Penske, Forsythe Set for Next Week’s Grand-Am test
Four new teams, including two of the biggest names in North American open-wheel racing, are set to test Daytona Prototypes at Daytona International Speedway next week during the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Cask No. 16 October Test Days.
The three-day session will be held Monday through Wednesday, Oct. 27-29, and will include evening sessions both Monday and Tuesday. The sessions will be open to the public, with fans able to view testing from the Sprint FANZONE with a $10 Daytona 500 Experience tour-only ticket. Fans who have already purchased tickets to the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona will be admitted free.
A total of 22 cars - 11 from each of the Daytona Prototype and GT classes - have registered for the session.
Penske Racing, which finished third in the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona when it partnered with Wayne Taylor Racing, has entered a Porsche Riley for Romain Dumas.
Forsythe Racing will run the No. 16 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Pontiac Coyote as the session, which will use 2008-specification Pirelli tires. Alberto Costa will be joined by Christian Fittipaldi.
Orbit Racing will step up to the Daytona Prototypes with the No. 45 InterMedia BMW Riley. NASCAR veteran Kyle Petty and IndyCar Series regular Darren Manning lead the driver lineup, joined by Leo Hindery Jr., Michael Riolo and Lawrence Stroll.
Level 5 Motorsports, which fielded a Ferrari Crawford in selected 2008 GT events, moves to the Daytona Prototypes with a new No. 55 eCommLink BMW Riley. The team's regular drivers, Ed Zabinski - who recently won an SCCA National Championship - and Scott Tucker will partner with 2008 Mexico City winner Marc Goossens and 1995 Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winner Christophe Bouchut at the session.
Spirit of Daytona Racing will feature three motorcycle veterans in the No. 09 Porsche Coyote. Ricky Carmichael, a five-time Daytona Supercross By Honda winner, and five-time Daytona 200 By Honda winner Scott Russell, will join Superbike veteran Scott Pridmore. Joining the trio for the test will be the team's regular driver, Guy Cosmo.
Wayne Taylor, a two-time winner of the Rolex 24, will join both of his sons, Ricky and Jordan, along with Jared Beyer in the No. 19 Beyer Racing Ford Crawford. Beyer made his Rolex Series debut last April, finishing 11th at Virginia International with Ricky Taylor. Beyer and Jordan Taylor finished 15th in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona.
AIM Autosport, a two-time winner in 2008 Daytona Prototype competition, has entered a new car, the No. 11 Ford Riley. No drivers have been named for the test.
Completing the Daytona Prototype lineup will be two cars from two of the division's veteran teams. Brumos Racing entered the No. 58 Porsche Riley for Darren Law and Joao Barbosa, while Barbosa will also test the team's No. 59 entry with JC France and five-time Rolex 24 winner Hurley Haywood. Krohn Racing will test with its regular 2008 lineup, Tracy Krohn and Eric van do Poele in the No. 75 Pontiac Lola, and Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta in the No. 76.
Porsches make up the bulk of the GT entry. TRG and Farnbacher Loles Racing have each entered a trio of Porsche GT3s, with Orbit Racing, Terra Firma Motorsports and 6th Gear Racing also testing Porsches.
John Potter, Craig Stanton, Spnecer Pumpelly, Steve Miller, Chris Pallis and Steve Zadig are listed to drive the TRG entries. Entered for Farnbacher Loles are Charles Wirken, Ron Yarab Jr., Duncan Ende, Seth Ingham, Leh Keen, Bryce Miller, Daniel Graeff and Ed Pead. Lance Willsey is listed for Orbit; Joe Evans, Gary Jensen and Ron Zitza for Terra Firma; and Bruce Ledoux and David Quinlan for 6th Gear.
Jamie Holtom, the 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Street Tuner champion, will join Georgian Bay Motorsports co-driver Eric Curran in a Corvette. Florida-based Racers Edge Motorsports entered its No. 30 Mazda RX-8, with drivers Dane Cameron, Doug Peterson, Jordan Taylor and Dion von Moltke.
This is the first of three off-season tests for the Rolex Series at Daytona. Teams will test with 2009 specification Pirelli tires Nov. 11-12. A star-studded lineup is expected for the Jan. 2-4 session, the last major session prior to the 2009 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, set for Jan. 24-25.
Next week's testing runs from 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday.