Jeff Gordon may have retired from his full-time position behind the wheel of the No. 24 Chevrolet in NASCAR, but that doesn’t mean the four-time champion’s desire to win has disappeared. Gordon will pilot Wayne Taylor Racing’s new Cadillac DPi-V.R in the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month – and he’s looking to win the coveted endurance race.
Speaking to Autoweek, Gordon said he’s approaching his time at Daytona in the DPi-V.R as if he’s a “rookie.” He might have plenty of racing experience, but before this past weekend’s Roar Before the 24 practice session, the racing veteran had only driven the DPi-V.R once and had yet to be on track with other IMSA competitors.
“I’m pushing myself to be as strong as I can possibly be,” Gordon said. “I never like to be the weak link in an organization or a team and I have three phenomenal drivers who are going to push me. I’m enjoying it very much and having fun, but this is a race I’d like to win.”
According to Autoweek, Gordon has made getting into better shape ahead of Daytona a priority. The acceleration, braking and turning forces of a Prototype-class racecar can all be physically taxing for a driver that isn’t used to it, so Gordon’s been consulting a personal trainer. WTR teammate Jordan Taylor said the dedication Gordon has shown since climbing aboard makes it obvious why his career has been so successful.
“You can see why he’s found success, because he focuses on every aspect of what goes in the race,” said Taylor. “He’s extremely humble. He came in with questions. We were expecting to ask HIM questions for ideas and stuff, which we do, but he was asking us straight away what to expect in our world of sports car racing, how to work traffic, how to work cold tires, cold brakes, restarts.”
“Even today, we were on pit road and he was asking questions about different cars and what to expect,” he added.
Gordon will get his first shot at winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona when the race goes green at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 28th.