Kyle Busch’s offseason champions tour is taking a different turn. See, just a little less than two months ago, Busch was celebrating his second career NASCAR Cup Series championship at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. That was in mid November. Now, in early January, Busch is a few hours north of Homestead at the Daytona International Speedway preparing for a different kind of race.
Busch, is at Daytona a full month early as he’s going to be racing in the annual Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona later this month for AIM Vasser Sullivan Racing. He was onhand at DIS on Friday to take part in the Roar Before The 24 test session for all the IMSA teams this weekend. The Las Vegas native hopped behind the wheel of his No. 14 Lexus RCF GT3 entry shortly after 11 a.m. ET on Friday morning to log laps for the first time of his career in a sports car.
He will share this car with Jack Hawksworth, Parker Chase and Michael De Quesada in the prestigious event.
For Busch, he was grateful Hawksworth went out early to shake the car down so he can hop in prepared.
“Jack (Hawksworth) took the first run and had an opportunity to kind of baseline it, shake it down a little bit,” Busch said from the Daytona International Speedway Media Center on Friday afternoon. “I got my turn at the wheel and was able to run some pretty decent times, I guess, that’s what the guys said anyway.”
Busch said that he’s going to have a lot to unlearn at Daytona in terms of getting fully up to speed. He’s only known NASCAR. He’s spent decades in the sport and has honestly become arguably the most talented driver in the garage. By spending that much time in one sport, he’s perfected a driving style. But, an IMSA car has a different technique than driving a stock car. Busch said on Friday that his biggest adjustment is to get rid of his NASCAR mentality when behind the wheel of his new Lexus.
“Certainly a lot to improve on still,” Busch continued. “I’ve got my NASCAR driving techniques just embedded in my brain and I’ve got to get rid of those a little bit more.”
Another thing Busch said he can adapt on is the braking system of these cars. You don’t have to brake as early in the corners in them than you would say a NASCAR.
“I’m used to our big heavy stock cars that you have to start the slow down process way early and the braking zone is forever,” Busch said. “Completely different techniques that you got to work with on these cars. You can drive the snot out of them.”
Luckily though, Busch does have a couple of more days to get used to these machines. He said that each seat time is so valuable for his confidence for the race in a couple of weeks.
“I was definitely getting more comfortable and pushing more and more,” Busch continued. “I’m ready for next session to get behind the wheel to kind of fine tune my marks a little bit more and get more finesse. Right now it’s pretty sloppy I feel like. Once I can get some laps out there and get a sense of where I need to be it will clean up.”
Busch, does have one start on the Daytona road course back in 2009 when he and Scott Speed raced a sports car race prior to the Coke Zero 400.
“It was in the middle of the day and it was a 1,000 degrees inside the car,” Busch recalled. “We had the NASCAR race that night and I remember just being flushed after that race was over because it was so hot. We didn’t fare too well. I’m looking forward hopefully to being much faster this time around.”