LePan has already started work with the Pompano Beach, Florida-based team, which will race again on March 29th as part of the GAINSCO Grand Prix at Homestead Miami Speedway for round two of the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season.
“Phil was looking to do something different, and we were lucky enough to be able to grab him before anybody else did," said team owner Peter Baron. “ Last year due to budget constraints we operated without a full-time team manager, and we’re thrilled to have a Manager with Phil’s credential helping lead the team. An added bonus, Phil already has a lot of experience working with our Technical Director Steve (Challis) back at Forsythe which resulted in numerous wins, so we are really happy to have him on board and are looking forward to our home race at Homestead."
Samax Motorsport has been busy since the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, making the move to Dinan-prepared BMW power plants and putting the new package through its paces during February’s Rolex Series open test at Homestead.
“I’ve always been on the open wheel side and don’t have any experience with sports cars, but I am really looking forward to getting in there and learning as much as I can," said LePan. “My priority will be to become as familiar with the car as possible so I can start contributing to the effort. This is an entirely new challenge for me, but I’m really excited about the opportunity here. Also, I’ve watched Rolex Series races on TV, so I know that this is some tremendously exciting racing!"
The hiring marks a new chapter in the long working relationship between LePan and Samax Technical Director Steve Challis, which reaches back to their time together at Forsythe Racing with young charger Greg Moore.
“This slower pace of the Rolex schedule is good for old guys like us!" joked Challis, who joined Samax in advance of the 2007 season. “Phil is going to be a great asset for this team. Sure, he doesn’t know everything about these cars yet, but he will soon enough, and in the meantime there is no one else you want to have running things on your side."