Doran-Lista's Theys honored for winning Grand Am Rolex Series SRP Drivers' Championship. SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Jan. 20 - Since he won the 2002 Sports Racing Prototype drivers' championship in the Grand American Rolex Series in November, Doran-Lista...
Doran-Lista's Theys honored for winning Grand Am Rolex Series SRP Drivers' Championship.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Jan. 20 - Since he won the 2002 Sports Racing Prototype drivers' championship in the Grand American Rolex Series in November, Doran-Lista Racing's lead driver, Didier Theys, has been honored internationally and nationally.
On Wednesday morning he'll also be honored locally, as Mayor Mary Manross of Scottsdale, Ariz. plans to issue a proclamation in recognition of the accomplishments of her town's adopted favorite son, a native of Belgium who has lived in this suburb of Phoenix full-time since 1995. The presentation is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. at Scottsdale's City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.
(Theys earned the championship at the season finale of a 10-race series, which included an event at nearby Phoenix International Raceway last April. This year that race is scheduled for May 1-3.)
On Dec. 18 Theys received the equivalent of Belgium's "Driver of the Year" award, which was presented by the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium, the governing body for the sport in that country. He was selected for this honor by a secret vote of the club members, and received a trophy and a standing ovation from approximately 2,000 on-lookers at the awards ceremony at Le Palais des Expositions du Heysel in Brussels.
"Many great drivers have won this award in the past, such as Jackie Ickx, Thierry Bourtsen and Paul Frere, so it's very nice to be included in this group," Theys said.
In December Theys was also named to the second team of the 2002 Auto Racing All America Team by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association based in Burbank, Calif. In addition to Theys, the other members of that team include Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran, Kenny Bernstein, Greg Biffle, Mike Bliss, Tom Kristensen, Clay Millican, Bill Auberlen, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.
Theys was also honored at the Grand American Road Racing Association's 2002 "Salute to the Champions" awards ceremony Jan. 4 at Daytona USA in Daytona Beach, Fla. Theys received an engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Daytona Cosmograph watch in stainless steel and 18K gold at that affair, as well as a framed pastel painting of himself and the Doran-Lista Dallara Judd #27 by artist Dr. Beth Beckner-Mills.
That night Theys also picked up the team runner-up trophy to give to team manager Kevin Doran, who will display it at the team headquarters in Lebanon, Ohio. Doran Racing has finished second in the team standings for the last three years.
The team will compete in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in 2003, beginning with the season opener, the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. on March 15.
Doran Racing is also building three new Prototype cars, called the Doran JE4, for 2003 Grand American Rolex Series competition. The team is working in conjunction with one of the teams that will campaign one of those cars, Bell Motorsports, for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway Feb. 1-2. Theys and co-drivers Christian Fittipaldi, Terry Borcheller and Forest Barber will drive in the Rolex 24 for the Bell Motorsports team in a Chevy-powered Doran JE4 that carries the number 54. Theys is scheduled to drive for that team at two other Grand Am Rolex Series races in 2003 too: the Six Hours of Watkins Glen in June and the six-hour race at Mont-Tremblant, Quebec in September.
The Doran-Lista team plans to compete in the ALMS this year with its Dallara MG #27 with Theys, Fredy Lienhard Jr. and Fredy Lienhard Sr. as the drivers. (The car's Judd engine is now known as an MG due to an agreement between Judd [Engine Developments Limited] and MG Sport & Racing that was announced on Jan. 6.) The Doran-Lista team is planning to test that car, which won the 2002 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and took Theys to the drivers' title, at Road Atlanta Motorsports Center in Braselton, Ga., on Feb. 11-12.