SunTrust Racing Completes Rolex 24 Lineup
The lineup is complete for the No. 10 SunTrust Racing team at the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance classic at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Joining regulars Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle in the four-driver lineup that will share the duties behind the wheel of the SunTrust Ford Dallara will be team owner and two-time Rolex 24 winner Wayne Taylor, as well as Portuguese sports car and Formula 1 veteran Pedro Lamy.
“I’m really happy with the lineup we’ve been able to put together for the upcoming Rolex 24,” said Taylor, who co-drove to victory with Angelelli in the 2005 Daytona season-opener en route to that year’s Rolex Series championship for SunTrust, and also was a Rolex 24 winner in 1996. “Max and I have tried in the past to have Pedro join us but were unable to work it out until this event. So we’re very happy to confirm that he will be joining Max and Brian and myself starting at the January Test Days.”
For Angelelli and Taylor, it will be their sixth Rolex 24 together as SunTrust co-drivers. They qualified second and finished fifth in their SunTrust Racing debut in 2004 with Emmanuel Collard as the third driver. Angelelli, Taylor and Collard qualified second and led a race-high 282 laps on their way to victory in 2005. An early race accident spoiled SunTrust’s 2006 victory bid, but SunTrust returned with a strong first effort under the Wayne Taylor Racing banner in 2007 as Angelelli, Taylor, Jan Magnussen and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon qualified second and brought home another podium finish.
Last year, Angelelli, Taylor, Michael Valiante and Taylor’s teenage son Ricky Taylor overcame overheating problems and brake issues to soldier home with SunTrust’s fourth top-five finish in five Rolex 24 outings. In addition, Wayne Taylor Racing partnered with Penske Racing to field a second Daytona Prototype for the first time – featuring IndyCar stars Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe and former NASCAR champion Kurt Busch behind the wheel – that overcame an early race accident and overheating problems of its own for a podium finish.
Frisselle, the Aspen, Colo., resident who turns 25 on Dec. 28, will be competing in his fifth Rolex 24 with his best finish of fifth coming in the No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley in 2007. Frisselle, recently announced as Angelelli’s SunTrust Racing full-time co-driver for the 2009 season, was a two-time winner with the No. 61 team in 2008.
Lamy, the 36-year-old from Lisbon who has 32 career Formula 1 starts, is the first Portuguese driver to score a World Championship point in the 1995 Australian Grand Prix. While the veteran driver will be making his first career Rolex 24 appearance, he has made a name for himself in recent years in sports prototype racing. As a factory driver for Peugeot in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) the past two seasons, Lamy has co-driven the Peugeot prototype to five ELMS victories in 11 races in 2007 and 2008. He also has become a fixture at the 24 Hours of LeMans, where he co-drove the Peugeot to a second-place finish in 2007.
“I’m very happy to join my friends Max and Wayne and all of the SunTrust team because it’s a very good team, and I have been wanting to race at the Daytona 24-hour for a very long time,” Lamy said. “This time, we managed to make it happen and I am thankful to Peugeot for allowing me to do this. And to do it with a very competitive race car and team, I’m very, very happy. The SunTrust team has a very good reputation in America and all around the world. It will be my first time with the team, and my first time racing at Daytona, although I visited the track two years ago and got a good look at it, so I am looking forward to it. It is a very unusual track compared to the kind of tracks we race on in Europe. A lot of drivers I’ve talked to who have raced on it say they like it a lot, so hopefully after the first test, I will have it figured out. Fortunately, I have a lot of experience racing 24-hour races – Le Mans, Spa, Zolder – Daytona is the only one that is missing in my life, so the experience should help a lot.”