Testing in florida
After the show, the car was immediately shipped east, where SRRT/Phoenix made final preparations for testing during a GRAND-AM test session at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Homestead, Florida) November 30 to December 1.
The team was pleased by #35’s showing at Homestead, where it ran in the top five during the test sessions and posted top times.
A few weeks later, SRRT returned to Florida January 7 to 9, 2011, for GRAND-AM testing at Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach). Times for the five sessions in which #35 was driven were consistent, and they were more than three seconds faster than lap times set by last year’s #35 STI on the same track in 2010.
GRAND-AM 200, January 27-28, 2011
The true test of a car’s (and a team’s) mettle is in the racing. With all systems finally in place, running race tires and proper turbocharger setups, SRRT practiced, qualified, and raced the first event on the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at the end of January. Everyone had found additional speed during the break since the last race of 2010. Even though #35 was four to five seconds faster than it had been on the same track in 2010, so was everyone else.
After resolving a cooling problem in the opening laps that placed it at the end of the Grand Sport class, the team took #35 through the 33-car starting field to as high as 6th. After running in the top 12 most of the race, it finished 13th. Most importantly, the car ran flawlessly flat out during the race. It handled well and was fastest in the infield. All the new tweaks and designs worked as planned, with no issues. SRRT looked forward to the rest of the season, particularly the road courses that begin in April at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.
To see more images of #35 and the team on the test days, click here.
To see more images of #35 and the team from the GRAND-AM 200, click here.