Roar Before the 24 Session No. 5 at Daytona International Speedway put the 50 teams present under the lights. Running at night really didn’t change all that much as Action Express Racing’s Felipe Nasr was once again quickest.
Nasr’s lap of 97.322 seconds (131.687 mph) was nearly four-tenths of a second slower than in session No. 4. However, that time was still a half a tenth of a second quicker than Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan Taylor. Christian Fittipaldi in Action Express Racing’s No. 5 was third quickest, followed by Eddie Cheever III in another top four sweep for Cadillac. Ferdinand Habsburg in Jackie Chan DC Racing JOTA’s No. 78 was the fastest non-Cadillac in fifth.
CORE autosport’s Colin Braun was sixth on the charts, followed by Ricky Taylor in Acura Team Penske’s No. 7. Teammate Juan Pablo Montoya was eighth, while Tequila Patron ESM’s Nicolas Lapierre and Mazda Team Joest’s René Rast rounded out the top 10. The Prototype teams were the closest time-wise of any of the sessions to this point. Everyone back to Daniel Juncadella in 15th was within one second of Nasr’s quick lap.
In GT Le Mans, Ford continued to show their stout form. Sébastien Bourdais turned in the fastest GTLM lap of the Roar to top the class. Bourdais’ lap of 103.798 seconds (123.471 mph) is less than a tenth of second off of last years’ pole time. The lap was more than half a second faster than Porsche GT Team’s Gianmaria Bruni. Richard Westbrook was another tenth of a second back in third. Porsche’s Patrick Pilet was fourth, while Corvette Racing’s Marcel Fässler rounded out the top five.
GT Daytona saw 3GT Racing’s Dominik Baumann put his No. 14 Lexus at the top with a lap of 107.496 seconds (119.223 mph). That time was three-hundredths of a second faster than GRT Grasser Racing Team’s Mirko Bortolotti. Jack Hawksworth was third quickest in the No. 15 Lexus. Park Place Motorsports’ Jörg Bergmeister was fourth, while Montaplast by Land-Motorsport’s Kelvin van der Linde was fifth.
The session was interrupted by two early red flags due to stopped cars on course. Both of the red flags were very short-lived, allowing for the on-track activity to resume.
In the past, Sunday was the least important of the three test days for WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams. Not this year. Sunday morning will see a qualifying session that will determine garage and pit stall assignments for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Teams will first be on-track for a 30-minute practice session starting at 10:45 a.m. Then, after a short period of time for adjustments, the qualifying session will begin, starting with the GT Daytona class. The session will be run to the same rules as any other qualifying session during the season.