Like every year, the 24 Hours of Daytona marks the start of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. But before facing this myth, two Acura ARX-06s, ten ORECA 07s, nine LMP3s powered by ORECA Technology and four Ferrari 296 GT3s assembled in the Var workshops took part in the Roar before Rolex 24, the last rehearsal before the double clocked event scheduled for January 28 and 29.
Prior to qualifying, practice sessions saw the Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06 shine in the GTP class. By dominating five of the seven sessions on the schedule, the 2022 Champions were clearly the favorites. But the other ORECA-based Acura ARX- 06 owned by Wayne Taylor Racing was not to be outdone, posting three second-fastest times and a third-fastest time.
After a particularly lively qualifying session, led by Ricky Taylor in the #10 car, it was Tom Blomqvist who finally dominated the proceedings with a record-breaking best lap of 1:34.031.
With two minutes remaining in the session, the British driver fought like hell to claim the first pole position of the LMDh era, even though he was in seventh place and had just had his tires changed. Wayne Taylor’s #10 Acura ARX-06 preferred to save a set of tires and started third. One thing is for sure, both teams will be looking for a third consecutive win for Acura at Daytona.
In LMP2, the session was also lively, with the #8 Tower Motorsports ORECA and the #55 Proton Racing ORECA both crashing out of the race with just under five minutes remaining.
Ben Keating was as comfortable as ever on the Florida track, setting his fourth Daytona pole in 1:40.541. The two #35 and #11 TDS Racing ORECA 07s were second and third. Next up were AF Corse, Crowdstrike Racing by APR, Rick Ware Racing, High Class Racing, Era Motorsport, Tower Motorsport and Proton Competition.
For the Ferraris in the GTD Pro class, the flamboyant Risi Competizione 296 GT3 will start from ninth position with a best time of 1:49.495. In the GT class, Cetilar Racing will start from ninth position, while the 296 GT3s of AF Corse and Triarsi Competizione will start from seventeenth and twenty-second on the grid.
The teams now have a week to analyze the data and further improve their pace in preparation for the start of the 24 Hours of Daytona on Saturday, January 28 at 7:40 p.m. (UTC+1).
“The 24 Hours of Daytona is the first ever GTP class competition with four major manufacturers: Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche. It is a great satisfaction for us that Acura got this pole position with the MSR team and the third place of the WTR. It is a great reward for the hard work of all the HDP and ORECA teams. We are looking forward to this first race which promises to be rich in sensations and we hope to concretize all these months of work by a first great performance!” Hugues de Chaunac, President of the ORECA Group