IMSA VP of Competition Simon Hodgson said they have a “good handle” on the performance of the new-look Prototype cars, despite an apparent speed advantage from the Cadillac DPi-V.Rs heading into tomorrow’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The pair of Action Express Racing Cadillacs swept the front row, with Joao Barbosa’s pole-sitting lap of 1:36.903 nearly 2 seconds faster than the quickest Caddy at the Roar Before the 24.
It compares to only a 1.2-second improvement for the fastest non-Cadillac, the No. 13 Rebellion Racing Oreca 07 Gibson, which qualified third.
Cadillacs have topped the time charts in every timed session this weekend, including a 1-2-3 lockout in the opening two practice sessions.
“You can do all the simulation you want but I think we had a very good handle on what we expected the potential of the cars to be,” Hodgson told Sportscar365.
“At the end of the day, when the chips are down and the people step up, that’s when you really see the performance.”
With a significant increase in lap times, a number of P class teams have raised allegations of the Cadillacs sandbagging prior to race week, although Hodgson said the final conclusions in performance won’t be determined until the race itself.
“We’ve got to be very careful not to make any assumptions or determinations on car performance based on what we saw in qualifying,” he said.
“Obviously we need to get through the whole race and see how these cars are over a stint.
“One thing that’s very important to IMSA, and we learned it with LMP2s against DPs last year, is the ability to have raceability in the platform.
“There are many things to take into consideration. We expected the cars to be quicker. We’re looking forward to seeing the full performance of the cars in the race.”
Hodgson acknowledged that IMSA has taken increased measures to monitor potential sandbagging, including new-for-2017 data loggers, which are installed on all P cars.
Any car or manufacturer that is found to have controlled its performance is subject to in-race penalties.
“In the past, IMSA used to fully look at observed performance,” Hodgson said. “The main tool a couple of years ago was utilization and analysis of timing and scoring data…
“But it doesn’t really tell you how the car makes the lap time. You can only fully understand it when you use it in collaboration with the chassis and engine-generated data.
“We [now] feel that we have a lot of the tools we need. This platform is in its infancy but we feel to be, in the state we are of understanding in this process, we’re excited for the future.”
Despite the disparity in the P class, no pre-race BoP adjustments are expected to be made.