Gurney enjoys first Grand-Am test at Speedway
GRAND-AM drivers and teams prepared for the inaugural Super Weekend at the Brickyard in July 2012 by testing Wednesday, Sept. 7 on the Grand Prix road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Testing also is scheduled from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, with Daytona Prototypes and GT cars from the Rolex Sports Car Series and Grand Sport and Street Tuner cars from the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Fans are welcome to watch GRAND-AM testing Thursday for free from the South Terrace grandstands adjacent to the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.
GRAND-AM will make its IMS debut Friday, July 27, 2012 as part of the inaugural Super Weekend at the Brickyard. Separate races for the Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will take place that day on the 13-turn, 2.534-mile Grand Prix course at IMS, with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series action also on the oval during the four-day event from July 26-29.
GRAND-AM drivers testing today at IMS included Alex Gurney, Ricky Taylor, Max Angelelli, Craig Stanton, Ronnie Bremer, John Edwards, Eric Foss and Tom Long.
Two-time Daytona Prototype season champion Gurney is the son of Indianapolis 500 and American Formula One legend Dan Gurney, a two-time Indy 500 runner-up as a driver and the winning car owner in 1975 with Bobby Unser behind the wheel.
After his morning test session under cool and windy conditions at IMS, Gurney spoke about his experience.
Q: After getting a few laps under your belt, what are your thoughts about running at IMS?
ALEX GURNEY: It's great to be here at Indy. I've never driven around this course. I went once around it in a bus, but other than that I haven't been. So I guess it's been a little over 40 years since a Gurney has been here. It's pretty exciting for me. There's a lot of family history here, and when I drove in this morning, I was thinking how hard my dad fought for so many years to win here, and they were able to do it with a team. But anyway, it's real special to be here.
Q: How happy are you to see GRAND-AM running at Indy?
GURNEY: It's great. We love it that GRAND-AM is coming here. It's on the infield road course, but it's still Indy. When you're driving outside, you realize how big the place is and how special it is, and how many great drivers have been here.
Q: As a driver, is this a fun course for you to compete on?
GURNEY: It is. I think when the car is working well, the track's going to feel great. We've only been out for a few laps to get a feel, but so far it's a lot of fun.
Q: What were your initial thoughts when you first heard that GRAND-AM was going to run here?
GURNEY: It did feel like a natural fit. I haven't heard exactly how long the race is going to be. I think they're working on a longer endurance race, so that would be really exciting. I think coming here on the NASCAR weekend, it'll be our biggest crowd ever, so it'll be nice to get GRAND-AM in front of a lot of fans.
Q: Do you think fans like GRAND-AM racing after they experience it?
GURNEY: They do. The racing is undeniable. To me, it's the best racing in the world. I think the cars are kind of the perfect balance between today's technology and keeping it within the range where the aero isn't doing all the work, so drivers are still sliding around a lot and they have contact, and people love it.
Q: Did your father give you any advice before coming here?
GURNEY: Not really, but I've heard a lot of stories over the years. He was so close in 1969 with Mario (in the Indianapolis 500), and he got second two times (1968, 1969) so it's pretty fun to be here.