What a weekend. If someone told us that we were going to be on the podium on Friday night, we all would have been ecstatic. We may be disappointed in the outcome, but everyone on the team should be proud of what we overcame to be battling for the win.
We started off the weekend on the wrong foot, having electrical gremlins. We were having issues with the wheel speed sensors, which was causing us to have traction control problems.
Traction control is based off of the difference in speed from front to rear, so when those sensors aren’t reading the correct speeds, it causes big issues. It made the TC very unpredictable and intermittent.
We had the issue all through practice Thursday, so Ricky had to qualify the car with no TC. The guys worked through the night trying to find the fix. We only had one session on Friday to give it out last shot, and unfortunately we had not found the issue. I couldn’t get the car over 130 mph on the banking without TC cutting power.
On a day that is usually dedicated to final prep on the car, bedding in your race engine, race gearbox, new brakes, and making sure everything is in line for the race, our guys were stripping the car down and rebuilding it to try and find the cause of the problem.
With all of our practice time being dedicated to working on electrical problems, we were heading into the race with minimal setup changes from our car that rolled off the truck, so we didn’t really know what we had.
When Ricky took the green flag, we instantly knew that our TC issue was still there, but now we also had a misfire. The guys saw something in the data, and on the first stop were able to plug into the car to make a few changes.
Miraculously, they found the issue. It was like music to our ears to hear that our TC was back. That would have made for a long 24 hour.
So now we could all get down to business. Daytona is obviously the first race every year, so your first stint is almost like a little warmup to shake off the rust.
You have 24 hours of racing, so the first stint is usually pretty calm anyway. But the one thing I always forget about is the drastic diversity in driver ability and awareness that comes to this race. It’s tricky because a big part of sports car racing is traffic. And at Daytona, traffic is tricky.
With cars having between three and five drivers, you don’t always know what you are coming up on, so you don’t know how cautious or aggressive you can be with them. By the end of the race, you usually know who to look out for.
Daytona is always cool though; the best is to hear our guy Jeff on the radio telling you “that’s Barrichello you’re battling with”, or Dixon, Bourdais, McMurray, Larson…the list is endless. You get to race with the world’s best guys from all different forms of racing.
We were battling in the top-three all race long. Ricky and Max led for the majority of the night and early morning. We had nearly 100 guests from Konica Minolta attending the race, so it was nice for them to see us up front for so much of the race.
We had a great car, definitely a top-three car on pace, and I think the strongest Corvette. For not touching the car much in practice (other than troubleshooting sensor issues), I think that speaks massively for our guys preparation leading into the weekend.
To come out third wasn’t what we wanted, but it doesn’t take anything away from the effort everyone put in. We have gone three Rolex 24’s in a row without losing a single lap or going to the garage.
That’s 72 hours of racing with no incident, car trouble, or lack of pace. A true testament to our guys’ preparation and hard work in the off season, and execution in the race.
I couldn’t wish for a better group of guys. The best in the business, I trust them with my life, and love them like family.
And as for Max and Ricky, they are family, and the best teammates anyone could ask for. We’ll be back next year, fighting just as hard for that Rolex. But for now, we have Sebring to focus on.