Coming into this weekend’s Roar Before the 24, the annual pre-season test in advance of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Global Motorsports Group (GMG) knew that running a solid, measured program would be key. With the team advancing to the all-new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, debuting with their first-ever Rolex 24, the team knew their opportunity for a strong result at Daytona really began this weekend.
Sticking to the plan perfectly, the No. 32 Audi R8 LMS ended the weekend with the ninth fastest time in the highly competitive GTD category, a sign that the team is ready to compete with some of the most established names in the series.
“This weekend went about as well as we could have asked,” stated GMG team owner James Sofronas. “We came as prepared as we could, and I think it showed during all three days. The guys ran the car to perfection, and I believe we proved that our team can mix in with the best of them.”
Without any major incident, the No. 32 managed to run all eight practice sessions, running in the top half of the time sheets in nearly all of them. With the top twenty-one GTD entries all running within one second of each other, GMG’s Marc Basseng, a driver supplied via Audi Sport customer racing, would set the ninth best time of the weekend with a time of 1:48.594.
For GMG’s Alex Welch, who had never even seen the circuit before this weekend, a positive feeling was shared heading into the upcoming race.
“This is a place unlike anywhere else,” stated Welch. “The banking, the layout, and running with so many different classes of cars, it’s pretty incredible. This is one of those races that every driver wants to do, and I can’t thank everyone at GMG enough for making this a reality. The team is as prepared as you can ask, and I believe we’re in great shape for the race.”
For Sofronas, who has been pulling double duty as both driver and team owner, the ability to mix with so many quality teams was a great testament.
“It’s hard to describe how flat out we’ve been,” stated Sofronas. “We’re a customer driven business, with programs in a number of different categories, and we know how tough the TUDOR Championship will be. These are some amazing teams and world class drivers, and we want to show that we can run with them. I’m very lucky to have such great teammates in Alex, who has been with the team for so many years, and Frank and Marc, who Audi helped arrange. Beyond that, we’ve had a lot of the same crew from when we started 10 years ago. They know how important Daytona will be, and they’ve been doing their homework. Who knows what the 24 will bring, but we’re coming with high hopes.”
With practice for the Rolex 24 at Daytona beginning in just over two weeks, much of the GMG crew is staying in Florida as they look to maximize the time needed to prepare the car for their historic TUDOR Championship debut. Practice will begin on Thursday, January 23, with the twice-around-the-clock race beginning at 3:30 PM ET on Saturday, January 25.
(GMG Racing, photo: LAT/Dole)