Among the myriad of things WeatherTech Championship teams are working on during this week’s two-day test at Sebring – in the Prototype and GT Daytona class – are brand-new tires from Continental Tire.
Magnus Racing’s Andy Lally offered his initial feedback on the new rubber on Thursday afternoon.
“We’ve got a new tire this year from Continental,” he said. “They’ve just introduced not only a new construction but a new compound, so all the teams are going through the process of feeling out what air pressure it likes, what camber it likes, what toe it likes and the combination of all three of those put together.
“Basically, we’re all going through sweeps right now and feeling things out. What does the tire feel like when you’re in qualifying mode versus full-fuel mode? There are all sorts of stuff when you get such a change like what we’ve got here.
“This is a relatively big change for the GT cars. Maybe for the Prototypes, it’s not as big a change, but for the GT3 cars, it’s quite a different feel on the platform. We’re just going through that.
“It’s the first day and everybody’s fairly calm about it now. I’d imagine midway through tomorrow, you’re going to start to see guys throwing down and really trying to squeeze every last hundredth out of it.
“The Audi feels pretty balanced right now with it, so we’re pretty happy, handling-wise, how we’ve been able to integrate this tire and evolve the past setups that we’ve had into what we’ve got today.”
Lally drove an Acura NSX GT3 last season for Michael Shank Racing but has rejoined his previous team, Magnus, this year when it returned to the WeatherTech Championship after a one-year hiatus.
It hasn’t taken long for the veteran sports car racer to get reacquainted.
“I am 1,000 percent back into Magnus Racing mode,” he said. “Daytona was a homecoming, but in reality, I really barely left.
“Magnus Racing went to a different series last year, but I was still with them at those races, working in a different manner, not driving but helping John out a little bit where I could.
“It’s like I never left. We got right back in the swing of things in the very first test after the 2017 season ended, and now we’re just trying to get back up to speed here at Sebring and see what we’ve got against all these other teams.”