This weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 is being treated as a “glorified shakedown” for CORE autosport’s Nissan Onroak DPi, according to team manager Brian Colangelo, as they come to grips with the DPi contender.
Tasked with a late switch from its planned return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with its Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 car, Friday’s start of on-track activity will mark the team’s first laps with the Nissan DPi.
Colangelo said the Rock Hill, S.C.-based team only took delivery of the ex-Extreme Speed Motorsports machines on Dec. 3, five days after making the last-minute decision to step up to the DPi class for the 2019 season.
It resulted in a busy month of December with extended working hours, but still enough time for the crew to enjoy the holidays before arriving in Daytona.
“I made a promise to the guys that the late decision wasn’t going to affect the vacation that they rightfully deserved after the awesome year that we had,” Colangelo told Sportscar365.
“To be prepared for a 24-hour race you have to have a well-rested crew and a good car.
“We believe we have a good car. It’s not race-prepared yet because of part shipments and things like that got to us a bit late, so we’re confident we’ll have a fully prepared car for the race.”
CORE’s transition to the Nissan DPi platform has been eased thanks to the addition of several former ESM crew members to its operation, as well as an open book of data from the Scott Sharp-owned team.
Additionally, Ligier Automotive engineer Matthieu Leroy, who worked with ESM last year, will be assisting CORE’s race engineer Jeff Braun this weekend, in helping get the team up to speed with the car.
“It’s definitely a glorified shakedown,” Colangelo said.
“There’s a lot of new faces and a lot of people that haven’t worked together before, a car that we haven’t run before.
“The test is about learning the car, people learning how to work together, reassuring our systems and procedures and everything like that.”
While a planned shakedown at Carolina Motorsports Park was rained out, Colangelo said the team spent the time practicing pit stops and procedures prior to arriving in Daytona.
“I’d say it’s 50/50 old crew from last year and ESM crew, so it’s a lot of people learning each other now too,” Colangelo said.