Article: Kevin Sims ~ Photos: Randy Stevens
Daytona International Speedway – January 6, 2019 – In a year facing some of the class’s biggest rule changes in history, the 2019 Roar before the 24 testing event proved that teams are still determining how to maximize performance under the new GTD environment. Team results varied from test session to test session, but Meyer Shank Racing with its Acura NSX GT3 did possession itself with a slight advantage over the 3 day event.
The #86 Acura NSX GT3 of Meyer Shank Racing edged out an event topping 1 minute 45.533 seconds lap time at 121.435 MPH during the GTD’s 4th session. During GTD’s pit stall determining qualifying session, the all-woman driving squad of #57 Acura NSX GT3 dazzled the crowd with a time of 1 minute 45.537 seconds at 121.43 MPH, making it the second best GTD time of the 3 days.
The two-time IMSA GTD Championship winning, Christina Nielsen, joined the Meyer Shank Racing team for the 2019 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
“The whole program that Jackie (Heinricher) has put together is a great initiative and something that I’m very excited to be a part of,” said Christina Nielsen. “It is amazing what she has done with Caterpillar and bringing them into sports car racing. Mike (Shank) is somewhat of a legend in the paddock and I have had the pleasure to race against him for many years. He runs a very professional program and they showed their strength in 2018 with a near championship. MSR is a team that you want to be with and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
The colorful Ferrari 488 GT3 of Via Italia Racing took the third best GTD lap time of event with an aggressive blacktop pushing 1 minute 45.842 seconds during the 5th session.
Other outstanding performance were registered in 3rd and 4th test sessions. The Porsche 911 GT3 R of Black Swain Racing posted a 3rd session besting time of 1 minute 45.919 seconds at 120.992 MPH to display the potential of the Porsche Motorsports newly reworked machine.
“There were so many new things to discover: car, tires, and racetrack. We worked through our tasks systematically and made great progress,” commented Black Swain Racing driver Matteo Cairoli. “That’s precisely what test days are for. We’ll also use the first sessions of the race week for setup work so that we get the best possible start into the 24-hour classic. At Daytona the name of the game is to have a car that is predictable and easy to handle. We’re on the right track.”
In the 4th session, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Riley Motorsports - Team AMG delivered a solid time of 1 minute 46.452 seconds to secure the fifth best time in GTD for the 3 day testing event. - AA
The Porsche 911 GT3 R of Black Swain Racing posted the 3rd session best time.