Valiante Turns Fastest Lap In Final Day Of Testing In Roar Before The Rolex 24
Michael Valiante admitted that the focus of the "Roar Before the Rolex 24" at Daytona International Speedway was shaking down the team' brand-new No. 6 Ford/Riley and getting drivers from other forms of motorsports familiarized with the Daytona Prototype.
With that said, running the fastest lap of the three-day test was a bonus. Valiante posted a lap of 1 minute, 42.058 seconds/125.576 mph to pace the 17-car DP entry in the dress rehearsal for the 51st running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season opener for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series on Jan. 26-27.
"I feel everyone hasn’t shown everything they’ve got at this point, but I'm confident we’ll be strong when we come back for the Rolex 24," said Valiante, who will join Chris Cumming, Jorge Goncalves and Gustavo Yacaman in the No. 6.
Dane Cameron’s lap of 1:42.101/125.523 from Saturday stood up as the second-fastest time in the No. 42 Team Sahlen’s BMW/Riley co-driven by Wayne Nonnamaker, Simon Pagenaud and Bruno Junqueira.
AJ Allmendinger was third-fastest in the 2012-Daytona-winning No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford/Riley. He was joined at the test by John Pew, Marcos Ambrose and Justin Wilson. Ozz Negri – recovering from a bicycle accident in training – hopes to return to the team for the race.
Patrick Long led the GT class in his first drive in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3 to be co-driven by Patrick Lindsey, Jason Hart, Spencer Pumpelly and Daniel Graeff, running a lap of 1:48.569/118.045.
The Rolex 24 will mark the debut of the Rolex Series GX class, led at the test by Shane Lewis with a lap of 1:56.167/110.324 in the Napleton Racing No. 16 Porsche Cayman co-driven by David Donohue, Dr. Jim Norman and Nelson Canache.
Scott Maxwell was fastest in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge testing, running his fastest lap of 1:56.936/109.598 on Sunday morning in the No. 55 Aston Martin Vantage. Andrew Jordan was quickest in the Street Tuner sessions, running 2:06.642/101.199 in the No. 77 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si.
The 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona will be held on Jan. 26-27, with practice beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Live SPEED coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 26.