Cadillac powered DPi’s showed they will once again be a force this IMSA season as they went 1-2-3-4 in Roar Before The 24 qualifying.
Formula One outcast Felipe Nasr and his Action Express Racing #31 team broke the Daytona Prototype track record with a time of 1m35.806s. He was followed by the Spirit of Daytona #90 piloted by Tristan Vautier as the two traded the top spot back and forth.
Filipe Albuquerque in the #5 Mustang Sampling car and Renger van der Zande in the race winner defending #10 car rounded out the Cadillac dominated session.
Qualifying at the Roar sets the pit and garage selections for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. IMSA wanted to deter sandbagging in the roar in case a team/manufacturer was attempting to skew the balance of power ratings. The thought behind this was giving teams an incentive to run fast but over the course of 24 hours, garage and pit selection isn’t the most important thing.
Penske Struggles, Or Did They?
Team Penske’s factory Acura DPi outfit finished the session in 5th and 6th place. Dane Cameron in the #6 car turned in a best lap of 1m36.988s while Jordan Taylor in the #7 was slower at a 1m37.231s.
Not the most ideal situation for Penske having their new Acura’s be over a second off the pace of the leading Cadillac powered car.
When Penske debuted last season at Petit LeMans they were fast. The fastest DPi of the weekend until the race happened and they were all over the place. That was in a customer car but their pace should have continued into this season.
Now Team Penske shows up at Daytona a second off the pace of the Cadillac. Or are they?
Could Team Penske be sandbagging in order to skew the BoP in their favor when teams return for the 24 at the end of the month? That’s a very logical possibility. Penske has done this before at Indianapolis as recently as 2015. When the Chevy cars all had issues getting airborne it was Penske who raised enough of a stink to get IndyCar to change the rules for qualifying and ultimately the race. A Penske car won the race.
Now, this isn’t to say they aren’t just slow. The Acura’s very well could be but it seems unlikely however they haven’t been the fastest in any practice session either.
Just trying to stay woke on Penske over here at the ApexOff headquarters aka my couch.
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