Special Motorsports Events - AIM/FXDD Wrap-Up Daytona Testing
DAYTONA BEACH, Jan. 9, 2013: The No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD and No. 61 R.Ferri AIM Motorsport Racing with Ferrari F458s wrapped up their first official event as a two-car GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series team with positive results this past weekend at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona test, January 4 – 6.
The No. 69 AIM/FXDD Ferrari F458 and drivers Emil Assentato, Anthony Lazzaro, Nick Longhi and Guy Cosmo ended up ninth fastest overall in the GT ranks at the end of the three-day test while the debuting sister No. 61 AIM/R.Ferri Ferrari F458 improved in every session. Full-season No. 61 teammates Jeff Segal and Max Papis will be joined by Ferrari stalwarts Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month.Cosmo has previous endurance racing experience with FXDD and co-drove with Segal and Assentato in the 2011 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
“This weekend was just really productive,” Cosmo said. “We learned a lot and had a lot of things we were trying to improve on the car. The AIM boys are great. They are very methodical about how they go about learning things, deciphering what’s important and what we can save for homework after the test. We’ve got a good idea of what we want to show back up with when we get back here at the end of the month.”
Assentato and Segal co-drove the No. 69 to the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT championship but have strategically divided ranks within the team this year.
“Ultimately we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Assentato said. “Of course, with Jeff on the other car we are getting some data back and forth between the two cars. The two cars, even though they look identical, are not really reacting quite the same so there’s still work to be done. The pace can be very hard in this race so we need a good setup on the car and that’s what we are really fighting to get.”
Lazzaro turned the No. 69 AIM/FXDD Ferrari’s top time of the weekend in Saturday morning’s opening practice with a lap at 1:49.415 (117.132 mph).
Segal was pleased with the improvement of the No. 61 AIM/R.Ferri Ferrari through the weekend.
“By Sunday, day three, we were working on setup in earnest,” Segal said. “The car got quicker and quicker every session. By the end of it we had a good balance and all of the other drivers were comfortable. We have good communication between drivers and engineers. Not a whole lot more you can ask for.”
Papis returns to fulltime GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series competition this year but co-drove to the 2004 Daytona Prototype title with Scott Pruett just two years after being part of the overall winning team at the Rolex 24.
“I’m real excited,” Papis said. “I think that we progressively got better. We went through our test list as we wanted and tried all of our different configurations. I feel really comfortable with what we want coming back for the race. Now it’s a matter of executing during the race. I know that the guys, R.Ferri/AIM are going to prepare the car in the best way that they can. I really have no doubt that, with mechanical issues aside, we are going to fighting for a top-five finish in the race.”