn and develop as a driver, I think Damien will help a lot with that but I’m just excited to get out there, see what it feels like and regain some of that confidence we lost at the Roar. Staring the race would be acceptable. I’m looking for something in the Top 10, if I can qualify in the Top 10 then I’ll be happy.
CJ Wilson, Team Owner, CJ Wilson Racing:
Daytona represents a huge opportunity to start the year off on a great path and with so many cars registered this year, it looks like the racing will be tight and more packed than ever. Seeing McLaren, Porsche, Ford, Aston all duke it out in what we hope to be nearly 2 dozen car fields will be spectacular for the fans and the racers. I have to remember to set my DVR for the races because the battles we had with the Ford and Porsche guys were pretty legendary last year and all the teams look to be hungry to compete and wrestle away the title from Multimatic’s success in 2016. Having Marc and Till together is going to be a strong pairing as well as having Damien and Russell together in the #35 car. They’re really integrating into the team well and the Roar test went well despite the crazy weather swings.