The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – 24 hours (first leg of North American Endurance Championship) and the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge – 4 hours will be contested this coming weekend at the Daytona International Speedway’s3.56-mile, 12-turn stadium road course.
Continental Tire has designated Gold as the dry tire to be raced at the Rolex 24 at Daytona by the WTSC. If teams move to wet tires, the P and PC classes will move to Black while the GTD class will stay on Gold. This is the only track this tire will be raced at.
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races the same compound at all tracks in 2017.
What do the drivers expect from the Daytona track this weekend?
Andy Lally – Daytona is such a unique circuit because essentially you have two different circuits in one. It’s a track that is 3.6-miles and we have so much of it where we are flat out, high-speed on the high-banks of Daytona and then so much of it where you are on the completely flat, zero-banking, tight hairpin, switchbacks on the infield.
Andrew Davis – Daytona is a very interesting circuit because you have some of the highest speeds we reach all year and the extreme banking, the 32-degree banking, that really puts a lot of load and stress on the driver, the car, the tire. Then on the infield section of the track you have some of the slowest corners we drive all year.
Joao Barbosa – It doesn’t seem like a very technical track when you look at it on paper but once you start driving, with everything that’s going on in a 24-hour race including traffic, darkness, temperature changes, it makes it very technical. It’s very unpredictable and it’s very easy to make mistakes, especially the approaching speeds when a faster car comes upon a slower car, it can make a big difference in judgment.
How do you manage your tires over 24 hours?
Andy Lally – In the specific case of GTD we’ve got a really good tire in the Continental tire. It’s very durable and it’s built to be able to withstand the high, long G-loads we get in the banking. That’s the tricky part here is that when we’ve got a flat infield road course, we tend to want to have a lot of camber in the set up for the corners to be able to create peak grip in the middle of those tight corners and to come off the corner.
Andrew Davis – In the daytime, it can get very warm here and get greasy and we really pound those tires so in those stints, we want fresh Continental tires. We’re going to put tires on more frequently and we’re not going to double or triple stint tires. But as it starts getting cold and the sun goes down…you want to try and double, triple stint tires in the evening and at night.
Joao Barbosa – If you’ve just pitted and put on a set of sticker tires, this place can get you very easily on cold tires. You don’t realize how easy it is to make a mistake on the first two corners of the track so you have to be very careful and know exactly what tire situation you are in so you know when to push hard and make a difference.
Will the change to a four hour race in this years Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge contest alter how you manage tires?
Marc Miller – This is quite a big departure from what we are used to. For the last several years it’s been a 2:30- hour race format. This opens the door for drivers, it opens the door for much different strategies because our fuel mileage isn’t going to change. We kind of had it figured out for a 2:30-hour race and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of us that win that 2:30-hour race and will be short 1:30-hours and have to figure out from there what fuel strategy is going to win that last 1:30-hour sprint. I would say normally tire management is very important but the Continental tires we have hold up very, very well on long runs and the difference in lap times around here from new tires to old tires isn’t as big as we thought.
Andrew Carbonell - As a track Daytona serves up the challenge of being one of the fastest circuits we go to all year, which will always favor some cars more than others! Being one of the lighter cars in the field, we have the ability to run well even at the late stages in a race.