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Stroll relishing Rolex 24 challenge at Daytona
Old 24 Jan 2016 13:55
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Lance Stroll heads in to the unknown next weekend when the Canadian competes in the Rolex 24 At Daytona (30-31 Jan). Seventeen-year-old Stroll, the youngest competitor in the top prototype class and second youngest in the entire 54-car field, will be making his sports car debut in his maiden 24 hour race.

Stroll, a member of the Williams Martini Racing Young Driver Development Programme, races a Claritin/Target Ford EcoBoost Prototype for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing in the 54th running of the world-famous event staged at the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway in Florida. Lance, who shares the Ford with Brendon Hartley (NZ), Andy Priaulx (GB) and Alex Wurz (A), is excited but under no illusion of the task that lies ahead.

Until the “Roar” test earlier this month (8-10 Jan), Stroll had never seen the legendary venue let lone driven on it. The three-day event also marked the first time he had actually driven a sports-prototype. And with just over 220-miles under his belt from the “Roar’, single-seater racer Stroll faces numerous challenges.

Lance achieved 17 top-six overall race finishes in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship last year – a series he contests again in 2016 with Prema Powerteam. His Dallara-Mercedes single-seater racing car, weighing 565kg and offering around 240bhp from its two-litre normally aspirated engine, competes in “sprint” races lasting approximately 30mins. This coming weekend Stroll races a Ford sports car boasting 600-bhp, tips the scales at 1,039kg, while Lance could face up to 240mins behind the wheel in any one “stint”.

Practice begins on Thursday (28 Jan) followed by qualifying.

“My goal is obviously to win – like every race I enter. My aim is to be consistent, have good pace, stay out of trouble and bring the car home safely in one piece for one of my team-mates to take over. The Claritin/Target Ford EcoBoost Prototype is a lot heavier and has more power than what I’m normally used to racing. The [Continental] tyres are new to me too while scheduled pit-stops are something else new for me. With 54-cars racing in four different classes there are big differences in car performance in terms of outright speed and braking characteristics so you need to fully concentrate every second of each lap. The duration of driving stints will be at least double to what I’m used to. Before a ‘sprint’ F3 race, I normally get a good night’s sleep but I could be getting woken up at 3am and strapped in the car an hour later. So in essence absolutely everything is completely different to what I’ve grown up with and what I’m used to but it’ll be a great challenge and I’m really, really looking forward to it. In terms of the Daytona track layout, it’s not massively difficult or technical but because of that very aspect, a driver must appreciate it.”
Tags: 2016 daytona24

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