Increased competition in the Prototype class and the ability for some cars to successfully double stint tires has led to a series of tire punctures for selected Prototype teams in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, according to Continental’s Kevin Fandozzi.
No fewer than eight cars in the Prototype class have sustained right-rear tire punctures so far in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener, which has impacted the running for several pre-race favorites.
The issues, particularly for the defending race winners Wayne Taylor Racing, which sustained five tire punctures, has led to the retirement of its No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R with six hours to go.
Fandozzi, Continental’s IMSA Product Manager, said that all punctures have occurred when teams attempted to double stint their tires, something not largely seen in recent years in the race.
“The state of competition is extremely high and it’s changed a lot since last year,” Fandozzi told Sportscar365. “We have teams double stinting tires and this isn’t going to go away.
“We’ve had no issues from teams that have followed our recommendations, except from Action Express and Wayne Taylor Racing, who we are working with to understand the root cause.”
AXR’s No. 31 Cadillac attempted to push the envelope with a triple-stint in the overnight hours, which Fandozzi said was against their recommendation.
The issues, isolated to the Prototype class only, began earlier in the weekend on the Ligier-based prototypes, with the pair of United Autosports Ligier JS P217 Gibsons sustaining punctures in practice.
Both of the Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPis had punctures early in the race and spread to additional cars, including the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P and No. 99 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson as well.
Fandozzi said both of the Team Penske Acura ARX-05s as well as other cars have not experienced any tire-related issues due to running to Continental’s recommended minimum tire pressure and camber settings.
“It would be fantastic if teams single stinted [their tires] for the rest of the race but they’re probably not going to be as fast as the others,” he said.
Fanzdozzi said that he expects the same dynamic of double stinting to continue at Sebring where Continental will debut a more durable road course-specific tire for both the P and GT Daytona classes.