All five IMSA GTP manufacturers – including Lamborghini’s new SC63 LMDh challenger – will be in action on Wednesday and Thursday at the 3.56-mile, 12-turn road course that incorporates sections of the high-banked oval.

The opening day is for prototypes only, with GTD contenders joining on Thursday to make it an expected 43 cars on track in total.

Despite having a full season of racing under its belt, and winning the title with its Action Express-run car, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Bourdais believes there remains much to be unleashed from the 5.5-liter, V8-powered Caddy.

That process begins with two day/night sessions this week, ahead of the Roar Before the 24 test for all teams on 20-22 January and the Daytona 24 Hours opener on 28-29 January.

“Toward the end of the season with the couple of tests we had, we started to learn more about the car and what makes it go and what doesn’t work,” said ex-F1 racer and four-time Champ Car champion Bourdais. “It’s just going to take time.

“People think we’ve had a lot of testing, but it was all centered toward homologation and reliability. We’re still really green on knowledge of the car as far as designing setups and getting performance out of it.

“Since we homologated the car, there’s really been little time to optimize it and understand it as far as finding that last half a second that’s a game-changer when you come to race weekends. It’s going to be a continuous learning process, trying to make numbers fall into place and validate the reads.”

Bourdais will again be partnered by Renger van der Zande for the full IMSA season, with CGR’s IndyCar star Scott Dixon joining for the endurance events.

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

#31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac V-LMDh Cadillac V- LMDh: Pipo Derani, Alexander Sims, Jack Aitken

In the sister Action Express team, Jack Aitken replaces Alexander Sims alongside Pipo Derani – who claimed his second IMSA top-class prototype title last year.

“Like any new car, you always want more testing, more practice time,” said Derani. “Especially when it’s such a complex racecar with the hybrid and a heavy car makes it for a longer road in terms of development.

“We’re a year and a bit into the development of this car but only just now starting to understand a few things that make sense to the setup and how we make this car go quicker. Still a lot to improve from everyone.

“It’s always a learning process and you have to be humble enough to know you have to continue that way if you want to succeed in this series.”

GM sports car racing program manager Laura Wontrop Klauser said of the Daytona test: “We’ll be taking all the lessons from 24 hours of racing this year and apply to see what we can do to get ready for next year.

“One of the things that we’re excited about with our carryover program for ’24 is we’re able to focus on the car and understanding it more as well as making sure we have all the support on the GM and Dallara side ready to help the teams be successful.

“One of the most challenging things this year has been the lack of time. We’ve been running race to race to race, and we’d occasionally slip in a test. Really, it was our race schedule in 2023 that kept us busy, which was phenomenal because you can’t have a better test than a race to see what you can do with the car.

“So, it will be nice to be back at Daytona, focus on a test plan.”

Cadillac was a contender for victory in last year’s Daytona 24 Hours but it was eventually outpaced by Acura’s ARX-06 cars – although the winning Meyer Shank Racing entry was later found to have manipulated tire data and was penalized.

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