Nissan happy with Daytona test

#22 Nissan in Daytona pits
#22 Nissan in Daytona pits

The ESM team kicked off its second season with Nissan power at the Roar before the 24 test – the final run before this year’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The No. 2 and No. 22 Nissan-powered Onroak machines completed 333 laps over the three-day test at Daytona International Speedway, which included a night practice and a qualifying session to determine pit positions and garage locations for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Teams will return to Daytona on January 25 when the first practice sessions for the annual IMSA season opener are run.

The IMSA DPi competition reaches new heights in 2018 with a total of 20 cars entered for this year’s Daytona event.

The Nissan-powered ESM team debuted at last year’s Rolex 24, leading the race before being taken out of content by contact with a lapped car. The team went on to score two victories in 2017 – winning at Road America and the season-closing Petit Le Mans.

The ESM entries are powered by Nissan’s 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 engine – based on the championship-winning power-plant used in the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.

"It looks like it's going to be intensely competitive here in WeatherTech," Scott Sharp said.

"It's been very cold, probably unlike what it will be here in a few weeks for the race, so we're trying not to let ourselves get too far out of the window.

"We've recently updated all of our electronics and are working out some small teething gremlins with those. All of that has kept us quite busy, but I'm confident we'll come back with both guns loaded for the race."

ESM enter the 2018 season with the same driver combinations – Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel aboard the No. 2 entry and Pipo Derani and Johannes van Overbeek in the No. 22.

2016 FIA WEC P2 champion Nicolas Lapierre will drive the No. 22 entry for the endurance races while Nissan welcomes back Olivier Pla to the No. 2 car. Pla previously drove for Nissan in 2015 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Blancpain GT Series.

"It's a great opportunity for me, I love coming here and racing here in America," Pla said.

"Very good team, good car, and I think we have a lot of expectations.

"The competition has never been so hard and the level so high, it will be interesting I think. But we will see what we can do! We have a good package so we will try to extract our best."

The Rolex 24 Hour of Daytona is scheduled for January 27-28 with teams greeting the green flag at 2:40 pm.

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