Roar Before the Rolex 24: Day 3

SunTrust

A total of 117 cars participated in the three-day test. (Photo: Grand-Am)

The buildup for the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona – the most anticipated race in the history of American sports car racing – continued Sunday with the conclusion of the Roar Before the Rolex 24, a three-day test at Daytona International Speedway.

Competitors in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge enjoyed ideal weather conditions throughout the Roar, with Sunday’s sessions running incident-free. Teams now have until Thursday, Jan. 26, to fine tune for the 2012 season opener.

Max Angelelli ran the fastest lap of the three-day session on Sunday morning with a lap of 126.712 mph in the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette DP co-driven by Ricky Taylor and Ryan Briscoe. The new Corvette DPs took the top five places at the test, with the two Action Express cars following the SunTrust team.

“Speed is not really important in this test," Angelelli said. "We wanted to have everything ready to make sure it was prepared for the race. We did go out for one fast run. We trimmed the car down, took away downforce, put on new tires and then I was able to run an absolutely clean lap. It was like a qualifying lap – we put everything we had on the table. I’m not sure if anyone is going to go faster (in Rolex 24 qualifying), certainly not me. If it’s cooler, that time can be beaten, but if it’s hotter – no.”

Ferrari came away with the quickest laps in the GT sessions. Guy Cosmo led Sunday’s testing with a lap of 117.216 mph in the No. 03 Patron Tequila Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am. Toni Villander led the class at the test, running 117.321 mph on Saturday in the No. 63 Risi Competizione entry.

Billy Johnson turned the fastest lap of the weekend in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class on Sunday with a lap of 1:56.984 (109.533 mph) in the No. 61 Roush Performance Ford Mustang. Charles Espenlaub turned the second quickest lap of the day in the No. 48 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 (109.289 mph), followed by Bill Auberlen in the Turner Motorsport BMW M3 (109.187). All three times were posted in the Sunday’s morning session.

Jeff Mosing was fastest in Street Tuner, turning in a lap of 2:06.959 (100.945 mph) in the No. 56 RACE EPIC/Murillo Racing BMW 328i also in Sunday’s morning session. Cory Friedman, of Autometrics Motorsports, and BimmerWorld Racing’s Seth Thomas rounded out the top three with laps turned in the weekend’s first two days.

A total of 117 cars participated in the three-day Roar. Joining the 14 Daytona Prototypes in the Rolex Series were 46 cars from the GT class. The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge had a total of 57 cars, 35 in Grand Sport and 22 in Street Tuner. Additional cars are anticipated for the Rolex 24 weekend.

The 2012 Rolex Series season opens with the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Jan. 28-29. Opening practice and qualifying will be held on Thursday, Jan. 26. The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season-opening GRAND-AM 200 highlights the Friday schedule.

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