DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Alex Job Racing (AJR) drivers Bill Sweedler (Westport, Conn.), Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), Frankie Montecalvo (Highlands, N.J.), and Pierre Kaffer (Germany) put the all-new No. 23 Audi R8 LMS through its paces at this weekend's Roar Before the 24 test days at Daytona International Speedway.
During the three test days, the drivers and team got the opportunity to test the new Audi under several types of weather conditions - in preparation for the Rolex 24 At Daytona later this month. Friday it was sunny and 70 degrees. Saturday it rained, with temperatures in the low 40s. Sunday it was sunny in the low 40s. This variety gave the team quite a bit of data to use for the race, which historically has seen sun and rain, with warm and cool temperatures during the twice around the clock race.
"It's a testament to the Alex Job Racing team to come out here and run in the top five consistently," Sweedler said. "The team did an amazing job with Audi North America to get the car prepped and ready. I can't be thankful enough to both of them. I'm excited to have my three teammates. We literally met Frankie and Pierre three days ago and we've already gelled together as a team. Now, we're focused on the race. The balance on the car is staggering. It's just a comfortable car to drive. The brakes are tremendous. The overall package is one of the best I've ever driven."
"I'm really proud of the AJR team and the brand new car," Bell said. "Audi did a great job, worked their tails off over the holidays for us, as did the whole AJR crew. We're proud to be here. Things ran really smoothly [this weekend]. We really enjoyed it. I think we got a lot of really good information. Track temperature is probably the biggest thing here. Typically, when you come back for the race, it's always warmer here. We got a little bit of heat here on Friday. But, it was really cold last night and this morning. I think we got a pretty good spectrum of information for something that came together late. I couldn't be happy for the way everyone showed up ready to go."
"I think it went great," Montecalvo said of testing. "Like Townsend said, we got the car late. It was a last minute deal for everyone. I don't think any of us had turned a lap in this car [Audi] yet. But, for us to get up to speed like that, it shows the team and Audi do a great job. I think we're all still learning the car and getting up to speed. It's very impressive that we've gone so fast out of the box."
"I'm really surprised at how good the car was right out of the box," Kaffer said. "It's an honor to drive with Alex Job. It's also an honor to drive with my teammates. The car is in very good shape. We're all please with the set-up. I'm really looking forward to the race. It's always nice to be back [in Daytona]. I have some experience with the car. So, I try to help as much as possible so we don't need so much time to set-up the car. For me, it's no surprise that the new Audi R8 is a really great car. We've proven this many times. With all the manufacturers, I think it will be a really hard race here and I'm really looking forward to it."
"It was one of the best tests we have had here in my 22 years of coming to Daytona," Alex Job, team owner, said. "Bill, Townsend, Frankie and Pierre all did a great job. They didn't put a wheel wrong all weekend and we completed our testing plan. The new Audi is a fantastic car and my guys love to work on it. Now it is prep time for the 24."
The Rolex 24 At Daytona race weekend is set for Jan. 26-29. The green flag drops at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Jan. 28, with pre-race coverage on FOX starting at 2 p.m. (ET). FOX will carrying the first two and a half hours of the race before switching over to FOX Sports 2 from 5 to 10 p.m. (ET) and then again from 11 p.m. (ET) to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. Race coverage will continue on FOX Sports 1 at 12:30 p.m. through the end of the race.
After the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Sweedler, Bell and Montecalvo will continue to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup. This season, race fans can following Alex Job Racing on Instagram @alexjobracing.
Alex Job Racing
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 70 wins (since 1995); including two Rolex 24 GT Class wins in 1999 and 2013. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won five championships (GTC 2013, 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts ten Sebring 12-hour wins.
Audi of America
Audi began a new chapter in 2009 with the introduction of the Audi Sport customer racing program. For the first time, it was possible for motorsport customers to acquire a race car designed for the track. Since its inception, the success of the R8 LMS has been significant throughout GT3 racing series worldwide, with multiple victories in the Pirelli World Challenge since 2012. The all-new R8 LMS had strong endurance racing debuts, winning both the 2015 24 hours of Nürburgring and the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, concluding the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech season with the Manufacturer's Championship in GTD. The Audi R8 LMS shares more than 50% of its parts with the Audi R8 street car including the naturally aspirated V10 5.2 liter engine, the Audi Space Frame and a variety of other components. Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. The Audi Group delivered over 1,800,000 vehicles to customers globally in 2015, and broke all-time company sales records for the 6th straight year in the U.S. Visit audiusa.com, audiusa.com/newsroom or audiusa.com/motorsport for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.