Photo: Chip Ganassi Racing

IndyCar Drivers Find Their Footing at Roar Before the 24

By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter

The sizable group of Verizon IndyCar Series drivers competing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona got their chance to get used to their rides during this past weekend’s Roar Before the 24.

Spencer Pigot found himself on the top of the IndyCar contingent in the Daytona Prototype International class. Pigot along with Mazda teammates Tristan Nunez and Jonathan Bomarito logged the second quickest lap of the weekend at 1 minute 38.363 seconds around the 3.56-mile road course in their new Mazda RT24-P prototype.. The were only outpaced by Ben Hanley, driving DragonSpeed’s No. 81 Oreca powered by Gibson.

Pigot’s temporary Mazda teammate, James Hinchcliffe was part of the 10th quickest squad along with co-drivers Joel Miller and Tom Long.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ford GT program shined in the GT Le Mans class by completing a 1-4 sweep of the top spots. Former IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe set the quickest lap of the weekend in the No. 67 Ford Gt on Sunday along with four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and Richard Westbrook.

Dixon praised the team’s efforts for their collective showing of speed.

“Yeah, it was good,” Dixon said. “I think the whole program – especially with the mix of four cars here now – everybody’s been meshing quite well, trying to get through the test plan. Lap times are always funny, especially running here. It’s just maybe you’re in the right spot at the right time.”

Flanking the No. 67 was the No. 69 driven by Tony Kanaan and FIA World Endurance Championship regulars Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell. The trio ended up a rather distant 0.265 of a second off Briscoe’s time.

Rounding out the IndyCar competitors were Graham Rahal and Ryan Hunter-Reay in the competitive GT-Daytona class. Driving in a pair of Acura NSX GT3s for Michael Shank Racing, both drivers found themselves mired deep in the 27 car field.

Rahal, along with teammates Andy Lally, Katherine Legge and Mark Wilkins, logged the 20th quickest time of 1:47.929. The time was a rather distant 9.586 seconds off the class leading time set by Manthey Racing’s Sven Muller in his No. 59 Porsche 911 GT3 R. Hunter-Reay ended up 23rd quickest alongside co-drivers. Jeff Segal, Ozz Negri and Tom Dyer.

The Rolex 24 at Daytona will kick off at 2:30 p.m. EST and will be televised live on FOX and will be aired throughout the FOX family of networks throughout the 24 hour duration.

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Josh Farmer joined the media center in 2012 after first discovering his love of IndyCar racing in 2004 at Auto Club Speedway. He has been an accredited member of the IndyCar media center since 2014 and also contributes to along with The Motorsports Tribune.

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