There's the Rolex 24 and, with the exception of Watkins Glen I and Miller Motorsports Park, there's the rest of the season. That's 11 races where the rules are different. Not the rules of play, per se, as the rules of how it's played -...
There's the Rolex 24 and, with the exception of Watkins Glen I and Miller Motorsports Park, there's the rest of the season. That's 11 races where the rules are different. Not the rules of play, per se, as the rules of how it's played - all staying within the Rolex Sports Car Series' rulebook, of course.
Endurance races aren't named such because they are something other than longevity contests. Everything having to with anything concerning an endurance race revolves around lasting - absolutely, positively being about hanging around until race end. That's what everything -- from drivers to cars -- is geared toward.
Engines are "de-tuned," stressed parts are built to be far more capable of withstanding stress while team members have masseuses and drivers use hyperbaric chambers.
And while more cars are racing on the lead laps at the end of the Rolex Series' endurance races than ever before, they still are cars that were not the same cars you'll see later today in Mexico City. Those cars are made to be rockets. Some are designed to last only a current race's length.
Let the sprint racing begin.
It's Just Different Here
Mexico City is a place every North American should visit at some time in his lifetime.
We tend to see images and read about the 'poor' Mexican -- which exits -- but they also are mothers and fathers who have worries just like mothers and fathers anywhere. Mexico City also has its upper crusts who have every bit as much 'class' as anywhere else -- and, also like anywhere else, have those with 'crass.'
Though rumors abound this'll be the last Busch Series race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez (which may also affect the Rolex Series' date here) one should make the time to visit Mexico City -- especially if the Rolex Series returns.
Oh, Yeah, This IS A Motorsports Column, Isn't It?
Put a new engine in the No. 76 Krohn Racing car and it still goes fast.
Trading last year's Ford for Pontiac power this year, Colin Braun is picking up where he left off in 2006 by scoring the Mexico City pole. With an 11th-place class finish in the Rolex 24 he's got a formidable group of drivers and teams to first climb over to have a legitimate championship shot, but with Max Papis in the car it may be all but a done deal.
Last year's co-driver and Daytona Prototype driving points champion Jorg Bergmeister, now in Alex Job Racing's Ruby Tuesday No. 23 Porsche-Crawford, learned to be patient and take the races as they come. That's usually a hallmark of maturity, something youth often is claimed to be without -- a belief many, if not all, youth, would contest by the way. I know; I did.
Papis, schooled by 2004 Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabates co-driver Scott Pruett to look toward a series' championship -- which the two won -- is certainly now in the hunt for a second Rolex Series championship.
Will team owner Tracy Krohn score another championship this year?
Look, at the first of last year I was plainly wrong about what the team would accomplish but it's really, really tough for a someone to claim back-to-back championships -- unless, of course, it's an Audi with virtually no competition (no disrespect intended, Rob and Chris Dyson, but you guys will likely fare a tad better with your new cars this year).
Clearly the SunTrust and CompUSA/Telmex teams are class acts. They have worked hard to achieve a great deal, but they've not won back-to-back DP championships.
During the midst of Friday's GT qualifying a multi-wheeled small utility vehicle appeared on the racing surface somewhere around Turn Six and drew a starter's black flag for everyone else, eventually motored off.
When I first heard a "mule" was on the track, I thought it exactly that.
ILLEGAL, BUT ONLY SLIGHTLY SO
Though "Illegal" is a bit strong of a word used to describe Rolex Series' officials' first official scrutinizing of Eddie Cheever's new No. 39 Crown Royal Porsche-Fabcar bodywork, the car was subsequently massaged sufficiently to make today's field.
If you've yet to see it, the noticeable differences are the nose treatment and the "air channels" which run from just behind the car's doors toward the car's rear atop the rear deck.
Cheever said he likes it; Christian Fittipaldi says it's far easier in the handling department.
Speaking of FABCAR
Fabcar owner Dave Klym noted that he's celebrating his 30th anniversary this year -- as a race-car builder. Beyond the present-day DP, Fabcar built most of the famed Porsche 962s in the world and still does many of the repairs dealt by blows to one of historical racing's favorite cars.
A Better Series?
Motorsports entrepreneur John Bishop founded some of North America's finest racing series, from the aforementioned IMSA to the fabled, (at first) run-what- ya- brung Can-Am.
The Rolex Series' Mark Raffauf, eventually becoming IMSA's president before it went away with the advent of the Andy Evans Professional Sports Car era (today's IMSA originated from a veritable garage sale of the name and not a strictly defined, uninterrupted evolution of the series) has done a pretty good job of carrying the car-racing flame passed to him from Bishop.
Over breakfast this morning in Mexico City, his always-on mind (nope, not even for sleep) Raffauf explained the prototypical details of a new series that'll probably be one of the best to have ever hit the pavement but is far too complicated a subject to tackle just this moment -- I've got to learn a few more DP rules, yet.
There's not a column I don't write that I feel every topic's been covered; that something's been left unsaid. Whatever it is will have to wait until next time.
Let's go racing.
--Written Exclusively for Motorsport.com by DC Williams