For the second year in a row the Mazda team has come out on top in testing for the Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month, with ace driver Olivier Pla running a whopping half-second quicker lap than last year’s record-breaker. Pla ran fastest of all this weekend, setting an impressive 1:33.324 lap time. This is compared to his teammate Oliver Jarvis’ 1:33.865 pole lap time this time last year.
By running fastest of the test session, the #77 Mazda that Pla shares with Jarvis and Tristan Nunez, will have first choice of pit stall and garage placement for the big race in a couple weeks time.
You can watch the full lap here.
It is important to remember that while Mazda smashed that lap record last year, both cars blew up in spectacular fashion during the 24 hour endurance race. The team has come a long way in the year that followed, however, winning three IMSA races in a row. It seems the team is ready to deliver at the 24 this year, but will luck be on their side?
Olivier Pla on his speedy lap:
“We knew this morning that the conditions would probably be fast with the cold air temperature but some sun, so we were expecting a fast lap time,” Pla said. “I’ve been told to push and to push hard so that’s what we did. I have to thank my team for allowing me to because the car was really good. We’ve been working always really hard. We are pleased with that. It doesn’t mean anything, but I think it just showed a continuity of last year.”
Acura Team Penske set the second and third fastest laps of the “qualifying” session, running just over two tenths off Pla’s pace. This is going to be a very good 24 this year, methinks.