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Aussie Daniel Erickson to drive in Rolex 24 at Daytona
Daniel Erickson will step up to motorsport’s big league next month when he competes in America’s iconic sports car race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The 23 year-old Aussie will co-drive a Primus Racing Crawford-Chevrolet in the 49th running of the twice-round-the-clock classic on January 29-30 at the legendary Florida racetrack.

Erickson was thrilled at the prospect of sharing the racetrack with some of his motorsport heroes in the world-famous event.

“It’s an honour just to be invited to drive in such a prestigious race,” he said.

“I look up to people like Martin Brundle, Buddy Rice and Jimmie Johnson because they’ve won at the sport’s highest level, but to have the opportunity to race against them in similar machinery will be an unbelievable experience!”

Erickson comes to the enduro as the 2010 American F2000 Championship Series Rookie of the Year, but admits that the 300km/h Crawford will be radically different from the ‘junior development’ openwheelers he’s driven to date.

“A Daytona Prototype has nearly double the power-to-weight ratio of an F2000, as well as bigger tyres and more sophisticated aerodynamics, so I’m expecting a massive increase in performance,” he said.

He added that the 5.7km Daytona road course and the 24-hour format would present their own challenges.

“I’m looking forward to driving on Daytona’s 31-degree banking, and racing at night – they’ll be new experiences too!”

Erickson was relieved that Primus Racing owner Jon Baytos, who masterminded his F2000 Championship Series campaign, would be calling the shots from the Daytona pit lane.

“Jon did an amazing job for me in F2000 this year, overcoming all sorts of problems with his knowledge and experience,” he said.

“We get on well together because we both set high standards – there’s no-one else I’d rather have as a team manager.”

Erickson will fly to America later this month to test the Daytona car at MSR Houston Raceway.

While the car will be unfamiliar he won’t have to learn the circuit, which he lapped within a tenth of a second of the class benchmark time in his first test drive of a Star Mazda openwheeler 12 months ago.

He’ll remain in the USA for the official Grand-Am ‘Roar Before the 24’ practice sessions at Daytona in early-January.

Between then and the Rolex 24 he plans to test a Formula Star Mazda again, with a view to contesting the 2011 US national Star Mazda championship.

The Mazda-backed series, which is part of the ‘Road to Indy’ driver development program, has $US1.5M in end-of-season prizes, including a fully funded 2012 Indy Lights drive for next year’s champion.

Erickson thanked everyone who has helped him in his motorsport career to date.

“I’m so grateful to the Australian karting and car racing fraternities, Peter McQueen, ADAR, Camden Signs, PKT, Enzian Lodge, Greg Rust, Mike Russell, Darren Gillis, Robert Campbell, DPE Arrow Karts, Karting World, Borland Racing Developments, OzRacingWrap.com.au, All Jacks and Paint, Brian Wilson, the Australian Motor Sport Foundation, Jon Baytos, Jacobson Communications, Team Erickson members, the media and my family.

“They’ve all helped me in some way to achieve the results that I have so far.

“With their continued support, 2011 is set to be my most exciting and successful year yet!”
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