Open-wheel hotshoe joins Doran for The Glen
Richard Antinucci, the current championship points leader in the Firestone Indy Lights series, will join the Doran Racing driver lineup for this weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Antinucci, who finished 5th in the 2007 Indy Lights event at The Glen and made his Rolex Series Daytona Prototype debut at the Miller Motorsports Park season-closer – turning the fastest race lap in the process – will co-drive with Burt Frisselle and Gabriele Gardel in #47 Doran Racing/BSI/CDOC/Anasten Plus Ford Dallara. The driver lineup for the team’s #77 Doran Racing Kodak Doran/Dallara Ford, Memo Gidley and Brad Jaeger, remains unchanged. Jaeger also raced in the Indy Lights event at The Glen in 2007.
“I’m really looking forward to the Watkins Glen race as a big opportunity to expand my career in new directions,” says the 27 year-old native of Rome, Italy. “I contacted Doran Racing over the winter because I really wanted to drive the new Dallara package which I think has a lot of potential. The driving style is very different from my Indy Lights car; the prototype is less forgiving and you really have to be on your toes, but the good thing is that how you drive can really make a difference in this kind of car. On an oval, the car is everything, but in a six-hour prototype race, you can really put your signature on the drive.”
Antinucci, nephew of F1 and Indy Car veteran Eddie Cheever, won the formula 3 World Cup championship in 2003, and has competed in both the Japanese Formula 3 and Formula 3 Euroseries. He has tested twice with the Williams-BMW Formula One team, won three Indy Pro Series races in 2007 and is currently leading the 2008 IPS championship in the #7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car with one win, one pole and three podium finishes.
Antinucci will be sharing the driving chores in the #47 Doran Racing machine with Burt Frisselle, who has been racing Daytona Prototypes in the Rolex Series since 2004, including a podium finish in his first-ever start in the series and a 2nd-place finish at The Glen, passing more than ten cars in the final 40 minutes of the race. He has scored top-10 and top-5 finishes in each of his four seasons of Rolex competition.
“Watkins Glen is a very cool race track, my favorite on the entire calendar and I’ve had a few good top-10 finishes there over the years,” says Frisselle. “It’s a very physical track, and the weather is expected to be hot and humid, so we’ll be adding a third driver, Richard Antinucci, to bring some more muscle to the lineup. He’s leading the championship in the Firestone Indy Lights series and was extremely fast in his DP debut at Miller Motorsports Park last year. We’re happy to have him driving with us and with him on board we feel that we’ve got as good a chance as anyone at a podium finish.”
Also driving the #47 will be Gabriele Gardel, is a Swiss racer who began his career in open-wheel, including F3 and F3000, but switched to sports cars in 2004 and was the 2005 FIA GT Champion and 2006 LeMans Series GT1 Champion. He made his Rolex Sports Car Series debut in the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“Again another track I can say nothing about because I have seen it only on my video driving game,” says Gardel. “Ask me again next year and I will have some things to say, I am sure. The Doran team has given us a fast car at every track, and I'm certain it will be fast at Watkins Glen. It will be a learning experience for me, as all new tracks are, but it is much more fun to learn in a fast car that handles well.”
While the team strategy for the #47 car includes three drivers, the #77 Kodak Doran/Dallara Ford will stick with its proven lineup of Memo Gidley and Brad Jaeger. Gidley, the very talented and widely respected American driver who was born in La Paz, Mexico and now makes his home in Novato, California, has made a name for himself as one of the most committed drivers in the paddock, driving and winning in everything from karts to Indy Cars and stock cars to prototypes.
“Historically the Doran Racing team has done well at Watkins Glen, including a top-10 finish here last year,” says Gidley. “I love this track because of how interesting it is to drive with all the different types of turns and elevation changes. It’s a good feeling to know that we have the package, and the speed, to run at the front. Now we just need a trouble-free race and we'll score that podium finish that I know we're capable of.”
Gidley’s co-driver, Brad Jaeger, is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and recent graduate of Vanderbilt University where he was a member of their Formula SAE team. His racing resume includes karting, Sports 2000, Skip Barber, F2000, Star Mazda and the Indy Pro Series. He co-drove his first prototype race for the Doran team in the 2007 season finale at Miller Motorsport Park and, like Antinucci, has seen The Glen over the steering wheel of Indy Pro Series open-wheeler.
“I raced The Glen in the Indy Pro Series last year,” says Jaeger. “From that experience I can tell you that the aerodynamic package is vital to having a good car for the race. And the Doran team, working with Dallara and their wind tunnel program, has made good progress in that area. The car is already quick, and I think with the fine-tuning we can give it with what we've learned in the last couple of races, we should be able to run at the front.”
The two cars the Doran Racing team will field at Watkins Glen look the same, but are different underneath. The #47 car is all-Dallara, while the #77 car is a Doran chassis fitted with Dallara bodywork featuring enhanced aerodynamics and increased downforce. Both cars are powered by 500 horsepower Roush-Yates Ford V-8 engines.
Doran Enterprises is Dallara's official spare parts distributor and approved repair center for that series. In addition, Doran Designs will fabricate certain special parts for the marque. Doran Racing has a successful history of working with Dallara and won the Daytona 24 Hours in 2002 with a Dallara Sportscar LMP1. While Doran Racing has prepared and fielded race cars in a wide variety of series for many years, from Indy cars to NASCAR trucks, the Lebanon, Ohio-based team is particularly noted for its successes in sports car endurance racing, including being the first and only team in U.S. history to win the 24 Hours at Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Watkins Glen Six-Hour race in the same year (1998).
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at the legendary Watkins Glen International in upstate New York, takes place June 6 – 7. On-track action at Watkins Glen begins on Friday, June 6 with several practice sessions. Qualifying will be in two 15-minute sessions from 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm Friday afternoon. The Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen from the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 will take the green flag at 11:15 am Saturday, June 7. Live coverage of the race begins at 11:00 am ET on SPEED. Coverage resumes at 2:30 pm and continues to the checkered flag.