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The Chevy Camaro ZL1 shared the track with the 2024 Corvette Z06 GT3.R, which will race in IMSA competition next season, and used its evening running to test out its new headlights.
As well as having lights in the usual position, which are stickers on regular NASCAR machinery, a lower second bank of light pods was nestled into its front fender just above the splitter. Ahead of the test, project manager Chad Knaus said it was the “first time they put headlights in a NASCAR car since however many years ago”.
Photo by: James Gilbert / Getty Images
The test car’s lap times are reported to compare to those at the top of the GTD class from last weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opener.
“It’s a bit of a moving target,” said Knaus of where he’d like the pace of the car to fit within the competitive order at Le Mans. “We’re not too versed in the BoP side of life, so we don’t have a movement on that, we’re about getting ultimate performance out of the car, so that’s really going to end [in the overall competitive order] with where the BoP ends up.
“If we can get ourselves where we’re just a pinch below the GTE car, and y’know, a little faster than what a GT3 car would be, that’s where we wanna be. If we can get there, great. But we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
After his first 20-lap session in the car, Button told NASCAR.com: “For me, it’s getting used to the position in the car. Obviously, there is body roll, it feels like it oversteers, but it’s not oversteering; it’s actually just the car itself taking a set.
“So the car runs like in the Cup Series, it runs very low at the rear, so on the banking it’s like sitting on the ground. So it’s a lot to learn, but it’s a race car. And I can work with a race car.”
The collaborative team of Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR, Chevrolet and Goodyear will now analyze the data and feedback from Button, Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller ahead of its next test at Sebring at the end of the month, where it will attempt a straight 18-24-hour endurance run.
“We’re still trying to work on the setup a little bit, but this test mainly was about getting miles, getting the group together the first time, work on driver change practice, tire testing and stuff like that,” said Rockenfeller in Daytona. “I think it’s another milestone in a way, but then we definitely still need a bit of testing after this.”