Mectech Motorsport team optimistic after Roar before the 24 test at Daytona

Echo: Bradley Smith got his first drive in the Marsh Racing Daytona Protoype ahead of the Rolex 24 Bradley Smith got his first drive in the Marsh Racing Daytona Protoype ahead of the Rolex 24

MECTECH Motorsport are adopting a wait and see policy for drivers Bradley Smith and Lewis Plato ahead of the Rolex 24 race at Daytona.

The Billericay drivers spent the weekend testing at the Roar before the 24 at the world-famous Florida circuit.

The pair return to America at the end of the month with Smith driving in the 24-hour endurance event for Marsh Racing and Plato competing in the 200-mile Grand-Am 200 support race.

“The Marsh Racing team has made significant improvements to the car but there are a few minor teething problems they hope to have resolved by the race,” said Mectech owner Mike Smith.

“It is a new car and a new team and there are a few toys that they did not get fitted for the test which they hope to have ready for the race, which should help.

“We will have to see how it pans out and we will go for the experience but things are looking pretty good.”

Bradley will be driving in the Marsh Racing Daytona Prototype sports car as part of a four-driver line-up.

It was the first time the 22-year-old had driven the 2014-spec Chevrolet-powered car, although he drove a 2013 Action Express team Daytona Prototype during an impressive first test at Daytona in November.

He was the fastest driver in the 2013-spec cars last time out and third fastest overall in testing.

But this time he found himself around 1.4 seconds off the pace as the Marsh Racing car suffered with understeer on the 3.46-mile circuit.

“They were close to the pacesetters but there was a problem with understeer which the team are hoping to have sorted for the race,” added Mike.

“They are also hoping to have the traction control and a new differential on the car for the race, so that should help too as both are worth around half a second a lap.”

Smith and his team-mates ex-Formula One, IndyCar and NASCAR driver Max Papis, Boris Said and Eric Curran finished 14th fastest over the eight test session with a time of one minute 40.735 seconds.

The Action Express Racing team were fastest with 1:38.630 and Spirit of Daytona second quickest with 1:38.898.

Mike admitted it was a new feeling to be chasing the pace instead of setting it as the Mectech team had been used to last season as his son powered his way to the Radical SR3 Challenge title.

But he added that his son is optimistic about the endurance race on January 25 and 26.

Plato was satisfied with his test with the Mitchum Motorsports team once he had got accustomed to the engine and gearbox set up on the car. The 20-year-old will race with American driver Cameron Lawrence in the Grand-Am 200.

Bradley won his drive in the Rolex 24 endurance race after securing the 2013 Radical SR3 Challenge championship to net the Sunoco Daytona Challenge. Plato accrued sufficient points from his Radical Clubman’s Cup campaign to secure the Sunoco Grand-Am 200 challenge prize of a seat in the support race.

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