Monday, May 23

Front-row start for Cadillac in 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona

Sunday, Jan 23 357
Front-row start for Cadillac in 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona Team Chevy Photo
Five Cadillac DPi-V.R entries, led by front-row starter JDC-Miller Motorsports, will take the green flag Jan. 29 in the 60th anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona.
 
Richard Westbrook and Tristan Vautier co-drove the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R to second place in the 100-minute qualifying race on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course that set the 61-car starting field.
 
“I can only drive to what you give me, and you gave me something good,” Westbrook said to JDC-Miller MotorSports managing partner John Church.
 
Light contact with the front-running No. 60 DPi driven by Ricky Taylor on the white flag lap negated Westbrook’s challenge for the victory over his former teammate.
 
“This was good practice because the first stint of the race is going to be similar – sunny but cold – and our car is performing well,” Westbrook said. “We’ll keep working hard and getting to where we want. There’s more to come.”
 
Cadillac has won the season-opening race four of the five years of the current iteration of the top Prototype category.
 
The No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R, driven by seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and Kamui Kobayashi, will start third. The entry was runner-up in the 2021 twice-around-the-clock race.
 
The Nos. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R and No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi-V.R, both campaigned by Chip Ganassi Racing, will share Row 3. The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R – the 2021 class team champion -- will start seventh.
 
Cadillac Racing results with 24-hour race starting position and best lap time:
 
  • No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R (JDC-Miller MotorSports)
Tristan Vautier, Richard Westbrook, Loic Duval, Ben Keating
Starting: 2nd … Best lap time: 1:34.934
Tristan Vautier: “It was a good way to get into our 24 and happy to be starting on the front row. My stint was good. I had a good start from the front and then it was just about managing the cars in traffic and manage the tires as well. It was very tricky with all those cars on track. Richard (Westbrook) gave it a good go there at the end. It didn’t work out but went for it. We’re very happy to be starting the 24 on the front row.”
Richard Westbrook: “I’m on a steep learning curve. I’ve come from GTs for the last four years, though I’ve done DPs before, and I’m on a fast track to where I need to be. Today was all about learning what I can get away with and what I can’t in traffic, learning about the tires on my stint. I think I got a lot of info from that. I don’t think it could have gone better. Battling with Ricky (Taylor for the lead), my former teammate, I enjoyed every minute. We had good pace and the setup of the car was really good. There’s more to come.”
 
  • No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R (Action Express Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
Starting: 3rd … Best lap time: 1:34.831
Jimmie Johnson: "We have a little work to do with the balance of the car, but more laps for me, more laps together as a group, great strategy to finish third, so good day. Looking forward to getting more laps later in the week, taking the data from this race to learn more and then go racing.”
Kamui Kobayashi: "I think starting P3 for the 24-hour is good. It really doesn’t mean anything in a 24-hour race. But obviously, it’s where we will start. I think this was a good moment to study for the 24-hour. I think we need to work on it (the car) a little bit more and we’ll see where we are at the end. But I think, so far, we’re in good shape.”
 
  • No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R (Chip Ganassi Racing)
Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Alex Palou
Starting: 5th … Best lap time: 1:38.734
Sebastien Bourdais: “Not the start of the season we wanted. Seemed like we had a pretty fast car compared to the opposition. We made up quite a bit of ground on the leaders through the last two stints and Renger had a very strong first stint, especially at the start. We are going to analyze what happened during that pit speed violation and try to refine the car and make it even better for the 24 and go from there.”
 
  • No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi-V.R (Chip Ganassi Racing)
Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Marcus Ericsson, Kevin Magnussen
Starting: 6th … Best lap time: 1:34.628
Earl Bamber: “The car was good. We had two clean stints and did some fuel saving but just couldn’t recover from the pit road penalty.”
 
  • No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R (Action Express Racing)
Pipo Derani, Tristan Nunez, Mike Conway
Starting: 7th … Best lap time: 1:34.949
Tristan Nunez: "It was definitely scrappy, to say the least. It was good to get this first race out of the way. It was a good dress rehearsal, to do some live race pit stops, and to get some laps under my belt at race pace. I feel comfortable going into the 24 and that’s what really counts. A lot can happen in 24 hours. I’m looking forward to next week and the win.”
Pipo Derani: “We had a good race But, unfortunately, a call made early on prevented us from making it to the end on fuel. We gambled. We tried to go for the win. Unfortunately, a yellow [flag] never came and we had to pit one last time. It was good prep for the 24. It’s good to get the season going and, in a few days, we’ll be back here for the big one.”
NBC will kick off coverage of the Rolex 24 At Daytona at 1:30 p.m. ET Jan. 29.
 
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