The Roush Performance #49 Boss 302R returned to the banking of Daytona with Rory Falgueras and Brian Ortiz sharing driving duties. Photos by: Wes Duenkel

The first weekend in January, there’s no better place for a racer than Daytona. Besides an excuse to escape the cold weather from elsewhere in the country, Grand-Am’s 2012 “Roar Before the 24″ test days January 6-8 were an excellent opportunity for teams to shake down new cars, try new setups, and blow out the cobwebs.

Like other Grand-Am weekends, the test days featured technical inspections and recorded lap times, though the latter were taken with a grain of salt. While teams wanted to find out what setup was quickest, everybody played their cards pretty close to their vests. Certain cars went fast—but only for part of a lap. Many teams then used their data acquisition systems to string these segments together for a total lap estimate, without completely tipping their hands to everyone else.

Rick Ware Racing tested a GT-class Mustang during the Roar Before the 24. The driver line-up includes Jeffery Earnhardt.

Why? Consistently quick times not only draw the attention of your competitors, but also the Grand-Am officials. Weight limits and intake restrictors may be introduced at any time if Grand-Am feels one type of car has a clear advantage. That said, it looks like the BMWs will again be the car to beat. A Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 led four of the six practice sessions. But don’t worry Mustang fans, as the bright spot was the #61 Roush Performance Boss 302R of Billy Johnson and Jack Roush, Jr., who were quickest the other two sessions.

With ten Mustangs in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS-class, and a GT-Class Mustang in the Rolex 24-hour, the Daytona races January 27-29 are shaping up nicely. Stay tuned for coverage!

Images and Captions

Jack Roush Jr. will again drive with Billy Johnson for the 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season. Here Roush exits the "International Horseshoe" just before sunset on Friday.

Series newcomers BTE Sport tested a fresh-appearing Boss 302R.

The #49 Roush Performance Mustang gallops into the setting sun at Daytona.

Crew and drivers gather at the garages to debrief from Friday's testing and prepare for the following day. Here the BTE Sport #17 Mustang cools off in the fleeting sunlight.

Rehagen Racing's #52 tangled with a Porsche 997 and hit the tire wall entering the West Horseshoe on Friday afternoon. The damage was mostly cosmetic, with a little left front suspension damage. The 2009 Series Championship team had the car back together (and running fast) during Saturday's test sessions.

 

Arizona-based Ford dealer Jim Click tested his very blue #2 Boss 302R with long-time co-driver Mike McGovern.

Never to take themselves too seriously, Rehagen Racing appropriately renamed their bruised race car after its encounter with a tire wall.

 

The Roush Performance #61 Mustang Boss 302R on the banking of NASCAR Turn Four.

The handsome #158 Boss 302R of Ian James and Roger Miller on the banking.

The #52 Rehagen Racing Mustang Boss 302R streaks past a Boy Scout encampment on Saturday afternoon. Dean Martin and Bob Michaelian were third quickest in the last session on Sunday.

 

Jade Buford threads his #51 Roush Performance Boss 302R through Daytona's "Bus Stop" chicane on Sunday morning with the #62 Mitchum Motorsports Camaro in hot pursuit. Buford and Shelby Blackstock will share the car for 2012.

 

Daytona Prototype veteran team Starworks Motorsport tested two Boss 302R Mustangs; the #22 and #7.