Walt’s Weekly – 01/31/2016

tudor_300Today was the end of the start of the new season for the IMSA Weather Tech SportsCar Championship with the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona.  Finally the Daytona International Speedway for the last 2 1/2 years remodel of the grandstands has been completed.  I will bring more information on this in a future article.  Amazing accomplishment consider one fact was that of all the steel produced in the United States, the speedway took 1% of it to build the new grandstand.

With the new Balance of Performance requirements and the new GT Le Mans and GT Daytona cars, the race was very close and exciting.  The qualifying on Thursday was a little wild as the Porsche GT Le Mans cars both qualified faster than the Prototypes.  The reason was ‘rain’ during the qualifying of the Prototypes.  Rain during the week during practice made it a suspension engineers nightmare as there was little info to base your setup upon, luckily not my job.

You got to see the newest team of all, the Ford GT cars make their debut into the series.  Unfortunately they had their problems, but if you thought all was going to be perfect, think again, especially your first race being one that last 24 hours.

Anyway in Prototype you saw the Scott Sharp team, Extreme Speed Motorsports bring their car from Europe and win the 24 hours.  Quite an accomplishment for any team as they have been racing in Europe.  Also this was the first overall win for Honda, as they powered their team.

In Prototype Challenge was another great story where this team started in the PC class in 2014, with 1 podium in 2014 and multiple podiums in 2015 and now winning in class the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona.

In GT Le Mans you saw a great fight to the end between Porsche and Corvette.  Corvette took 1st and 2nd while Porsche came in 3rd.  Porsche with their new race car this year had some minor issues that put them off the pace to be competitive during the race with one car and towards the end with the other car.  I am sure you will see a different situation at Sebring in March for the 12 hours of Sebring.

In GT Daytona you saw Porsche, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Audi and the Lamborgini Huracan compete against each other.  The Lamborgini Huracan almost took it all but at the end the Magnus Racing team and their Audi held off running out of gas to take the win, while the returning team Black Swan Racing with a Porsche coming in second place.  Watch the Black Swan Racing team as I for see great results from this team this year.

Next week is the 50th SUPERBOWL game.  This week starts the work for all the teams to prepare and rebuild their team and cars for the 12 hours of Sebring, Saturday March 19th.  So have a safe week!