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.
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!
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