Kyle Busch is set to make his Rolex 24 debut this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
Despite Busch being accustomed to driving a stock car, he spent a few days at the Daytona earlier this month with his AIM Vasser Sullivan teammates Jack Hawksworth, Parker Chase and Michael De Quesada testing for the Rolex 24.
During the “Roar Before the 24” he was able to get some track time in the Lexus RC F GT3 to get ready for the big show that takes the green flag on Jan. 25.
“Continuing to find good pace and the ability to keep our car running good time throughout a stint and not falling off too much,” Busch said on the last day of the test. “That’s where are work is now but other than that it’s been good. Certainty learning a bunch and getting a good feel for the track and traffic for things like that. Pretty confident with everything we’ve got going on. So far so good and little tiny things to change but those little things can be a big deal.”
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With a good chunk of the endurance event being while the sun is down, Busch had a chance to get seat time during night practice.
“It was good I was fine with it no problem at all,” Busch said. “There was plenty of lighting out there and they asked me if I wanted to have my headlights tuned a different way so I could see. What do you need the headlights for, there’s plenty of light? I raced local short tracks some of them dirt when I was growing up and there wasn’t very much light at those places. Seems my eyes still work okay.”
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Last time Busch got a taste of the sports car world was back in 2009 when he had a triple duty weekend after participating in the Brumos Porsche 250, Firecracker 250 and the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Last time around his seat time was very limited but this time around it’s a completely different experience.
“It’s been busy a lot of stuff happening and things going on,” Busch said. “You’ve got some pre-brief meetings, practices, driver swaps and things like that while we’re out there in the pit. Practicing that and getting ready for the race and then also the debriefs and things, there’s always something on the calendar it seems.”
Even though the Roar was a testing session for drivers to learn what their car brings to the table, it also continued to be a learning curve for Busch. Being in the GTD class it provided the experience of being one of the slower cars on the track. During the testing session, Busch was able to find out how things will playout in race condition.
“I was running around, and my team car was in front of me and he had just passed another GTD car and then it was my turn to pass the GTD car,” Busch said. “He got out of shape on one of the exits and I was going to look to the right, but I was told a DPi was coming. I had to stay in line and basically forfeit the whole next corner which led to the long straightway on the backstretch.
“I couldn’t catch him before the bus stop so I had to wait until Turn 1. Interesting moments like that are going to play out the whole time in the race where you have instances in which you’re faster than the guy in front of you and just barley because it’s a class car. You’re trying to pass that guy and you’re trying to make your timing when and where you want to make that move.
“You’ve got these other guys coming blowing your doors off on some of these corners and you basically have to forfeit and you can lose a lot of time in doing those things.”