The final on-track preparations for Chevrolet's Corvette Daytona Prototype teams are complete ahead of the opening round of the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Christian Fittipaldi in Action Express Racing's No. 5 Corvette DP set the fastest time for the three-day Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway – the annual test that serves a dress rehearsal for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Fittipaldi's best time of 1:38.630 (129.940 mph) came in the Roar's opening session Friday morning. The Brazilian led a contingent of Corvette DPs that held five of the six fastest speeds during the three days.
"We applied everything that we learned in the sessions we had prior to today – once in November and twice in the beginning of December," said Fittipaldi, who drove with full-season teammate Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais. "The car felt pretty good. I think that the track conditions were a little bit strange (with the changing weather). We need to make the best of it because when it comes down to race time, maybe we are going to have exactly the same stuff out there. I have raced here before where we have had even colder weather. So we pretty much need to be prepared for all kinds of stuff out there."
Richard Westbrook was second-quickest on the weekend in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP with a 1:38.989 (129.549 mph) lap. He drives with full-season teammate Michael Valiante and Mike Rockenfeller.
"It has been a very productive three days at Daytona for the Corvette Daytona Prototype teams in preparation for the Rolex 24 Hour race, said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet TUDOR Championship Daytona Prototype Program Manager. "All of the teams had the opportunity to work with the latest technical regulations IMSA has put in place thus far for the class. Every driver for each of the teams was able to get ample seat time throughout the three-day test.
"Additionally, the varying weather conditions have allowed the teams to work on setup for the numerous scenarios that can occur during the race. We know we will have to adjust to the final set of regulations prior to the race, but our Chevrolet teams made great progress during the weekend, and we feel like we have the reliability and preparation necessary for the race."
Chevrolet enters this year's Rolex 24 off two consecutive DP engine manufacturer titles in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. The championship merged with the American Le Mans Series to create the TUDOR Championship, which features DPs as part of the top-level prototype class.
As the season continues following the Rolex 24 Hours the Corvette DP teams – Action Express, Spirit of Daytona, 2013 DP team champion Wayne Taylor Racing, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Marsh Racing – will lead Chevrolet's fight for additional victories and championships. Chevrolet ended Rolex Series competition with 20 Daytona Prototype victories – 16 by Corvette DPs since it debuted in 2011 – and nine in GT. The Bowtie brand also captured DP engine manufacturer championships in both 2012 and 2013, plus the 2011 GT title.