France’s Pagenaud Readies For First Rolex 24 At Daytona With Team Sahlen’s Daytona Prototype Debut The "Wayne and Dane" Show is adding a marquee name to its first-ever Daytona Prototype lineup. World-class endurance driver Simon Pagenaud will join Wayne Nonnamaker and Dane Cameron in Team Sahlen's No. 42 BMW Riley for January's 51st running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Never shy about creating a presence, Team Sahlen's cars are among the most recognizable in GRAND-AM. The New York organization announced its move from GT to Daytona Prototype earlier this year.
The signing of the Frenchman Pagenaud, the 2010 American Le Mans Series LMP champion, significantly burnishes the first-year DP team's credentials. Pagenaud was the top qualifier for the Le Mans 24 Hour race in 2010 and finished second overall for Team Peugeot Total in 2011.
Driving for Sam Schmitt Motorsports, the 2006 Formula Atlantic champion finished fifth in this year's IndyCar driver championship and was named rookie of the year. Pagenaud was 16th in his first Indianapolis 500.
"He is obviously a driver who gets the maximum out of the car," said Will Nonnamaker, Team Sahlen's sporting director. "We are excited about bringing him back to endurance racing with the hope of even more success.
"By adding Simon to an already strong lineup of Wayne Nonnamaker and Dane Cameron, we should be well positioned to battle at the front of the very competitive field."
Pagenaud's only previous GRAND-AM appearance was in a Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He finished sixth in the ST class driving for the Compass360 Racing team.
"Team Sahlen is showing great promise and together we will face a fantastic challenge," said the 28 year-old native of Poitiers, France. "I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to compete in the Rolex 24 At Daytona for the first time.
"Dane is a great talent who I watched in Star Mazda and I am looking forward to working with Wayne and the whole team. I will do my best to bring my 'A' game and help the team complete their goals."
The team will field a second Daytona Prototype in January's race. Among the drivers of the No. 43 BMW Riley are Joe Sahlen, Joe Nonnamaker and Will Nonnamaker. Team Sahlen has recorded 53 victories and four Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge titles since its professional debut in 1984. During 2011-2012, the organization posted a victory, five podiums and two pole positions competing in the Rolex Series GT class.
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