Roar Before The Rolex 24 at Daytona
Roar Before The Rolex 24 at Daytona
No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R full-time co-drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande, joined by third and fourth drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Fernando Alonso, closed the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 Test Days Sunday by clocking the sixth-best lap among the 47-car field in a mock qualifying session used to determine race-weekend pit-road and garage locations.

Date: Jan. 4-6, 2019
Event: Roar Before the 24 Test Days (Round 0 of 10)
Series: Daytona Prototype international division of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (3.56-mile, 12-turn road course)
Fastest Overall: Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest DPi (1:33.398 at 137.212 mph – unofficial track record)
Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R Best Lap: 6th by Jordan Taylor (1:34.431 at 135.711 mph)

No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R full-time co-drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande, joined by third and fourth drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Fernando Alonso, closed the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 Test Days Sunday by clocking the sixth-best lap among the 47-car field in a mock qualifying session used to determine race-weekend pit-road and garage locations. They will return to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for real less than three weeks hence for the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening endurance marathon set for Jan. 26 to 27.

Taylor, van der Zande and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team, who followed up their dominating Rolex 24 win in 2017 by qualifying on the pole for last year’s event, had a relatively easy time acclimating Kobayashi, the former Formula One and current FIA World Endurance Championship star from Japan, and Alonso, the popular two-time Formula One champion from Spain, to their new surroundings and the iconic racetrack. The four drivers took turns clocking the team’s fastest laps over the first four practice sessions of the weekend Friday and Saturday.

Taylor’s lap of 1 minute, 36.407 seconds at 132.390 mph over the 3.56-mile, 12-turn superspeedway road course, was second-fastest overall in Friday’s opening session of the weekend. Kobayashi’s lap of 1:36.596 at 132.670 mph Friday afternoon was fastest overall. Alonso’s Saturday-morning lap of 1:35.052 at 134.825 mph was second-fastest overall, and van der Zande’s lap of 1:34.534 mph at 135.563 mph Saturday afternoon was fastest overall.

The team focused solely on driver changes rather than overall speed during Saturday’s traditional night session, when Kobayashi’s team-best lap of 1:35.398 at 134.336 mph was sixth-fastest overall. Taylor opened Sunday practice with a lap of 1:34.894 at 135.049 mph that was fifth-best overall before driving the 15-minute mock qualifying session. His best lap of the session was marred by an impact with the car’s floorboard as he negotiated the track’s backstretch chicane known as the Bus Stop, temporarily knocking out the car’s power steering system. He was able to continue and log the sixth-best overall lap of the session and the team’s best of the weekend – 1:34.431 at 135.711. The team opted not to run the weekend’s final practice session Sunday afternoon.

Mazda Team Joest’s Nos. 77 and 55 DPis dominated Sunday’s mock qualifying session, led by the the lap of 1:33.398 at 137.212 mph by Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77 Mazda DPi that was better than the existing track record. Teammate Harry Tincknell was close behind with a lap of 1:33.423 at 137.176 mph. Almost a full second behind was a pack of five DPi entries separated by 17 hundredths of a second, led by Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Team Penske Dpi, whose best lap was 1:34.261 at 135.956 mph.

The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R logged 165 total laps during the three-day test, covering 587.4 miles.

Rolex 24 race weekend begins with practice and qualifying Thursday, Jan. 24, with the twice-around-the-clock event set to begin at 2:35 p.m. EST Saturday, Jan. 26, with live television coverage beginning on NBCSN at 2 p.m.

JORDAN TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

“I think it’s hard to tell pace-wise where we are but, I think from a car point of view, we made a lot of progress with some changes. It’s also good to get Alonso and Kobayashi through the car to get them comfortable driving-wise and seat-wise and ergonomics. That’s really what this test is all about, getting everyone comfortable, getting driver-change practice done, solid routines that they’re not used to that we do, pit-stop procedures. I think we got a big head start for the race. By the time we get back here, it’ll be just a matter of some fine-tuning. We knew those guys would fit in really well. It’s just about understanding driving-style differences, whether they like the same kind of car we like, same setup, if they need big inserts or what they like with seat belts. But they fit in super well and they bring a ton of experience, so it’s been interesting to hear their feedback and their direction forth. They have so much experience, new ideas that maybe we don’t think about setup-wise and driving-style-wise. I don’t think you ever stop learning and these are two guys we can learn a lot from. In qualifying, the car got damaged in the bus stop on our best timed lap. If we could’ve had a couple of more laps, we could’ve been in line with the other Cadillacs, but it’s just the Roar, so it’s not the end of the world.”

RENGER VAN DER ZANDE, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

“It’s been interesting testing, ticking all the boxes. All the drivers had some quality time in the car. My personal thing was to get used to the Michelin tires and I think they are very easy to adjust to. I am happy to see the average pace between all of our drivers. Also, a very important thing is to get the driver changes in place. There’s still some fine-tuning to do there, same with the setup and in some other areas. I think if we leave the Roar with some fine-turning items to go through, then we can consider it a very good test and I think that’s the case.”

KAMUI KOBAYASHI, Driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

“As we expected, I think the team worked very well together – we have a good feeling. We know what we have to do. I think we all have enough experience for this type of race. We just collaborate with our experience to bring each other up to speed. I think overall we see some positive things. Some things went really well and we worked well together. This was my first test with the team so we’re off to a good start. We have some homework to do to come back even stronger. We have room for more with the 24-hour race. Our expectation is to win the race. I feel really happy being here and very proud to drive for this team. I think we enjoy and know each other well, we communicated well. The track is pretty amazing, especially the banking – it’s quite amazing. I’m always looking for new stuff that is exciting in motorsports and obviously this track is one of those kinds of things. It’s also amazing how different it is compared to Europe with the spectators being so close to the drivers. It’s very nice. Basically, I come from a completely opposite world as far as that goes. I enjoy this place and it’s a good explanation why the United States has such great fans in racing – sports cars, NASCAR, Indy car. That makes it fun for the drivers.”

FERNANDO ALONSO, Driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

“Everything went fine, quite a smooth weekend of testing. Getting used to the car, it was the first time for me with the Cadillac and with the team. I got seat-fitted into the car, I went through all the philosophy that the Konica Minolta Cadillac team has and it was quite smooth. Great team, great people, and I felt quite happy in the car and with the balance of the car right from the beginning. I knew the track from last year, so I had that advantage. It was just full concentration on how the team works and how the team wanted to get through the test. I think we made some improvements in the car. We learned a couple of things that we can put in place for the Rolex 24. We have a strong team – all the drivers have enough experience and enough speed, hopefully, to run consistently fast. It’s a very long race and everything has to go your way. A lot of different factors determine who wins these long races. On our side, we just have to keep the concentration high, execute the race the best we can, and help the team with our feedback and with our care for the car over the 24 hours.”

WAYNE TAYLOR, Owner, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

“It’s been a good weekend for us. Both our new drivers – Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi – were immediately fast in the car. They were accommodating with everything, very professional, no egos. They got along well with Jordan and Renger. Everybody was running about the same pace, which is nice to have. It’s not often you have four drivers who often do the same lap times. So that is an advantage to us. We had a problem in qualifying. Jordan put a wheel off and it turned the power steering off and broke part of the floorboard. Looking at the Cadillacs, they’re all close, within a tenth of a second. We know that we used every bit we had – we left nothing on the table for qualifying. Now, it’s a matter of going back to the shop these next few weeks and incorporate the things we learned and come back ready to hit the ground running for the race weekend.”