Wednesday, January 27, 2016—Fresno, CA—After a successful three day test at the Daytona ROAR earlier in the month, the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team is ready to get back to the infamous Daytona International Speedway for the 54th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 30-31, 2016.
Returning PR1 driver Tom Kimber-Smith demonstrated his experience at Daytona, achieving the fastest lap in class during Practice 4 with a 1:43.261, but for drivers Robert Alon, Nick Boulle and Jose Gutierrez, the ROAR marked their first trip around the 3.56-mile circuit in a PC car. Though no session was alike, each of the drivers had similar reactions to their first weekend at Daytona.
“The weekend went really well. Everyone is up to pace, really comfortable in the car and we have a really solid line up for the 24,” stated Alon, 25, of Encino, California.
“It was great getting to know the track and having the opportunity to drive at night here. I’ve driven at night once before in Kansas, but here with all of the different lights, it’s a lot to take in and get accustomed to. I’m really pleased to have had several good sessions in the day, but also to get familiarized with the track at night.”
“Going into the actual 24, I think we will have a bit of a different strategy than the rest of the teams. The other guys seem to be all about speed, but I think our strategy of being a little more calm and looking at the big picture will really pay off in the long run.”
Gutierrez, 19, from Monterey, Mexico also entered the weekend having no laps at Daytona or at night.
“Wow! Driving at Daytona was so incredibly fun, and also a really big learning experience,” explained Gutierrez.
“I knew I would have a lot to learn coming into the weekend, but with the help of my teammate Tom (Kimber-Smith), I was able to pick up on a lot of things quickly. Driving the track at night was probably one of the biggest adjustments because your brake reference points are visible during the day, but at night, they disappear. Tom helped me make new references for the braking points at night, but also gave me a lot of other advice that helped me lower my lap times throughout the weekend.”
Boulle, who had stepped away from racing for a few years to pursue other business and cycling ventures, never missed a beat when it was time for him to take over driver duties at the ROAR.
“From start to finish everything went as well as it could have. Tom was ultra quick in one of the sessions, and the rest of us, Robert, Jose, and myself included, never put a foot wrong, and that was the goal coming into the weekend,” said 26-year-old Boulle, of Dallas, TX.
“For the team, Bobby (Oergel), John (Hayes) and all of the guys, there’s really not a lot of extra work put in front of them, which is the whole point of going to the test. I can’t begin to describe how excited and ready I am to get back in the car for the 24 Hours. Now, I just hope to be able to continue learning more about the track and the car in the days leading up to the race and then find ourselves out front at the end of the day on Sunday.”
Kimber-Smith, 31, of Wokingham, England was apprehensive about entering the ROAR with three Daytona rookies, but felt confident after making great strides with each of the drivers throughout the seven practice sessions. Kimber-Smith now feels more than ready to get back on track later this week and defend the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports win at the Rolex 24.
“It was a little bit daunting coming into the weekend, but Robert, Jose and Nick all adapted really well, and listened to all of the things Bobby (Oergel), John (Hayes) and myself had to tell them about what to do and what not to do,” stated Kimber-Smith.
“When the weekend came to a close, the car was still in one piece, so that was a big positive. Everyone seemed to be relatively quick. We might not have been the quickest throughout the weekend as a whole, but it only really matters when it comes to the race on Saturday and Sunday. We all had targets to meet that weekend, and everyone achieved theirs.”
“I’m really looking forward to the race. We should have a very good one as long as we stay out of trouble, and I’d really like to try to repeat last year.”
You can watch the Rolex 24 at Daytona LIVE and in it’s entirety during the following broadcast times:
2:00 PM EST – 1/30/16 – FOX Sports 1
4:00 PM EST – 1/30/16 – FOX Sports 2
10:00 PM EST -- 1/30-31/16 – IMSA.com
7:00 AM EST – 1/31/16 – FOX Sports 1
10:30 AM EST – 1/31/16 – FOX Sports 2
1:00 PM EST – 1/31/16 – FOX Sports 1
And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook – @PR1Motorsports – to stay up to date with all of the team and drivers’ racing news!
About PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports
In paddocks packed with excellent teams and quality drivers, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports has established itself as one of motorsport’s premier organizations. The operation is based in Fresno, CA where PR1/Mathiasen occupies a 5000 square foot facility that houses a stable of F2000 Zetec, F1600, GRAND-AM, and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship racecars, plus a full-time crew of technicians and engineers. Since 1990, PR1/Mathiasen has won over 45 championships in a wide assortment of world-class series before joining the American Le Mans Series full-time in 2010. PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ latest championship win was the 2015 Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup Championship with drivers Tom Kimber-Smith, Michael Gausch and Andrew Palmer. The team’s alumni and active driver roster includes an impressive list of accomplished drivers including IndyCar stars J.R. Hildebrand and Charlie Kimball, sports car legends Luiz Diaz, Butch Leitzinger, and Marino Franchitti, and rising stars Dane Cameron, Jonathan Bomarito, and Ryan Lewis.
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