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Racing News from around the World

The Teijin Group and Envision Virgin Racing jointly announced today that they have agreed a multi-year sponsorship contract which will support the team’s participation in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
 
Headquartered in Japan with over 170 group companies worldwide, Teijin is a leading technology-driven global group, operating in the fields of high-performance materials including advanced fibres, plastics and composites, healthcare and IT businesses.
 
Envision Virgin Racing has been competing in the all-electric Formula E race series since its inception, becoming one of the sport’s most successful teams with 11 wins and 26 podiums, and energising its ‘Race Against Climate Change’ initiative, while pursuing further sustainable mobility solutions.
 
The Teijin Group and Envision Virgin Racing are now committed to exchanging know-how and complementing each other’s state-of-the-art technologies. In particular, the Teijin Group will develop high-performance materials and products that will help improve the comfort of Envision Virgin Racing drivers. In the future, Teijin will also explore new business opportunities through the development and provision of lightweight, high-performance automotive components, leveraging the freedom of design that will be required for next-generation automobiles. Teijin will also take the opportunity of this sponsorship agreement to raise awareness of the Teijin brand in related industries.
 
“Through ceaseless evolution and ambition, we are aiming to be a company that supports the society of the future by creating new value,” said Jun Suzuki, president and CEO of Teijin Limited. He added: “By supporting Envision Virgin Racing, which competes in races with electric vehicles (EVs) as a means of raising awareness of global warming, we will develop technologies and accumulate the know-how and solution capabilities required for future EVs that satisfy ever-stricter environmental regulations.”
 
The team’s Managing Director Sylvain Filippi commented: “Formula E is one of the most competitive motorsport series there is meaning any advantage that can be gained is crucial. To ensure we have this, Envision Virgin Racing aligns with like-minded, innovative, climate-focused brands and hence why we’re very excited to have The Teijin Group join our family. Being able to tap into their wealth of expertise and high-performance material and composite technologies will help us on track, whilst away from the track we’re looking forward to working together on our Race Against Climate Change programme.” 
 
Franz Jung, Chairman of the Board of Envision Virgin Racing, added: “Everyone is delighted to be welcoming The Teijin Group to the team, and for them to be joining our ever-growing list of world class partners, all of whom help us achieve the success we generate both on and off track.” 
 
Launching in 2014, Formula E is the world’s first fully-electric single-seater racing series, competing on city centre circuits throughout the globe. The championship represents a vision for the future of the motor industry, serving as a platform to showcase the latest innovations in electric vehicle technology and alternative energy solutions. Thanks to EVs’ low-noise and non-emission properties, the races are able to be held principally in major cities around the world. Formula E celebrated the commencement of its sixth season last November in which the team’s British driver Sam Bird won.
 
The next Formula E race takes place in Mexico City on February 15, where The Teijin Group will officially commence its full support for the UK-based team. For further information visit www.envisionvirginracing.com or www.teijin.com 

The experience level of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Selection Committee grows to an unprecedented level as five specialists have joined the now 11-person committee. Their expertise will be put to the test as members research and evaluate entry requests to ensure that every car meets the high level of provenance, authenticity and period correctness to the day it originally was raced that is demanded in order to be accepted.
 
Their vast individual knowledge base is arguably the deepest for an event anywhere in the world, and when the final entry requests are received, applicants will know an international team of historic and classic car authorities are behind the scenes evaluating their race car.

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will be held Aug. 13-16 at Monterey County’s WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and is one of the cornerstones of the Monterey Classic Car Week, which kicks off with the Monterey Pre-Reunion Aug. 8 and 9, that attracts visitors from around the world.

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Selection Committee


Bruce Canepa (returning member) – Former professional race car driver, and now collector, historian, and restorer of authentic race and classic cars. He has participated in the Rolex Reunion nearly every year. He also was co-organizer of the three Porsche Rennsport Reunions held at Laguna Seca Recreation Area.

Paul Duchene (existing member) – For more than 40 years, he has been writing about classic cars for major newspapers and magazines and was executive editor of Sports Car Market magazine. He has also been announcing the races for the past 10 years.

Scott George (new member) – Scott is the curator for Miles Collier Collections, and vice president of the Revs Institute, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to Preserving the Future of the Past. He oversees the meticulous care, preservation and restoration of some of the most historically important automobiles and race cars in the world.

John Lamm (existing member) – Author and journalist for many magazines like Road & Track and Car and Driver, he has spent his career researching and writing about cars. He has attended every historic race in Monterey since its inception in 1974.

Patrick Long (new member) – Longtime factory Porsche race car driver, he has competed around the globe winning at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring, and is a regular at the Rolex Reunion across multiple classes. He was on the last two Porsche Rennsport Reunion selection committees and is dedicated to maintaining high driving standards for historic racers.

Chris MacAllister (new member) – He has competed in the Historic/Reunion event since the early ‘90s, drives historic Formula 1 internationally and has served as a group steward at prior Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunions. He also is on the Board of Directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Mark Osborne (new member) – A frequent participant racing in Monterey and Goodwood, he is Global Director of Motorsport for Bonhams, where he oversees vetting each car’s heritage.

Andy Prill (existing member) – One of England’s most respected Porsche authorities and restorers, he is owner of Prill Porsche Classic. A qualified mechanical engineer, he annually races in Monterey, Goodwood and across the globe.

Darius Sadeghi (new member) – An avid car enthusiast, he is responsible for committee oversight and is a staunch advocate for ensuring authenticity and correctness of each entered race car.

Murray Smith (existing member) – Historic racing expert and a voice for accuracy and authenticity for competing cars, Murray has been involved in the Rolex Reunion for many years. He also is the organizer of the Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park, which is entering its 38th year.

Cris Vandagriff (existing member) – Head of the event’s scrutineering team, he owns HMSA (Historic Motor Sports Association) and runs historic racing events in the U.S. and Canada. Having been involved in racing his entire life, he is a highly-respected resource to ensure the car is prepared to the most period-correct manner.  
 
Bill Warner (existing member) – An award-winning author and photojournalist, he is the founder of the acclaimed Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Bill is a regular competitor in historic racing and was co-chairman with Dr. Wolfgang Porsche at the 2018 Porsche Rennsport Reunion.

Popular Run Groups


This year features some of the most popular groups for visitors. The throaty historic Can-Am and Trans-Am cars return to one of the original tracks where they once raced for championships. In all, there are 14 groups that span nearly every decade of motorsports history.

1927-1951/Pre-1940 Sports Racing & Touring
1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT
1955-1961 Sports Racing under & over 2000cc
1955-1962 GT
1961-1966 GT under 2500cc
1963-1966 GT over 2500cc
1963-1968 USRRC
1968-1974 Can-Am
1966-1972 Trans-Am
1970-1984 Sports Racing under 2100cc
1973-1981 FIA, IMSA, GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU
1974-1979 Formula Atlantic
1981-1991 IMSA GTO/GTP
1963-1974 FIA Manufacturers Championship

Entry requests are being accepted through Feb. 22 on the Rolex Reunion event page at WeatherTechRaceway.com. Historically, nearly 1,000 entry requests are received for the internationally-renowned event. For more information, visit WeatherTechRaceway.com or call 831.242.8201.

The 2020 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca season kicks off April 16-19 with the Sea Otter Classic; Trans Am SpeedFest returns May 1-3; MotoAmerica Superbike SpeedFest at Monterey July 10-12; Ferrari Challenge Series July 23-26; the Monterey Pre-Reunion August 8-9; Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion August 13-16; and Monterey SpeedWeek consisting of Monterey SportsCar Championship (IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship) September 11-13 and the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey (NTT IndyCar Series) September 18-20.

Just a year ago, the collective Praytor Clan was waiting on the arrival of Hugh Thomas Praytor the Fifth (Five) and opted to miss the Daytona race in 2019. No waiting around in 2020, Five is here and ready to race in 2020! 
Thomas "Moose" Praytor (Papa Moose) has become one of the ARCA Menards Series most prolific restrictor plate racers. Over the last decade, Praytor has logged over a 1,000 laps and 2,700 miles, more than any other active ARCA driver during the same period. 
"It hurt just a little not to be in Daytona last year but I wasn't going to miss Hugh being born for anything. Hugh got here in time for us to go to Talladega and he made his first race at Talladega, I'm looking forward to him making his first trip to Daytona this year."
Praytor's Mobile, Alabama based team has been preparing his favorite Super Speedway chassis for the 2020 edition of the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire. 
"The guys have been working hard on getting us ready to go. We got sidetracked in December with my sister, Hayley, getting married and of course Christmas was big with the kids but I'm really happy with the car we're bringing to Daytona."
The green flag for the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire is slated for February 8th at 3:45 CST with live TV coverage on FS1. 

Max Force Racing PR

Nolan Pope will kickstart his season by heading to Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway this weekend with Lee Faulk Racing and Development for the fifth annual Ice Breaker.

 
The 22-year-old Pope, who recently re-signed with Lee Faulk Racing and Development and McCallister Precision Marketing, will make his Myrtle Beach Speedway debut by competing in the 125-lap late model stock car main event on Feb. 1.
 
“I’ve never been to Myrtle Beach Speedway, but I know all about its reputation for chewing up tires,” said Pope, who will be competing for the CARS Late Model Stock Tour championship this year. “Michael Faulk has told me a lot about Myrtle Beach. I know every race there is all about saving your tires and being patient. The challenging part will be knowing just how hard to go and when to actually pace ourselves.
 
“Our goal is to go down there and leave with the trophy. I know it won’t be easy, but Lee and Michael Faulk always bring great race cars to the track. I’m confident we’ll have a shot at it at the end of the day.”
 
Lee Faulk Racing and Development’s Michael Faulk, who has plenty of experience racing at Myrtle Beach Speedway during his driving career, believes Pope will adjust quickly to the South Carolina track’s abrasive surface.
 
“While Nolan’s never run a race at Myrtle Beach, he’s run races at a lot of the abrasive tracks here in the Southeast,” Faulk said. “Obviously Myrtle Beach is very different than a lot of those other tracks, but he won’t be going in there totally blind, which is important. As long as he stays patient, he’ll do a good job and we’ll have a shot at winning the Ice Breaker.”
 
Pope is no stranger to victory lane. The up-and-comer has scored three late model stock car triumphs since 2018, including two wins at Anderson Motor Speedway in Williamston, S.C., and a victory at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway last July.
 
The Ice Breaker is scheduled for Feb. 1 at Myrtle Beach Speedway. Practice begins at 10 a.m., with qualifying scheduled for Noon. A pre-race autograph session is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., with racing to follow at 3 p.m.
MPM PR

The first season of the six-year partnership between the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and General Tire was highlighted by spectacular door-to-door races all over Europe in perfect Pure Racing style. To further improve the experience for drivers and fans, in 2020 the Official Tyre Partner of the European NASCAR series will debut the first evolution of the NWES General Tire slick and wet tires. 

General Tire and NWES focused both on performance and durability in developing the 2020 evolution of the NWES spec tires. The multiple test sessions during the 2019 season and this fall at the NWES test track in France and at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, met all expectations.

Martin Heckers, Head of General Tire Motorsport said “We cannot be happier with our first NWES season as the Official Tyre Partner. The tyres performed exceptionally well and we witnessed extremely exciting races. 

“General Tire’s dedicated motorsport unit is developing and manufacturing racing tyres in three shifts a day, six days a week, allowing us to already come up with a new tyre for the upcoming NWES season.  This new tyre has been adjusted in line with further developments of the cars and considering data and driver feedback from our first season, we have developed an enhanced new NWES General Tire tyre specification."

“We are very much looking forward to the 2020 season and can’t wait for the cars to hit the circuits in Europe.”

The NWES regulations are very demanding for our Official Tyre Partner: strong cost containment and efficiency regulations allow a maximum of four tires per driver to race a full event including qualifying and two races. Drivers must also re-use two of these tires for the next event. NWES is therefore proving to be the ideal development ground for high-performance durable tires, which perfectly fit General Tire’s product characteristics. As in 2019, NWES teams will have to manage a maximum of 20 tires per driver during the season.


“General Tire is the perfect tire partner for the series, the company has a huge racing expertise and great products. Everybody was very motivated to introduce new tires in 2020 to continue enhancing the racing experience for both drivers and fans,” said NWES President - CEO Jerome Galpin. “I have to admit our needs for high-performance and very durable tires is really difficult to comply with, but General Tire put a lot of effort in providing us the best possible products.”

The new General Tire NWES GT tires will debut on April 25-26 at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain. The European NASCAR Series will then make visit Brands Hatch in the United Kingdom, Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic and Raceway Venray in the Netherlands in the regular season. The Playoffs will begin in September at the Autodromo di Vallelunga in Rome, Italy, followed by Circuit Zolder in Belgium and the EuroNASCAR Finals in Hockenheim, Germany to close the season in October.

NWES PR

Erick Rudolph will be out to defend his East Coast Dirt Nationals title when the third running of the race is held inside Trenton, N.J.’s Cure Insurance Arena on Friday and Saturday, February 21st and 22nd.  The Ransomville, N.Y. dirt Modified expert won the event in his first try in December of 2018 driving for Pennsylvania car owner Tommy Fraschetta.

After making a deal by phone to drive for Fraschetta, Rudolph met him for the first time at the event. They ended the weekend $5,000 richer and best of friends.

Rudolph’s career highlight have been well documented. He’s a three-time and defending Indoor Racing Series fueled by VP Racing Fuels Champion in events held on the concrete floors of different arenas. He’s also a champion and big winner during the outdoor season in dirt Modified competition. Rudolph came to Trenton’s dirt race after previously winning on the building’s concrete floor in a TQ Midget.

Fraschetta's career in the sport as a driver and owner has been a productive one as well, but his Dirt Nationals win with Rudolph behind the wheel of his nine year old Hyper Racing was a feeling completely apart from all else.

“It was the best thing I did as a car owner, getting hooked up with Erick,” Fraschetta, 49 of King Of Prussia, PA admits.

“He was racing TQ Midgets Indoors with Mark Lafler last year as a teammate to Tim Buckwalter who I have known for years. Tim suggested Erick drive my 600 at Trenton and it was a perfect fit.”

There's no reason to expect that 2020 will be any different than 2019 since Fraschetta will be bringing the same Dave Orange powered 600 Sprint to Trenton for Rudolph.

Fraschetta himself had a busy outdoor season driving the same car Rudolph drove to victory in Trenton over Billy Pauch Jr. He is a long time Micro racer who favors Greenwood Valley in northern Penna. for his racing despite it being 2 hours and 15 minutes from his home.

Fraschetta also mentors the Restricted 600 Micro class that Dylan Kontra, his 11 year old nephew, races in. It's a traveling series that is open to 12-16 year old racers, who race with a restrictor plate on their 600 motors that reduces the horsepower by half. It's intended as a stepping stone division. Kontra won races last year with Fraschetta at Lanco and Hamlin in addition to Greenwood Valley and was a contender at Linda's before crashing.

In last year's East Coast Dirt Nationals, Fraschetta fielded two cars with Central PA 410 ace Brian Montieth in the second car. Montieth was in Fraschetta's car for the 2017 running Indoor Dirt races as well.

“Brian is intending to race the car again this year but he has a potential conflict. Lincoln opens the same day and his car owner is one of the partners at Lincoln. If they don't run because of weather, Brian plans on being in the car at Trenton,” Fraschetta explained.

The car owner anticipates finding the track in approximately the same condition as it was in last year but is prepared for something different.

“These cars are adjustable in a lot of ways,” Fraschetta said. “No matter what your set up is, you can always change it and go faster.”

In last year's running of the East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals, Rudolph took a car he had never before sat in, set it up to run completely the opposite of what most of his top rivals had done, then sailed to victory. He calmly won his ten lap heat race, the 20-lap A-Main Qualifier, then led every single lap of the 50-lap $5,000-to-win feature.

“Everything went together with Tom (Fraschetta) for the race,” Rudolph said, in praise of his car owner, for whom he had never raced before.

While the majority of the drivers pounded the outside cushion to make thrilling passes, Rudolph took the steady slow method determined to run the bottom.

“That’s the way I set it up, like a concrete car,” Rudolph smiled. In so doing, Rudolph spent almost all of the racing weekend glued to the bottom of the race track and it paid off.

Fraschetta's racing operation is a small one. “It’s always been my dad, my daughter, and me when we go racing. Taylor, my daughter, is special needs and she loves racing. She’s the one who keeps me going. So I told Brian and Erick going in that if we were fortunate enough to win this thing, Taylor gets the trophy or big check or whatever they are handing out. The money’s nice, but Taylor races for the trophies.”

And Rudolph delivered putting a huge smile on her face when both the trophy and huge check were presented to her.

Rudolph started his 2020 season off on the right foot with a TQ Midget victory in the opener of Indoor Auto Racing Series fueled by VP inside Allentown, Pa.’s PPL Center.

Before the non-point Trenton dirt event, Rudolph will compete in the third round of the BELFOR ‘Concrete Series’ inside Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Friday and Saturday, January 31 and February 1st. He’ll then head to Florida for two weeks of dirt Modified competition before returning in time for his trip to Trenton.

Rudolph will then conclude the Indoor Racing season on Friday and Saturday March 13th and 14th in a second year return to the brand new Expo Center located on the grounds of the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. N.Y.   Rudolph is also the defending race winner of the Syracuse A-Main event.

Tickets are currently available in a range of different prices for all the Indoor Series events through links on the www.indoorautoracing.com or at the venue box offices.

Corporate sponsorship at a variety of levels is available for all remaining events. Interested parties should contact Danny Sammons at 609-888-3618 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

AARN PR

DIRTcar Northeast’s only full-fendered racing division returns in 2020, with an exciting array of DIRTcar Pro Stock Series action. A total of 11 Feature races and 10 premier dirt race tracks make up the Series schedule in 2020 across the Northeast and Canada. 

2019 champion C.D. Beauchamp indicated that he would return to the Series in 2020 to defend his title. At the annual DIRTcar Awards banquet, C.D. took home over $2,000 for his Pro Stock title.

That title defense begins at the multi-grooved Autodrome Granby on Friday, June 19. The last time the DIRTcar Pro Stock Series stopped into the Quebec autodrome, in 2018, Bruno Cyr took the checkered flag. 

Next up is the high-banked bullring of Cornwall Motor Speedway. 2019 DIRTcar Pro Stock Series champion C.D. Beauchamp started his 2019 season with a win at Cornwall. Will he make it a repeat or will the stars from both sides of the border take home the checkered flag?

It’s a special back to back weekend for the Series, with Lebanon Valley Speedway and Glen Ridge Motorsports Park Saturday and Sunday, July 25 and 26.  This will be a unique test indeed, as Lebanon is arguably the biggest track on the tour while Glen Ridge is the smallest.  

With a talented group of weekly teams, Lebanon Valley boasts some of the biggest Pro Stock car counts in the DIRTcar circuit.  It will be a battle when Series travelers from all over the Northeast and Canada come to town.

The DIRTcar Pro Stock Series will make its second-ever attempt to race at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park in Fultonville, NY. The Series was scheduled there once before but was forced to cancel due to rain. Drivers are excited to finally take on this track this season on Sunday, July 26. 

Along with sanctioning DIRTcar Pro Stocks in the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship, Can-Am Speedway plays host to a Series race on Friday, September 11. The Series hopes to complete its first race at The Nasty Track since Louie Jackson took the checkered flag in 2008.
 

The following day, Saturday, September 12, the Series hauls over to Weedsport Speedway to take part in the first Cavalcade Cup Weekend along with the Super DIRTcar Series and more. Last season Josh Coonradt won a thriller on this Central New York oval. 

The Pro Stocks get back to it on Saturday, September 19 at Mohawk Int’l Raceway in Akwesasne, NY. Sid Harmer Jr. shocked the field in 2019, by picking up the Series win there. A week later, Albany-Saratoga Speedway and their talented group of weekly racers will clash on the Malta, NY oval. The Super DIRTcar Series will also be on hand with a $10,000-to-win showdown NAPA Super DIRT Week Qualifier. 

Speaking of the greatest week in racing, the DIRTcar Pro Stocks will contest the Oswego Speedway for 50 laps on Sunday, October 11. The Pro Stocks have always put on great shows during NAPA Super DIRT Week, but since moving to Oswego Speedway, the racing has reached another an even higher level. It’s a can’t-miss race on the schedule. 

The season wraps up at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Thursday through Saturday, October 29-31, as a part of the DRIVEN World Short Track Championship. Competitors will face off on the biggest stage in dirt racing in two Features plus Heat Races and Time Trials. 

Follow DIRTcar Racing on Facebook and Twitter for all your DIRTcar Pro Stock Series updates. 

Day/Date — Track — Location

Friday, June 12 - Autodrome Granby - Granby, QC

Sunday, July 5 - Cornwall Motor Speedway - Cornwall, ON

Saturday, July 25 - Lebanon Valley Speedway, West Lebanon, NY

Sunday, July 26 - Glen Ridge Motorsports Park - Fultonville, NY

Friday, Sept. 11 - Can-Am Speedway - Lafargeville, NY

Saturday, Sept. 12 - Weedsport Speedway - Weedsport, NY

Saturday, Sept. 19 - Mohawk Int’l Raceway - Akwesasne, NY

Saturday, Sept. 26 - Albany-Saratoga Speedway - Malta, NY

Sunday, Oct. 11 - Oswego Speedway - Oswego, NY

Thu-Sat - Oct. 29-31 - The Dirt Track at Charlotte (non-points) - Charlotte, NC

DIRTcar Series PR

Kicking off the 2020 slate of events across the entirety of the American Sprint Car Series, the San Tan Ford ASCS Desert Non-Wing Series goes green Saturday, February 1, 2020, at the three-eighths-mile Central Arizona Speedway in Casa Grande, Ariz.
The start of the series fifth season, the tour's last visit to the high-banked oval on October 12, 2019, saw Dennis Gile leading start to finish for his third career victory with the Non-Wing tour. Making a comeback through the later part of the season, Gile ended up third in tour standings to Kyle Shipley (runner-up) Joshua Shipley.
Over the last four seasons, 16 drivers have earned their place in Victory Lane with the San Tan Ford ASCS Desert Non-Wing Series.
The season-opening event for the Central Arizona Speedway as well, gates will open at 5:00 P.M. with races on track at 7:00 P.M. (MT). Teams also have a chance to get some practice laps in on Friday, January 31, 2020, from 7:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. (CT). Admission is $18 for adults with Senior and Military admitted for $15. Youth 11 and under get into the Grandstands for free. Pit Passes are $35.
Saturday's lineup of classes will also include Micros, Pure Stocks, and Bombers.
Central Arizona Speedway is located at 512 S. Eleven Mile Corner Road in Casa Grande, Ariz. on Pinal County Fairgrounds. For more information, call (480) 266-1378 or log onto http://www.centralarizonaspeedway.com.
The San Tan Ford ASCS Desert Non-Wing Series can be found online at http://santanforddesertsprintcars.myracepass.com/points/?y=2018 as well as http://www.ascsracing.com. The series is also on Social Media at https://www.facebook.com/groups/919363801451560
For other news, notes, and information on the American Sprint Car Series, from the National Tour to any of the Regional Tours that make up ASCS Nation in 2020, log onto http://www.ascsracing.com, follow on Facebook, on Instagram, and Twitter (@LucasOilASCS).
ASCS PR

Due to an unfortunate event, The Heart of Racing team has withdrawn from the 58th running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Following an incident close to pit entry with the #47 PPM Lamborghini Huracan at close to five hours in, the car sustained damage that although is repairable, is not repairable on site.
 
The Heart of Racing team returned to Daytona International Speedway this weekend to compete as a newly re-established team, with the new-to-the-team Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Practice was focused on set up and learning as much about the car as possible. Qualifying went as expected with the strategy focused on the endurance aspect.
 
In addition, the team came here to raise awareness and funds for the 501(c)(3) Team Seattle Guild, which funds equipment for the pediatric cardiology unit of Seattle Children’s Hospital as well as research and training of doctors and surgeons worldwide. Thanks to the team and the Guild’s efforts this weekend, a figure of over $100,000 has been raised so far.
 
The team will now return to their Florida base to regroup and repair, with the aim to come back fighting at the next event in Sebring in March. Back in 2016, the team enjoyed a class victory at this event and look forward to the opportunity to prove themselves once again.
 
 
Quoteboard:
 
Alex Riberas
"Definitely not the way we wanted to end our weekend in Daytona. The race was hard from the beginning, but the team did a great job at finding ways to improve the car during the race. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the most out of what I think is a very good car, but I feel very lucky to be part of a great family and I am sure we will return stronger at Sebring.”
 
Ian James
"Unfortunate end to a promising debut for the team, but racing is full of ups and downs and I am proud of the way the whole team and drivers executed this weekend. I look forward to Sebring and the rest of the year with this extended family, The Heart of Racing.”

It took every hour of the Rolex 24 At Daytona to determine who would be declared the victor in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class at Daytona International Speedway.
 
From the start, the strongest contenders appeared to be the two Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries – the car’s official IMSA debut – versus the two BMW M8 GTEs for BMW Team RLL. However, Corvette Racing and Risi Competizione took turns in the top three as well.
 
In the final hours of the race, a blanket could have been thrown over the Porsches and the No. 24 BMW of Jesse Krohn, John Edwards, Augusto Farfus and Chaz Mostert. Edwards handed the car over to Krohn in the lead with two hours remaining, but Nick Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche was able to pass the BMW fairly quickly after the stop.
 
Krohn lost ground but valiantly fought back to get bumper-to-bumper with Tandy with less than an hour remaining. The Finn pulled his BMW on the outside of the Porsche down the front stretch heading into Turn 1 but was initially unable to complete the “over-under” pass.
 
However, if you don’t succeed, try and try again.
 
Just a few minutes later, Krohn pulled the same move on the front stretch and, with momentum, swung from the outside to the inside of Tandy’s Porsche heading towards the International Horseshoe. He stuck the BMW to complete the pass and didn’t relinquish the lead for the remaining 45 minutes.
 
“It’s stressful,” said Krohn. “I had little sleep through the night. It was all on my shoulders in the end. I didn’t want to be the guy who finishes second and denies these guys the watches. I put my head down. I didn’t know how we did it. I’m out of words. No mistakes from anyone at BMW RLL. This is what it takes to win the race.”
 
Sunday’s victory marked back-to-back GTLM wins at the Rolex 24 for BMW Team RLL. Their 2019 victory being the most recent time the team stood on the top step of the podium.
 
Farfus is the only driver that was part of both winning lineups. For Krohn, Edwards and Mostert, this is their first Rolex watch. Additionally, IMSA entered the Rolex 24 weekend with 997 winners in the sanctioning body’s top-tier series. Mostert was one of five first-time WeatherTech Championship winners at the Rolex 24, sending that number over 1,000 to 1,002.
 
“We were back and forth with the Porsche, we’d get out ahead, fall back, get in front,” said Edwards. “It was a hard fight. I think running at the end of a Daytona 24 hour is a different race. I’d like to say it was a fun battle, but it took a lot out of me. This is by far the biggest victory of my life.”
 
After Krohn’s pass, the No. 24 BMW set sail, with the Nos. 911 and 912 Porsches dueling among themselves for the final two podium positions. With under 40 minutes remaining, Earl Bamber in the No. 912 passed his teammate Tandy in the No. 911. The finishing order remained the same, with Bamber co-driving with Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet, and Tandy alongside Frederick Makowiecki and Matt Campbell.
 
Corvette Racing is still in search of its 100th IMSA victory, with the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg finishing the highest of the team’s two entries in fourth.
The BMW Team RLL’s No. 25 of Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, Bruno Spengler and Colton Herta rounded out the top five.
 
No. 48 Paul Miller Lamborghini Team Celebrates First Rolex 24 At Daytona Win
After one of the most intensely competitive battles in the Rolex 24 At Daytona field, the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini edged the No. 44 GRT Magnus Lamborghini by a mere 21 seconds to earn the GT Daytona (GTD) Class victory Sunday afternoon in the classic endurance twice-around-the-clock race on Daytona International Speedway’s infield road course.
 
From green flag to checkered flag the two Lamborghinis fought each other for the storied race victory. After taking the lead for the last time during a pit stop only 50 minutes before the checkered flag flew, Italian Andrea Caldarelli held off the field and brought the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to the checkered flag - best in class.
 
Americans Madison Snow, Corey Lewis and Bryan Sellers rounded out the driving lineup. It’s the first win for all four drivers and for Miller the long-time team owner and former IMSA driver. The victory was the third consecutive GTD Rolex 24 At Daytona victory for the Italian manufacturer.
 
“A lot of years trying, a lot of years of pain and watching other people walk by you with the watch you want so bad,’’ said Sellers. “It feels so good to have it all finally come together.”
 
Calderelli credited the crew for playing a huge role in the victory. He passed his former teammate and fellow Italian Marco Mapelli in the pits.
 
“It was very tight,’’ Calderelli noted with a smile. “I used to race with Marco in the same car, so we never really fought one-on-one. I know him. It was a very fair fight and we both represent Lamborghini as well. So we didn’t do any stupid things, but outside it was fun to watch and also inside the cockpit.
 
“The last eight hours were like a sprint race.’’
 
The No. 44 GRT Magnus Lamborghini finished second with John Potter, Andy Lally, Spencer Pumpelly and Marco Mapelli driving the Huracan GT3. The No. 88 WRT Speedstar Audi Sport R8 LMS GT3 was third.
 
The next race on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Saturday, March 21. The race starts at 10:40 a.m. on CNBC. It can also be streamed on the NBC App with authentication and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio will have coverage available at IMSARadio.com, RadioLeMans.com and Sirius XM.
 
Kyle Busch Finishes First Rolex 24 Appearance
The event ran under clear skies, comfortable temperatures and a star-studded entry list that also featured newly-crowned NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch in a GTD class AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.
 
It was Busch’s Rolex 24 debut and although his car finished ninth in the 18-car class field, he was impressive behind the wheel – completing four driving stints for more than six hours total. He was fast enough to make up laps on track, and up until the last driver change, he had the fastest lap in the car moving up the field even after several mechanical challenges so typical in the grueling ‘round-the-clock race.
 
“There was a lot going on and a lot to learn and kind of pick up on and figure out,’’ Busch said of his first Rolex run. “Overall it was good. We had a lot of fun, I enjoyed it. Just being able to get back in a race car again, kind of my season warm-up if you will, and to be able to go out there and run a ton of laps and have a good go of it.
 
“Unfortunately, we just got a little behind with the brake change there, had some issues on the right-front caliper. I guess that got us a little bit further back than we wanted to be. We just didn’t have the long run pace.’’
 
His team owner this weekend, former IndyCar Series champion Jimmy Vasser, was all smiles on pit lane as Busch drove the team’s No. 14 Lexus across the finish line. Obviously disappointed to miss a podium finish, he remained optimistic about his team’s IMSA season and glad to have had Busch behind the wheel for this renowned race.
 
“A great team effort,’’ Vasser said. “With the troubles we had, nobody gave up, everybody pitched in. And speaking on Kyle, he impressed.
 
“I’m not sure why he impressed. He’s a NASCAR champion. He’s won more NASCAR races in the modern day than anybody but it takes a lot of confidence and guts to jump into a discipline that he’d never really done before and he did it with ease.
 
“He was really, really impressive. He was running times of the top sports car pros. It was a joy to have him. He’s a very serious guy, but he was a joy to have on the team and really added a lot for our people to see how a true professional works. Not that we don’t have them here, but he’s a great champion and a true champion.’’
 
Busch said he remains open to making a second Rolex start, but insisted he wanted to evaluate the weekend before making any firm plans.
 
“Too soon to say,’’ Busch said. “I think I will digest all of this and figure it all out. I enjoyed the experience and being able to get out there and do it.”
 
 

 

“Hitting The Apex” is an IMSA.com editorial column by Nate Siebens, a longtime motorsports publicist and journalist. Siebens has more than 20 years of industry experience – including the past seven as part of the IMSA Communications staff – who will offer his observations and insights throughout the 2020 season.
 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – What a difference a year makes.
 
One of the biggest storylines coming out of last year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona was the dreadful weather that forced the race to end short of its scheduled distance.
 
This year, thankfully, Mother Nature was only a storyline in that she provided perfect racing conditions for the twice-around-the-clock battle. And that opened a Pandora’s Box of so many more terrific storylines from an unforgettable IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 2020 season opener.
 
Let’s start at the top, as in the premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class, where the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R squad of Renger van der Zande, Kamui Kobayashi, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon made Wayne Taylor a four-time Rolex 24 winner as a team owner.
 
If the pair of Mazda Team Joest entries were the class of the field throughout the Roar Before the Rolex 24 three weeks ago and in Thursday’s qualifying session, the No. 10 Cadillac held that status for much of the race. But as fast as the No. 10 was, the race wasn’t without significant drama for the team.
 
Shortly after sunrise, Briscoe ran the red light exiting the pits, earning a costly, stop-plus-60-seconds penalty. As a result, the Aussie dropped from the race lead to a lap down and with full-course caution periods scarce, it appeared that the team’s hopes for victory could be dashed.
 
Fortunately, Briscoe and the team kept their heads down. And when Christina Nielsen’s No. 19 Lamborghini rolled to a stop in Speedway Turn 3 with just under five hours remaining, they were back in business.
 
Briscoe drove a monster final few stints and the No. 10 became the car to beat again in the final four hours.
 
“Yeah, that was a roller coaster,” said Briscoe.
 
Briscoe handed the car off to Kobayashi with just over two-and-a-half hours to go to bring it home. He did just that, taking the checkered flag more than a minute ahead of Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77 Mazda DPi with 833 laps completed, leading us to the next storyline.
 
They’ve been running 24-hour races here at Daytona almost every year since 1966. And nobody’s ever traveled a farther distance in this race than the top three finishers, who all went a total of 2,965.48 miles, a product of just six full-course caution periods for a total of 28 laps.
 
If they were traveling on interstate highways instead of orbiting Daytona International Speedway, they’d have gotten about 100 miles past San Francisco.
 
But there’s even more storylines – so many more – that made this year’s race compelling. There was the scintillating battle between the No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE and the pair of Porsche GT Team 911 RSR that kept the GT Le Mans (GTLM) race in doubt right down to the final hour.
 
In the end, it was the BMW squad owned by Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and Mike Lanigan celebrating for the second consecutive year – this time with the team’s No. 24 car. John Edwards, Jesse Krohn and another Aussie, Chaz Mostert left with their first Rolex Daytona Oyster Perpetual Cosmographs and Brazilian Augusto Farfus with his second-in-a-row.
 
A year ago, Farfus was a last-minute addition to the No. 25 BMW’s driver lineup when Tom Blomqvist couldn’t make the race. This year, he was placed in the No. 24 because he fit the seat in that cockpit better. So it seemed like destiny was calling.
 
There was intrigue in the LMP2 class, where the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA dominated from Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning before a lengthy stay on pit lane changed the game. Instead of the No. 52, it was DragonSpeedUSA celebrating its second consecutive Rolex 24 win – with an entirely different quartet of drivers in Henrik Hedman, Ben Hanley, Colin Braun and Harrison Newey.
 
The GT Daytona (GTD) class offered an abundance of storylines too. The pole-winning Plaid Porsche was fast early but went to the garage. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch nearly matched road-racing expert co-driver Jack Hawksworth’s pace in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus, although the car finished eight laps behind the winners.
 
And who were those winners? None other than the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 co-driven by Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, Corey Lewis and Andrea Caldarelli who each earned their first Rolex watches and gave team owner Paul Miller his first Daytona trophy.
 
It’s been a good few years for Miller, whose team also has won the WeatherTech Championship GTD title and victories at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and Motul Petit Le Mans, as well.
 
“We’re only missing Watkins Glen,” said Miller in victory lane.
 
You couldn’t ask for much more than what the 58th rendition of the Rolex 24 At Daytona delivered. It was a near-perfect kick-off for the 51st IMSA season and sets the stage for a truly fantastic WeatherTech Championship season in 2020.
 
Bring on Sebring.
 
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