Austin Dillon hoping his Rolex 24 debut on Daytona highway course will elevate NASCAR recreation

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Looking for so as to add some new accents to his NASCAR road-course recreation, Austin Dillon already felt achieved earlier than hitting the monitor for his Rolex 24 at Daytona debut.

In his first videoconference to fulfill the members of the RWR Eurasia workforce that may subject the No. 51 ORECA he will probably be racing this weekend at Daytona Worldwide Speedway, Dillon obtained a significant style of the worldwide taste of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Sequence.

“The cool half about it, you’re working with guys from throughout totally different international locations,” Dillon instructed NBC Sports activities. “I’ve obtained one man from England, one man’s from New Zealand, or possibly Australia. There are a bunch of individuals from the Philippines which can be engaged on the automotive.

“Simply that facet of bringing a complete numerous group collectively to attempt to win a 24-hour race is cool.”

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There will probably be greater than only a class victory on the road for the 2018 Daytona 500 winner, who will probably be teamed with NASCAR veteran Cody Ware, Porsche manufacturing unit driver Sven Mueller of Germany and Salih Yoluc of Turkey.

Dillon missed the NASCAR Cup Sequence race on the Daytona Worldwide Speedway highway course final August due to a optimistic COVID-19 take a look at. After NASCAR changed the Fontana, California, race with Daytona on the 2021 schedule (bringing the variety of highway course races to seven, plus the exhibition Conflict at Daytona subsequent month), Dillon started lobbying his workforce “to determine as many road-course races as we will, as many automobiles as we will get in” to organize.

His grandfather and NASCAR workforce proprietor Richard Childress helped dealer the deal to place him Rick Ware’s automotive.

“Highway course racing isn’t something I’ve a variety of expertise in, so I’m doing my greatest to get higher at it as a result of NASCAR goes to increasingly highway programs, and it’s beginning to get extra comfy,” Dillon mentioned. “I feel I could make strides there. It’s someplace I’ve obtained to make strides, and I really feel prefer it’s there if I get extra expertise.

<strong><em>Austin Dillon talked with fellow NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger while in the Daytona International Speedway garage for the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test session last Saturday (IMSA).</em></strong>
Austin Dillon talked with fellow NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger whereas within the Daytona Worldwide Speedway storage for the Roar Earlier than the Rolex 24 take a look at session final Saturday (IMSA).

“I’m pumped. I ran that simulator final week within the LMP2 automotive, and it was simply completely totally different. We drive race automobiles, however these are race automobiles. Every part is constructed to go quick. Whole downforce, most quantity of breaking, energy and paddle shifters. It’s a complete different stage of into the longer term in comparison with the place our Cup automobiles are. And it’s simply good to drive one thing like that. Non-stock.

Dillon and Cody Ware not too long ago examined on a Dallara simulator in Indianapolis, and Dillon additionally obtained some sports-car expertise in December by racing a Camaro (with Kaz Grala and Tyler Reddick) in a club-level race at Circuit of the Americas (which additionally will play host to the NASCAR Cup Sequence this yr).

There have been 90 automobiles in that race, which helped acclimate Dillon to dodging slower automobiles (spec Miatas in that occasion). Within the LMP2 at Daytona, Dillon will probably be within the second quickest of 5 lessons and will probably be lapping GT automobiles usually on the 12-turn, 3.56-mile format.

Dillon slowly was getting up to the mark, operating a number of seconds off the highest tempo whereas making eight laps in observe final Friday and Saturday. The sports activities automotive “teaches a brand new thought course of on braking” that includes a various software of the brake pedal and timing of the flip that’s a lot totally different than the Cup Sequence (an adjustment that Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson also are making).

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“I feel the final word purpose is to be as quick and aggressive as the opposite guys within the group,” Dillon mentioned. “However they obtained me by a ton of expertise. I’m going to work exhausting. Within the simulator take a look at, my pace was there fairly good, however I’ve obtained to again it up at monitor. My sim instances have been robust, however whenever you’re driving a automotive that’s price some huge cash, you may creep up on that pace threshold for a short time.

“These issues are simply spectacular automobiles. So I don’t need to damage it for everyone simply making an attempt to catch these guys in relation to only a lap time.”

Dillon additionally will probably be operating the Conflict forward of the Daytona 500 and has rented a home within the Daytona Seaside due to an almost monthlong residency in Central Florida.

“I’m going to be in a automotive lots the subsequent couple of weeks,” he mentioned. “It’ll be wild.”

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