Chris Festa tests Daytona Prototype for 24 Hour Classic

Daytona, FL. On January, 5th and 6th, Chris Festa tested a Daytona Prototype for the first time for Samax Motorsports at the three day Grand Am tests in preparation for the 2007 edition of the 24 Hours of Daytona.  Joining the Grand Am regulars and drivers from NASCAR, Formula One, IndyCars and Champ Car, Chris enjoyed several new experiences at the test.  It was his first time in a Daytona Prototype, the first time driving at night, and first time lapping the fabled Daytona Speedway road course. 

Chris was invited to drive and test along with 3 other drivers vying for the 4th seat in the # 7 Samax car.  His first time on the track and in the car, came at the opening of night practice on Friday evening.  After 2 aborted starts to the session because of black flags caused by other cars hitting the barriers, Chris finally got 6 clean laps in before relinquishing the car to another driver.  Despite being his first try and after only 5 laps, Chris lapped faster than the other 3 drivers, all of whom had a previous practice session in the car.  The next day, Chris came back for his second session and first in the daylight.  His first lap equaled the time he had set the previous night, again outpacing the other drivers.  Unfortunately, another black flag ended Chris’ second session after only 2 laps.  Provided sponsorship is in place, Chris is hoping that his strong performance in the car with so few laps will win that 4th seat for the historic American 24 hour classic. 

“Driving the DP car was just fun,” said Chris after the weekend.  “You’re out there with 70 other cars with huge differences in car speed and driver experience.  You never know where some of the other cars are going to be.  The Daytona Prototype in some ways is like the Indy Pro car with similar downforce and acceleration, but it’s a blast to drive.  I need a little more time in the car to really explore its limits, but that’s what cool about this race; you have guys like Jeff Gordon from NASCAR, Juan Pablo Montoya from Formula One, Dixon and Weldon from Indy Cars all out there together with the regular Grand Am drivers.  It’s the only time these guys race each other and the entire weekend is a blast for the drivers and the fans.”