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2013 Grand-Am News And Notes: Rolex 24 At Daytona
Posted by: newsla on Jan 23, 2013 - 06:28 PM
Grand Am News
2013 Grand-Am News And Notes: Rolex 24 At Daytona


Fast Facts

ROLEX SPORTS CAR SERIES

The Race: Rolex 24 At Daytona
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Track: 3.56-mile speedway road course
The Day/Time: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
The Race Length: 24 Hours
TV: SPEED/Motors TV
Saturday (3-11 p.m.)
Sunday (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
Radio: MRN Radio/Radio Le Mans
3 p.m. Saturday - 4 p.m. Sunday
*All times ET

 

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CONTINENTAL TIRE SPORTS CAR CHALLENGE

The Race: BMW Performance 200
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Track: 3.56-mile speedway road course
The Date/Time: Friday, 1:45 p.m. ET
The Race Length: 2 hours, 30 minutes
TV: SPEED - Feb. 2, 4 p.m. (ET)

Daytona 500 Champs Waltrip, McMurray Headline All-Star Entry List

The 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona will feature a star-studded cast of stars from the NASCAR, open-wheel and international sports car ranks. Led by Daytona 500 winners Michael Waltrip and Jamie McMurray, the NASCAR contingent includes 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series runner-up Clint Bowyer, who will team with Waltrip in the No. 55 AF-Waltrip Ferrari 458, and Juan Pablo Montoya in the defending Rolex Series champion No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing BMW/Riley. Marcos Ambrose and AJ Allmendinger will drive for defending Rolex 24 champion Michael Shank Racing. Ambrose and Allmendinger will be joined by IndyCar regular Justin Wilson in the No. 60 Ford/Riley.

Wilson is one of several open-wheel standouts in this year’s Rolex 24, with Chip Ganassi Racing regulars Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon leading an impressive cast. They will be joined by teammate Charlie Kimball, who will make his Rolex 24 debut for CGR.

Sebastien Bourdais returns with Starworks Motorsport in the No. 2 Ford/Riley, while Max Papis (R.Ferri Motorsport/AIM Autosport) and Christian Fittipaldi (Action Express Racing) return to the Rolex Series full-time this year.

Formula One Grand Prix winner Rubens Barrichello and former IndyCar champion Tony Kanaan are part of a two-car GT entry from Dener Motorsport. IndyCar vet Paul Tracy will co-drive the No. 77 Doran Racing Ford/Riley with Dr. Jim Lowe, Colin Braun and Jon Bennett. 2012 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Simon Pagenaud will anchor Team Sahlen’s DP class debut, joined by 2002 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Bruno Junqueira, Dane Cameron and Wayne Nonnamaker.

Repeat 24: Michael Shank Racing Returns With Stout Lineup

The 50th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona was the realization of a dream for Michael Shank Racing team owner Michael Shank. The longtime Rolex Series team owner and driver saw his team pick up its first Rolex 24 victory with a double podium in the Daytona classic, with Ozz Negri, John Pew, AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson holding off Starworks Motorsports in a down-to-the-wire battle.

This year, Michael Shank Racing returns with two DPs. The 2012 winning lineup returns in the No. 60 Ford/Riley, joined by NASCAR road course ace Marcos Ambrose.

Shank’s sister No. 6 Ford/Riley set the pace in the final Roar Before the Rolex 24 test session, with Michael Valiante setting the fastest time of the three-day session on Jan. 6-8. Valiante will be joined by Jorge Goncalvez, Gustavo Yacaman and Chris Cumming for the Rolex 24.

Defending Series Champion Pruett Eyes Rolex 24 Record

In his role as Grand Marshal of the 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona, Hurley Haywood will give the command to start engines on Saturday afternoon as the lone five-time overall winner of America’s premier endurance race.

Twenty-four hours later, he may have company in that elite group when he presents the trophies in victory lane.

Scott Pruett has four overall victories in the Rolex 24, including victories with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in 2007, 2008 and 2011. He returns to the No. 01 TELMEX/Target BMW/Riley with Memo Rojas seeking their fourth consecutive Daytona Prototype title. They will be joined by two-time Rolex 24 winner Juan Pablo Montoya and Charlie Kimball at the Rolex 24.

Pruett – a nine-time class winner of the Rolex 24 (Haywood has six class victories) – is also entered in Ganassi’s No. 02 Target/TELMEX BMW/Riley, joining IndyCar champions Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon, 2010 Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray and Joey Hand.

Pruett is GRAND-AM’s all-time leader in career victories, with 39. He won the 2004 DP crown with Max Papis in addition to joining Rojas in winning in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Encore: Starworks Motorsport Opens 2013 Season With Unfinished Business

There wasn’t much left for Starworks Motorsport to accomplish in 2012.
In a breakthrough campaign for the Peter Baron-led Florida-based squad, Starworks won races at Watkins Glen and the inaugural GRAND-AM race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in addition to capturing the North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.com.

Other milestones included class victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans, as Starworks became the first North American team to win an FIA World Championship in 46 years with its World Endurance Championship LMP2 title.

Starworks narrowly missed two more accomplishments in 2012, falling just 5.198 seconds short of a Rolex 24 victoriy and 12 points shy of the DP championship. They will look to check one of those near misses off this January with a solid two-car effort.

Lead drivers Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow team with endurance legend Allan McNish and four-time open-wheel champion Sebastien Bourdais in the team’s No. 2 Ford/Riley. Sunoco Challenge winner Ivan Bellarosa and open-wheel veteran Scott Mayer lead the lineup for the team’s No. 8 Sunoco Ford/Riley.

Dalziel finished second in 2007, driving a DP fielded by Starworks owner Peter Baron and won the Rolex 24 in 2010, joining Terry Borcheller, Joao Barbosa and Mike Rockenfeller in Action Express Racing’s debut.

Daytona, Indy Winner Magnus Racing Hoping For Repeat Of Big Race Magic

Magnus Racing entered 2012 without a Rolex Series victory; they closed out the year with victories in two of the biggest races of the season.

Led by Andy Lally and John Potter, Magnus pulled off the GT class upset in the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 with co-drivers Richard Lietz and Rene Rast. What could have been dismissed as a fluke proved to be a sign of things to come when Lally and Potter returned to victory lane in the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, winning the North American Endurance Championship’s GT title.

Entering 2013, Magnus Racing is eyeing a repeat at Daytona with Lally, Potter and Lietz joined by Nicolas Armindo in the No. 44 Porsche GT3.

Lally is riding a streak of five consecutive GT podium finishes in the Rolex 24, including victories with TRG in 2009 and 2011.
Lally also won the SPR II class in 2001 for Archangel Motorsports for a total of four Rolex 24 victories.

Magnus Racing was off to a quick start at January’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 test session, posting the fastest time in two sessions.

“This was an extremely productive weekend,” said team owner John Potter. “It’s clear we’re ready for this year. The car was fast, and Nicolas really impressed all of us. He was immediately quick, and I think he’s finally warmed up to our sense of humor.

“It was also great to see such a strong debut for everyone at the No. 45. To have them set a top time during one of the sessions showed just what kind of program and car we have, and no one put a wheel wrong the whole time.”

Le Mans, Sebring Star Biela Set For First Rolex 24 With Rum Bum Racing

Frank Biela is tied for third in all-time victories in both the 24 Hours of Le Mans (five times) and 12 Hours of Sebring (four victories). This weekend, the German veteran is set for his first attempt in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, when he joins Christopher Haase, Markus Winkelhock and Matt Plumb in the No. 13 Rum Bum Audi R8.

“It’s unbelievable that I’ve been around for 30 years but never did Daytona before,” said Biela, a two-time ALMS champion. “When I tested there I was surprised at how quickly we got through the infield, and then how long we were on the long banking. But it’s really good fun and very interesting. Another big difference is being in the smaller (GT) class. When I did ALMS, I was in the prototypes, trying to get around the slower cars. Now, it’s the other way around, and watching the mirrors has a completely different value. That’s going to be quite difficult to get used to.”

Rum Bum Racing will also be making its Rolex Series debut after winning the 2012 team championship in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS class. Rum Bum’s Rolex 24 effort will be aided with support from Audi Sport customer racing.

“It’s been absolutely fantastic working with everyone at Audi Sport customer racing,” said Plumb. “They’re all very non-threatening, very competitive, super knowledgeable about this particular car and this particular chassis. They all have experience driving it in some form in Europe and many have been involved in the testing of this car. They have incredible feedback and you can tell why they have been selected to be Audi factory drivers–they are at the top of their game. To be able to drive in a program like this with some of the guys we have in the car with me it’s really an honor for me.”

Rolex 24 To Have Round-The-Clock Television, Radio, International Coverage

Race fans from around the world will be able to follow this weekend’s 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona flag-to-flag, thanks to stepped up coverage by GRAND-AM’s media partnership team.

SPEED will partner with SPEEDTV.com to provide 25 hours of coverage, including 30-minute pre-race and post-race shows. SPEED will begin Saturday’s race day broadcast at 3 p.m. ET, covering the race from the 3:30 p.m. green flag until signing off at 11 p.m. SPEEDTV.com will stream feeds throughout the night, including a rooftop camera, in-car cameras and radio calls by the Motor Racing Network. SPEED returns at 9 a.m. on Sunday, with coverage including a 30-minute post-race show following the checkered flag at 3:30 p.m.

Formula One broadcast veteran Bob Varsha will join Brian Till in the SPEED booth, joined by analysts Calvin Fish, Dorsey Schroeder, Tommy Kendall and Justin Bell. Chris Neville, Jamie Howe, Matt Yocum and Andrew Marriott reporting from pit road.

Motor Racing Network will dedicate 25 hours of coverage to the Rolex 24 At Daytona to help launch its 44th year on the airwaves. Eli Gold and Preston Root will return to the booth to lead the Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast of the Rolex 24.Six hours of coverage will air on MRN’s network of affiliate stations, starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday and concluding with the closing laps and post-race coverage from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday. All 25 hours will be streamed live at www.grand-am.com and www.MotorRacingNetwork.com.

RadioLeMans.com will also cover the event live flag-to-flag for an international audience. Graham Goodwin and Shea Adams will lead the broadcast from Daytona, joined by John Hindhaugh, Paul Truswell, Nick Daman, Jonny Palmer and Joe Bradley at the Radio Le Mans studio in the U.K. Radio Le Mans will also provide commentary for the live portions of the SPEED broadcast carried live by Motors TV in Europe.

Ferrari, Audi To Take On Porsche In Battle For GT-Class Supremacy

Porsche has won the production-based GT class in the Rolex 24 in 10 of the last 12 years, losing only to Mazda in 2008 and 2010 – which moves to the GX class in 2013.

Porsche’s hold atop the GT ranks in the Rolex 24 faces a stiff challenge this weekend, however. Both Ferrari and Audi have stacked the deck in an effort to win the 51st running of the endurance classic.

Ferrari debuted the 458 Italia for the Rolex Series in 2012, finishing fifth in the Rolex 24. For 2013, four teams will combine to field seven Ferraris – all with competitive lineups. Extreme Speed Motorsports – led by 1996 Rolex 24 winner Scott Sharp – will field the No. 03 Tequila Patron Ferrari, while defending GT champion AIM Autosport, Scuderia Corsa and AF-Waltrip each has a two-car entry.

Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato won three races and the 2012 GT title for AIM Autosport Team FXDD with Ferrari. This weekend, Assentato joins Nick Longhi, Mark Wilkins, Guy Cosmo and Anthony Lazzaro in the No. 69 FXDD Ferrari. The team has also added the No. 61 R. Ferri entry with Segal, Max Papis, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander.

Audi has entered five cars. Ian Baas, Marc Basseng, Rene Rast and Frank Stippler will run the No. 52 entry. Audi Sport Customer Racing will also partner with three privateers: Rum Bum Racing in the No. 13, where Matt Plumb co-drives with Frank Biela, Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock; Alex Job Racing in the No. 24, with Dion von Moltke co-driving with Jeroen Bleekemolen, Damien Faulkner, Marco Holzer and Cooper MacNeil; and APR Motorsport in the No. 51, driven by Matt Bell, David Empringham, John Farano, Alex Figge and Dave Lacey. Audi’s No. 74 is also entered, but the car was used as a spare in the recent Daytona testing.

Team Sahlen Off To Fast Start, Will Make DP Debut In Rolex 24 At Daytona

The biggest surprise of the three-day Roar Before the Rolex 24 test was Team Sahlen, making the move to the Daytona Prototype class from the GT ranks.

The longtime GRAND-AM Road Racing team grabbed the second-best time on the overall time sheets in its first official outing with its BMW/Riley co-driven by Dane Cameron, Wayne Nonnamaker, Simon Pagenaud and Bruno Junqueira.

Team Sahlen competed in the GT class in 2012, winning at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and has won in every Rolex Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge class it has competed in since making its GRAND-AM debut in the series in 2001.

Rolex Series, Etc.

* 8Star Debuts: Enzo Potolicchio will debut 8Star Motorsports at the Rolex 24, with former Peugeot factory drivers Anthony Davidson, Pedro Lamy, Nicolas Minassian and Stephane Sarrazin joining the Venezuelan in the No. 3 Corvette DP. Potolicchio plans to run the full DP schedule, alternating with his Rolex 24 co-drivers.

* Highway To Help: While not racing in the Rolex 24, AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson returns to assist Highway to Help in raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. Former Rolex 24 winners Jim Pace and Carlos de Quesada will co-drive the No. 50 BMW/Riley with Byron DeFoor, Ian James and Frank Beck.

* Same Car, New Taylor: There will be a Taylor co-driving the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP with Max Angelelli in 2013, but it won’t be longtime WTR driver Ricky Taylor. Instead it will be younger brother Jordan racing for his father this season after Ricky joined Spirit of Daytona in the offseason. Jordan made one DP start in 2012 for Action Express Racing and has not competed regularly in the class since 2009.

Roush, Johnson Look To Repeat BMW Performance 200 Victory

After poor finishes at Daytona hurt their Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship hopes in 2010 and 2011, Jack Roush Jr. and Billy Johnson finally broke through at Daytona International Speedway in 2012 by winning the BMW Performance 200.

While the drivers of the No. 61 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302R won at Mid-Ohio and finished second at Road America, three finishes out of the top 20 dropped them from championship contention. Then, Roush fractured his wrist in practice at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, sidelining the team for the final two races.

Roush proved to be fully recovered from surgery at the recent “Roar Before the Rolex 24” testing, with the team fast in a pair of red Mustangs. Third in the GS points in 2010 and second in 2011 – missing the two titles by a combined 17 points – Roush and Johnson are looking to challenge for the 2013 GS crown.

Shelby Blackstock – son of superstar actor/singer Reba McEntire – returns in the team’s No. 51 Starstruck Ford Mustang Boss 302R, joined by Joey Atterbury. Blackstock won the pole for the 2012 race at Daytona and finished 10th – his first of four top-10 finishes in a year that saw him finish 15th in the championship.

Three Teams To Field Six Aston Martins In 2013 Season Opener

The Aston Martin Vantage made its GRAND-AM competition debut in 2012 with a pair of cars fielded by Multimatic Motorsports. The new car went on to score three podium finishes – including a second at Barber Motorsports Park – and pole positions for Tonis Kasemets and Joe Foster.

For 2013, there will be six Aston Martins fielded by three teams at Daytona.

Multimatic Motorsports has doubled its effort to four cars: the No. 55 for Scott Maxwell and Jade Buford, the No. 71 for Tonis Kasemets and Michael Marsal, the No. 15 for defending GS champs David Empringham and John Farano, and the No. 16 for Nick Mancuso and Frank Montecalvo.

Automatic Racing returns with the No. 140 Invisible Glass Vantage for Dr. Tim Fox and Kris Wilson The pair will run six races in 2012.

TRG – which plans to switch from Porsche to Aston Martin midway through the 2013 Rolex Series season – has the No. 7 TRG/AMR entry with drivers to be announced. Stephane Mucke drove the car in the recent Daytona testing, and was sixth fastest overall.

Compass360 Expands To Five Cars In Search Of Daytona Win

Toronto-based Compass360 Racing is pulling out the stops to secure Street Tuner honors at Daytona, fielding five Honda Civic Sis for the BMW Performance 200.

Two of the cars will carry the Team Seattle banner, the No. 73 of Ted Anthony Jr. and Andrew Newell, and the No. 77 of James Colborn and British Touring Car champion Andrew Jordan. Ryan Eversley and Kyle Gimple drive the No. 76 in support of the Children’s Tumor Foundation. The team also has the No. 74 Picture Cars East: Pixxcars.com entry for Aaron Povoledo and David Thilenius, and the No. 77 Columbus Truck entry for Adam Burrows and Ray Mason.

"We started in 2004 with a single car, with the goal of building a long-term and sustainable professional sports car team," said team principal Karl Thomson. "This year we'll be running three full-season CTSCC cars, with two more for select events, as well as another three-car program in World Challenge."

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