The No. 99 Chevrolet, Corvette DP of Alex Gurney, John Fogarty, Memo Gidley and Darren Law leads the field to the start of the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona. (Photo: Richard Dole/LAT Photographic)
From the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, to the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, to the 100-minute Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at the Long Beach Street Circuit, the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season has started in style.
With all four TUDOR Championship classes now preparing for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda on May 4, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., FOX Sports announcers Bob Varsha, Calvin Fish, Dorsey Schroeder and Brian Till offered their thoughts on the season thus far.
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"I think the first two races of the season produced some tremendous battles. One of the things that stood out to me at Daytona was the closeness in three of the four classes right down to the end. Seeing the three classes each separated by 10-15 seconds or less was exciting. I thought the battle for GT Daytona showed how hard these guys are trying. Under the right circumstances, it’s going to produce more great racing.
"Sebring is always one of my favorite events, and I thought that was another terrific fight. It was good to see Ford come back with new technology and get back to Victory Lane after all these years away. I’m impressed with the way the variety of mechanical combinations have performed in the distances races. I think what Scot Elkins and his team has done has been terrific."
"We had massive fields before at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, but I don’t think we ever saw anything like the quality of the teams [this year], all the new machinery and an exemplary driver lineup. To come through the merger and come out of the box that strong was a statement of where the series is and the platform everyone wants. Daytona is our Super Bowl, and to come out of that race and have so many great battles was fantastic.
"We lost time due to incidents on track at Sebring, but that happens in racing. We had a great battle in the last hour of the race. Fans come to see an exciting finish, and we certainly saw it.
"I’ll put my hand up in the air and say I was one of the people who felt it would be awfully difficult to balance the DP and P2 race cars, but I think Scot Elkins and his whole team have done a tremendous job in getting them as close as they are right now. Sebring certainly showcased that – you really needed a very well-trained eye to notice the differences. It’s still evolving, going to race tracks with very different identities."
"We have had record spectator crowds, so obviously there’s interest among road racing fans..
"The closeness of the competition is the neat deal. There were a lot of questions of whether the two types of Prototypes could run with each other, and I think that’s been answered without a question. It’s awfully close, and the P2 cars aren’t very far off. I think Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is going to be a tide-changer. I think the P2 cars are going to be better suited to that environment than the tracks we’ve raced on so far."
"We saw Ford score its first overall win at Sebring since the 1960s, and the first win for the Corvette C7.R [at Long Beach], which was awesome for Chevrolet, and a great start for Porsche out of the box. It’s great to see Mike Shank running so strong – Ozz Negri was magic at Long Beach. It’s all been good and exciting. I’m fired up for the season.
"Hats off to Scot Elkins and the guys for what they’ve done, and more importantly for what they’re doing. They’re continuing to make improvements. Coming in, I felt it would take the better part of a season to get it right. That’s just the real world in the very, very competitive world of sports car racing."