USCC: Roar before the 24 Preview
This weekend, the 2014 racing season officially kicks off with the annual "Roar before the 24" test. The three day test serves as the main dress rehearsal before the opening round at the Daytona 24 Hours for the new United Sports Car Championship. Chevrolet is ready for a fresh new season of sports car racing in North America with a strong complement of Corvette Daytona Prototypes that will compete in the inaugural year of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Six Corvette DPs are set to compete this season at some of the continent’s top road courses.
The sports car landscape has changed significantly since Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli won in September at Lime Rock Park to clinch the Rolex Series’ DP driver’s championship. The Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series officially merged with DPs in the new top-level prototype class. In order to balance the cars in the prototype category, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) has made a number of technical adjustments to Daytona Prototype cars including new aerodynamics and brake systems, and additional horsepower from 2013.
“This is one of the most highly anticipated and exciting starts to a season of sports car racing in many years,” said Mark Kent, Director of Chevrolet Racing. “We are looking forward to another year of close racing in the prototype class as our strong lineup of teams compete to defend Chevrolet's Manufacturers Championship.”
Six Daytona Prototype entries from five teams will take to Daytona International Speedway for this week’s three-day test: Wayne Taylor Racing, Action Express Racing (with two Corvette DPs), GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and newcomer Marsh Racing – stepping up from running a GT Corvette to the Corvette DP. Those efforts will lead Chevrolet’s fight for additional victories and championships in the top level of North American sports car racing. Chevrolet ended Rolex Series competition with 20 Daytona Prototype victories – 16 by Corvette DPs since it debuted in 2011. The Bowtie brand also captured DP engine manufacturer championships in both 2012 and 2013.
“There are been a huge amount of work and cooperation between our teams, IMSA and our technical partners in advance of this season,” said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet TUDOR Championship Daytona Prototype Program Manager. “Headed into the Roar Before the 24, we feel like our DP teams are good positions to make their final preparations for the start of the season. As always, Daytona International Speedway presents a significant challenge given the track’s banking and high speeds. Given the new technical regulations and adjustments for 2014, reliability will take on added importance. That will be a key focal point for this year’s Roar.”
Apart from the Daytona Prototype class this weekend, Corvette will also be marking another new chapter for the brand in the form of the first public test outing of their new C7.R GTE spec racer.