Daytona International Speedway, the weekend of January 9th-11th, 2015 was the venue for the annual test before the big event in just two weeks before the 24 Hours of Daytona. The annual classic traditionally kicks of the Endurance Racing season in North America except usually there is a three week gap between the test and race weekends. Given that the Corvette Racing team is based in New Hudson, MI, an ice storm was being predicted for their route home on Sunday on Monday. Rain was forecast and duly arrived Sunday morning at the track.
The Friday session started cold at 45-degrees and overcast with conditions expected to warm up over the following 2 days. The GTLM Class of the Tudor United Sportscar Championship lost the factory Viper team at the end of the 2014 season but in compensation, an extra Ferrari 458 Italia (#51) and the #98 Aston Martin brought the field back up to 10 entrants. Corvette Racing decided to bring the C7R 001 chassis as the #4 car which was the one the team finished the season with in 2014, plus the 003 chassis as the #3 car which had competed all of 2014. The only visible change to the cars was the change from the painted silver side stripe becoming black-chrome.
The #98 Aston Martin topped the timings for the first session on Friday, with the #911 Porsche taking the second session. Saturday session three and the Aston was back on top, session four it was the turn of the #25 BMW to record the fastest time. Session five again went to Porsche but this time the #912, the final session (the night practice) went to the Aston Martin with Corvette C7.R #4 second and #3 Corvette third.
Sunday as mentioned earlier was wet and a lot of the teams decided to head home rather than add meaningless laps to their cars while greatly increasing the risks of damage.
Overall combined times for the session saw the #912 Porsche take the honors with its time of 1:44.316, the slowest car being the #25 BMW with a time of 1:45.058. IMSA will be pleased that all 10 cars were covered by less than 9/10ths of a second over the 3.56-mile course which utilizes both the high banking of Turns 1-2 and 3-4 plus the infield horseshoe loop and the bus stop chicane on the back straight.
In the Daytona Prototype Class, Corvette DPs took the top honors for the weekend with Jordan Taylor recording a 1:39.181 on Saturday in session three, while second place went to the defending Daytona 24 Hours champions the #5 Action Express Corvette DP.
Testing is just that and therefore it is extremely difficult to get a feel for what programs each of the cars are running in regards to tires, fuel loads, suspension settings, etc. during each of the sessions. We know that Corvette was running with full tanks for at least some of the sessions, and were trying several different rear wing angles. Corvette Racing also welcomed a new driver for the test who will be racing at both Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring in March, Frenchman, Simon Pagenaud.