Monday, May 23

Cadillac Racing begins on-track prep for Rolex 24

Friday, Jan 21 563
Cadillac Racing begins on-track prep for Rolex 24 Cadillac Racing Photo
Drivers of the five Cadillac Racing DPi-V.R entries for the 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona took advantage of two test sessions totaling three hours to get a handle on car balance and refine setups on the changeable 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway course during the first day of the Roar Before the Rolex 24.
 
“It’s really good to be back in the Cadillac at Daytona. The Roar is an exciting weekend because it’s the first time you get back in the car and the first time you see your competitors,” said Kevin Magnussen, co-driving the No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi-V.R for Chip Ganassi Racing. “The big one is next week, so we’ll just try to build up to that, prepare as well as we can and get the car in line for the long race. So far, it’s a good first impression.”
 
The No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R campaigned by Chip Ganassi Racing led the Cadillac Racing contingent with a best lap of 1 minute, 34.746 seconds in the second session as ambient and track temperatures continued to fall.
 
Cadillac Racing practice results:
  • No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R (Chip Ganassi Racing)
Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Alex Palou
Best lap time: 1:34.712
"First practice at Daytona; it was a good day. I'm trying to get used to the track and it was nice to drive under the lights," said 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Alex Palou. "The car is fast and hopefully we can keep improving and get ready for next week."
  • No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi-V.R (Chip Ganassi Racing)
Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Marcus Ericsson, Kevin Magnussen
Best lap time: 1:34.746
"The car is running really good. We made some really good gains from the test we did in December to the first day of the Roar. Obviously, big expansion to two cars, so we're just building up to the race," Earl Bamber said. "We're pretty happy with the balance and we're looking forward to tomorrow."
  • No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R (JDC-Miller Motorsports)
Tristan Vautier, Richard Westbrook, Loic Duval, Ben Keating
Best lap time: 1:35.182
"Dirty track this morning and it was good tonight actually," Tristan Vautier said. "All the Cadillacs seem to be really close. We were not happy this morning, but I think it was more because of the track than anything else. The car felt better tonight. We have a few things to find to be with the top Cadillacs and we'll focus on that."
  • No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R (Action Express Racing)
Pipo Derani, Tristan Nunez, Mike Conway
Best lap time: 1:35.433
"The beginning of the year, with the track being so dirty, you learn your program and use the fact that you have some track time to try different things, and that's what we've been trying to do," said Derani, the reigning IMSA DPi Driver Champion. "With the fact that the track evolved so much with the weather conditions, for us it is just trying to get lap after lap and then come up with something good for qualifying. It's been going good between the two cars and I think we have accomplished a good part of the test program."
  • No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R (Action Express Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
Best lap time: 1:35.795
“I'm very thankful that we came and tested in December, just to get the drivers, especially myself, the reps and up to speed so the limited laps that you get here at the Roar don't spook you," said Jimmie Johnson, whose No. 48 team was runner-up in the 2021 race. "I feel very comfortable. We still have a little bit of work to do on the car, but from a new environment with Jose (Maria Lopez) coming on board, the teamwork between the (Nos.) 31 and 48, we're having a lot of fun and its a very good race team."
 
Three on-track sessions are scheduled for Jan. 22 leading up to the 100-minute qualifying race Jan. 23 that will determine the pole award and set the grid for the twice-around-the-clock race Jan. 29-30. Cadillac Racing, the reigning DPi Manufacturer Champion, will seek its fourth pole start since 2017.
 
Palou fitting in with ‘Champions Cadillac’
Alex Palou, the 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series champion, is proud to be part of the “Champions Cadillac” team for his Rolex 24 At Daytona debut. He’s co-driving the No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac V.R fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing with six-time INDYCAR champion Scott Dixon, four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais and 2016 IMSA Prototype Challenge champion Renger van der Zande. All are multiple winners of the season-opening endurance race.
 
“Just to have the chance to be in Daytona in the Cadillac DPi is amazing. Then, when you put together a team like this, it’s insane,” Palou said. “I can relate to all of them; I know all of them have won this race before. I know what we want to accomplish they know how to do it. It’s about learning and trying to get a nice watch in a couple of days.”
 
Cadillac Racing has won the overall Rolex 24 At Daytona title four times since the latest iteration of the Prototype class was instituted in 2017. Chip Ganassi Racing has won the race six times overall and two other times in class.
 
Of note
Wayne Taylor, whose Wayne Taylor Racing recorded overall Rolex 24 victories in 2017, 2019 and 2020 with Cadillac Racing, will be one of the grand marshals for the 60th edition of the race. ... Earl Bamber has always followed the career of fellow Kiwi Scott Dixon. Now they’re teammates for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in Cadillac DPi-V.Rs with Chip Ganassi Racing. “It’s kind of amazing to end up at Chip Ganassi Racing with Scott. For me, it’s something special to join the team and with Scott there as well.” … Bamber, a two-time winner at Le Mans, is seeking to claim the top prize at Daytona that has so far eluded him. Do you have a Rolex watch? “I have three; I’m just missing one from here.” … Chassis constructor Dallara celebrated its 50th anniversary Jan. 15. As with the Cadillac DPi-V.R, the Cadillac LMDh-V.R for 2023 competition will be a partnership between GM Design and Dallara. A new Cadillac engine package will work in conjunction with the LMDh common hybrid system. 
 
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