Chip Ganassi Racing’s return to the prototype ranks of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has come in a “challenging” condensed timeframe according to Scott Dixon.
CGR announced in mid-November it would field a Cadillac DPi-V.R in the 2021 season after a one-year hiatus from IMSA competition, with preparations in full swing over the short off-season.
The team took part in a test day at Sebring International Raceway on Tuesday and ran through as much as they could before heading to Daytona International Speedway for this weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24.
Dixon, who will drive alongside Renger van der Zande and Kevin Magnussen as well as reserve driver Marcus Ericsson at the Roar, says the road to Daytona has not been simple.
“It’s been pretty good, but obviously late to the game, that’s probably the most challenging part to the process,” he said.
“I think they only got the car four or five weeks ago so between adding this program and all the other [CGR] programs there’s a lot of people you need in a short amount of time.
“It’s definitely been an interesting process from the get-go and Chip only has one thing in mind and that’s to try and win.
“It’s definitely going to be a steep learning curve for the team and everybody involved.
“Daytona is one of my favorite races of the season to kick it off and to have this partnership back with the same team is awesome.”
Dixon and co-driver van der Zande are defending race winners, with the latter bringing considerable Cadillac DPi experience to the table.
CGR has won at Daytona six times overall but is making its first prototype start since 2016 and first with a DPi.
“Renger has spent much more time in this car and many more miles and Kevin has brought a totally different style to the team [from Formula 1],” added Dixon of the lineup.
“So there’s a lot of things that drivers bring over from other teams that re-question the way you do things and that’s very refreshing a lot of the time.
“Probably on setup and some procedures Renger will have a pretty good mindset of what he’s used to the last few years but then again Ganassi run down their own track and put their own twist on it.
“It will need a little bit of time to get sorted.”
Team Set for Three-Driver Lineup for Rolex 24
Ericsson is listed on the entry for the Roar, however, it has not been confirmed if he will be in the car for the Rolex 24.
When asked about Ericsson’s role, Dixon said, “As far as I know it’s just three drivers for the race.”
Magnussen and Ericsson both banked a number of laps earlier this week at the test as the squad ran through the motions.
“I started the day on Tuesday and you got to imagine new car, new data systems so really just getting a lot of functionality to the car,” commented Dixon.
“Both Kevin and Marcus ran for most of the day I got in right in at the end so they definitely ran some laps.”