Testing at Daytona International Speedway wrapped up Wednesday, with Prototype teams walking away with positive feedback after evaluating multiple updated tire and aerodynamic configurations.
DP entries from Chip Ganassi Racing, Action Express Racing, Michael Shank Racing and Starworks Motorsport were joined by P2 cars from SpeedSource Mazda and Extreme Speed Motorsports, as well as RSR Racing’s PC machine, which along with ESM’s HPD ARX-03b, turned laps only on the second and final day of testing at the 3.56-mile oval/road course.
In addition, SRT was in attendance with both its GTLM and GTD-class Vipers for the test, which was initially organized by Riley Technologies but opened up to all Prototype teams in the wake of recent incidents at the Speedway.
This week’s test marked the first time Prototypes had returned to the Florida high banks since official testing was suspended last month after a series of tire failures and airborne accidents for DPs running in proposed 2014-spec.
Since those incidents, Continental Tire had worked around the clock to develop and produce a reinforced tire construction capable of withstanding the additional downforce levels produced by the new-spec DPs.
Two different tires were tested this week, with no issues reported in both short and long-distance runs. Unofficial lap times dipped into the 1:39s for DPs, which were testing with and without IMSA’s proposed diffuser.
DP teams were also evaluating cut-outs above the wheel arches for the first time, a measure first put into place by the ACO to help keep LMP cars grounded in the event of a high-speed backwards or sideways spin.
ESM’s P2 car shed the 60kg ballast imposed by IMSA at last month’s test and also ran a larger air restrictor, managing to get into the 1:41s on Wednesday. It was more than a four-second improvement than its time set in November.
The Paul Gentilozzi-led RSR team, which also tested only on Wednesday, managed to turn laps in the 1:42 range, also running Continental’s updated P1111 tire, which has received favorable reviews for its longevity over a stint.
A number of teams faced unrelated mechanical issues, including both Ford-powered Rileys from Ganassi and Shank, which had to change engines on Wednesday.
An additional GM-sanctioned test at Daytona is scheduled for next week, which will see Wayne Taylor Racing’s Dallara-chassied Corvette DP turn its first laps in 2014 trim, as well as the newly built Spirit of Daytona entry and expected continued testing from Action Express.