Frisselle Joins Angelelli
Brian Frisselle, the 24-year-old American who scored a pair of breakthrough Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series victories this past August, has joined the No. 10 SunTrust team of Wayne Taylor Racing as co-driver with Italian former series champion Max Angelelli for the 2009 season.
Frisselle, who was born in Southern California and resides in Aspen, Colo., recently wrapped up his second full season and fourth overall in the Rolex Series, co-driving with his brother Burt in 2005 and 2006 and the past two seasons with Mark Wilkins on the AIM Autosport Ford Riley team. He and Wilkins scored AIM’s breakthrough back-to-back wins in August at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and the very next weekend after earning his first career pole position at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. Frisselle and Wilkins, who finished fifth in the season-ending point standings, scored a third-consecutive podium finish in late-August with a third-place effort at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., where Angelelli and the SunTrust team scored their lone victory of 2008.
“Brian is a winner, plain and simple, and with SunTrust Racing being all about winning championships, that makes Brian the perfect choice to join Max as co-driver in 2009,” said Wayne Taylor, who co-drove to the 2005 Rolex Series title for SunTrust with Angelelli.
Angelelli’s full-time co-driver in 2008 was Canadian Michael Valiante, with whom he teamed for the victory at Infineon, followed by back-to-back second-place finishes at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, and Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, to close the season. The SunTrust team finished sixth in the final standings – its first time outside the top-three in five Rolex Series seasons.
“Brian is a young guy but he’s been racing Grand-Am for several years, now, and he is definitely the kind of driver who can help us win a championship,” said Angelelli, whose 12 career Rolex Series wins ranks second on the all-time list. “Brian showed last year that he is a tough competitor and he is capable of winning races and qualifying on the pole. Wayne and I have always been interested in him and I am very happy that we have been able to make him a part of our team. We’ve known him and his family for a long time and I think he is going to be a natural fit for SunTrust and for this team.”
Frisselle’s career began to take shape as a championship contender in open-wheel’s Skip Barber Western Championship series in 2002, then during his march through the 2003 Formula Dodge National Championship and Fran-Am 1600 Western Series, and the 2004 Star Mazda Series North American Championship and Formula BMW USA Championship ranks. His first taste of Rolex Series competition came in 2005 and 2006 as co-driver with his brother Burt in the No. 8 Synergy Racing Doran prototype. He moved to the No. 61 AIM Autosport team in 2007 and scored a pair of top-10 finishes for the brand new team before finishing with a season-best fifth-place run in the Miller Motorsports Park finale.
“I am unbelievably fired up about joining Max and Wayne and coming to the SunTrust team,” said Frisselle, who’s made 49 Rolex Series starts in all the past four seasons. “SunTrust has made its mark as a team of excellence since it joined the series back in 2004. They’ve pretty much been a contender for the championship every year they’ve competed. To be part of an organization like that, and to drive alongside Max Angelelli as his teammate, having Wayne Taylor as a team owner, and SunTrust as a sponsor, that’s an opportunity of a lifetime. Wayne has always been a special mentor to me. Back when I was just getting started and there were times I was struggling, Wayne would come over and tell me to keep the faith and have confidence in myself. I’m looking forward to my role qualifying the SunTrust car and driving the first part of the races and handing the car over to Max for a strong finish. He’s arguably the best finisher in all of Grand-Am, so if I just keep doing my job, we’ll hopefully be contending for another championship. No matter what, it’s a great opportunity, and I know it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
“For anyone who has watched the Rolex Series as closely as we have in recent years, it’s no secret that Brian is one of the brightest young driving talents in all of sports car racing,” said Krista Massey, Senior Vice President, Director of Sponsorships and Event Marketing, SunTrust Banks, Inc. “We are certainly proud to welcome him to our team and very much look forward to Brian and Max’s fight in 2009 to bring the Rolex Series championship back to SunTrust.”
The SunTrust team next takes to the track for testing Nov. 11-12, and again Jan. 2-4, at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 2009 season begins Jan. 24-25 with the traditional Rolex 24 At Daytona.