The #29 ORECA Gibson of Frits van Eerd, Giedo van der Garde, Job van Uitert and Charles Milesi didn’t reach Daytona International Speedway until FP1 was already underway, yet 30 minutes into FP2 the Dutch car was heading the session thanks to a 1min37.991sec lap from van der Garde.
It will be the first appearance in the iconic race for Racing Team Nederland and all four drivers, but the squad was beset by travel issues.
Following the WEC round in Bahrain last November, the team’s equipment was put on a cargo ship for the U.S. but team manager Mark Koense says arrival times set by the shipping company proved very wide of the mark.
“Everything was shipped out in time,” said Koense, “but we lost time at sea. About a week ago, we started to get messages that they were losing time at sea and there was a problem at the port in New York.”
Nevertheless, the car should still have arrived at Daytona on Thursday night but then the truck carrying the shipment from the port was delayed.
“So, things went from rather worrying to impossible because the car arrived during the first session,” continued Koense. “The team again has done a fantastic job, too, because everything is in there, it’s almost together.
“Little bit of a false start but we’re happy to be here and we’ve had a great reception from IMSA. Everybody has been very helpful.
“The rest of the week can only go better. You know when you enter any motor race, it’s not going to go as you planned. But obviously to not have any car is way off your plan. But again, you have to learn to deal with that.
“We’re happy to be here with the world being what it is. It’s a privilege to be here together with all the other competitors.
“We also have an eye on the future, so for us it’s a great way to prepare for the world championship and a great way to do our first IMSA race and to see what we can do in the future.
“And it’s a great event, let’s face it.”