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Action Express Cadillacs Top Daytona Test

Eric Curran tops IMSA December Daytona test…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Action Express Racing ended the two-day IMSA-sanctioned pre-season test at Daytona International Speedway on top, with the pair of brand-new Cadillac DPi-V.Rs showing the early pace advantage.

Twenty nine IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams took to the 3.56-mile oval/road course in preparation for next month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, with new cars taking the headlines.

The No. 31 Cadillac was fastest, with Eric Curran turning a best lap of 1:37.797, already nearly a half-second quicker than the track qualifying record for Daytona Prototypes/previous-generation P2 machinery.

Curran, the reigning Prototype champion, set the time in Wednesday’s final session, which saw improvements from four of the five new-generation prototypes.

“Today we got a bunch of laps in, got all of the drivers through,” he told Sportscar365. “Everybody’s happy and pretty comfortable.

“We’ve got some more work to do, just to get everything working properly. It’s a good step.”

Action Express, as well as fellow Cadillac squad Wayne Taylor Racing swept the top three positions on the time sheets, after overcoming electrical issues on Tuesday that saw limited running.

The No. 5 Cadillac of Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Filipe Albuquerque logged 155 laps, the most of any P class car in the test, and ended up second quickest with a 1:38.156 lap.

WTR was third with its Konica Minolta-sponsored entry, which saw four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon turn laps on both days.

Mazda’s new RT24-P DPi was nearly two seconds slower than the pace-setting Cadillac, ending up fourth quickest, followed by the only Gibson-engined LMP2 car at the test, from Visit Florida Racing.

Both Riley-based entries from Mazda and Visit Florida fought various teething issues, after having limited run time prior to this week’s test.

The Mazda, featuring a five-driver lineup, completed 117 laps, while the Riley-Gibson turned 81 laps with Marc Goossens and Renger van der Zande.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing led the way in GT Le Mans, with the 2016 runner-ups ending the test first and third on the time charts with its pair of Ford GTs.

The No. 3 Corvette C7.R was second quickest, just 0.037 seconds slower than the No. 67 Ford’s best lap of 1:45.405, also set in Wednesday’s final session.

Land Motorsport was quickest in GT Daytona, thanks to a 1:46.621 lap time from the German squad’s Audi R8 LMS, which was shared by Christopher Mies and Connor De Phillippi over the two days.

No major incidents were reported during the test, despite several red flags for stopped cars or debris.

Official testing at Daytona resumes on Jan. 6-8 for the Roar Before the Rolex 24, which is mandatory for all teams competing in the WeatherTech Championship season-opener.

RESULTS: Daytona Test (Combined)

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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