04 January, 2014
British GT star Matt Bell will compete on American soil for the first time in his career this month when he heads Stateside for the ‘Rolex 24 at Daytona’. The British driver will join Paul Miller Racing, where he will compete in the Audi R8 GTD, for the famous 24-hour race on 25-26 January.
Before that though Matt is already at Daytona for the ‘Roar before the 24’, the traditional pre-event test. This is Matt’s first opportunity to see the Daytona track and also to get behind the wheel of the US-specification Audi R8.
“The car is slightly different to the LMS ultra that I have driven for the last couple of years in Europe,” explained Matt. “Overall though, on paper anyway, the car is very similar. It has less downforce, which will be the main thing to get used to, but I think it will be fairly similar to the original car that I drove back in 2010.
“This will be my first experience of American oval-style banking, which I'm looking forward to,” he continued. “I haven't raced at Daytona before but historically I've picked up circuits very quickly so I'm looking forward to the challenge. We have a very strong line-up; there are no weaknesses across the board. With the large number of cars on track the key will be staying out of trouble and putting in consistent stints, although hopefully there will be a few quick laps in there too.”
In addition to a new car, new team, new team-mates and a new track, Matt will have to do his homework to learn the US regulations too.
“This will be my first race in the US so I'm sure there will be differences,” he said. “I know safety car procedures and some other rules are a bit different, but that's more the engineers’ department. My job is to get in and drive quick, just the same as in Europe!”
The Roar before the 24 takes place at Daytona International Speedway in Florida on 4 - 6 January.