Images: Brian Cleary/VISIT FLORIDA Racing
Daytona Beach, Fla. (9 January 2016) – VISITFLORIDA Racing turned its first official laps of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship over the weekend as Daytona International Speedway hosted the annual Roar Before the 24 test ahead of 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Marc Goossens, Renger van der Zande, and Rene Rast all participated in the three-day test which also saw a busy schedule of media activities in addition to the on track action.
With the all-new Riley-Gibson platform for 2017, The VISIT FLORIDA Racing squad worked through its test plan and ran times among the top-five throughout many of the seven test sessions.
“The test went well and I am happy we were able to get some time on the car,” said Team Owner Troy Flis. “Some of the issues we saw at the December test were vastly improved and we were glad to see the progress there. There is a lot of positives that came out of the Roar. With this being such a brand new car, we just didn’t have enough time to run through our whole test plan. Even if we ran every lap on offer, it wouldn’t have been enough time. We just have to do the best that we can and go back and prepare the best that we can for the race here at the end of the month.
“It’s been great having Marc (Goossens), Renger (van der Zande), and Rene (Rast) driving together at the test. They all want the same thing and are communicating well so I think that is a strong point for us. I think some of our off-season testing with pit stops will be another positive for us. There is just a lot of work on the car to be done, but we are optimistic about where things are going.”
The Rolex 24 At Daytona takes place January 28-29and will go green at 2:30 PM ET with LIVE coverage on FOX.
MARC GOOSSENS: “We still have some work to do but I think that we have come along with from when we tested a month ago. The car is still fairly new and there is still some things we need to fix. We were able to try a couple of things and I think that they showed us where we needed to be setup wise. Now it is just about making the car more reliable.”
RENGER VAN DER ZANDE: “The laps that I did I enjoyed a lot and it is a great car to be in. We had some technical issues that needed to be solved but I think we got through most of that. I think that we have a little bit of work on the reliability and I think that we can do a good job. I am sure we can be well prepared for the 24 hours. I think speed-wise we have some top speed issues which is a bit of a regulation thing. I hope that we can work on that nicely and be competitive.”
RENE RAST: “It was quite an interesting test since everyone was new with their cars. Every session that we went out we made steps forward but we still have a lot of work to do. That pace itself is not too bad, we are only about one second to the leaders which is nice. The pace and potential is there and the car feels good to us drivers. Now we just need to work on all of the small details.”