Autohaus Motorsports Entering Grand-Am GT for 2008
With Aschenbach, Lewis, Stanton and Papis for Rolex 24 Driver Lineup
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. December 17, 2007 -- Autohaus Motorsports officially announced their intent to compete for the 2008 GT championship in the Grand Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, with driver duo Lawson Aschenbach and Tim Lewis, Jr. Completing the driver lineup for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona will be two veteran drivers, Craig Stanton and Max Papis. "We are absolutely thrilled to have a driver lineup with such depth and experience for the 24 hours," said Team Owner Bob Kirland. "We are so excited to be making the change to Grand Am, and I really look forward to what we can accomplish this year with such a strong team."
The team will be fielding the brand new No. 72 Autohaus Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R. Autohaus Motorsports is new to Grand Am, but not to GT racing. In 2006 and 2007 Autohaus Motorsports fielded the No. 5 Viper driven by Tommy Archer in Speed World Challenge. While it will be Autohaus' first year competing in the Grand Am Rolex series, some members of the team have already experienced the thrill of victory in Grand Am Racing.
Executive Director Nathan McBride is a multiple race winning engineer in the Grand Am series. Over his 13 years of motorsports involvement he has become accustomed to winning races and championships. In 2006 McBride and rookie driver Lawson Aschenbach teamed up to win the GT Championship with the Jon Groom Porsche in Speed World Challenge. The pair is thrilled to be reunited this year for the Rolex Grand Am Season.
"Lawson is a dynamic young driver with a bright future. He has all the qualities I look for in a driver and I'm excited to be working with him again this year," McBride stated. "The pairing of Lawson and Tim will be a winning combination for the team. The two have very similar driving styles as well as experience in Pratt & Miller General Motors products."
In 2007 defending champion Lawson Aschenbach piloted the No. 1 Cadillac for the factory team in Speed World Challenge. Aschenbach is looking forward to racing another Pratt & Miller vehicle. "It's truly an honor to be racing for Autohaus Motorsports," said Aschenbach. "I know the Pratt & Miller Pontiac is going to be a blast to drive. I'm excited to have Tim as my teammate for the season; I know we'll work well together. I'm really looking forward to the opportunities this season, and it would be great to help Pontiac win the manufacturer's title, and bring home the team and driver's championships for Autohaus Motorsports."
Co-Driver Tim Lewis, Jr. is returning to Grand Am Rolex for his second season in the Pontiac GXP.R. Lewis competed last season with the Banner Engineering team. He claimed a victory at Lime Rock in 2007, and is hopeful to return to the top of the podium in 2008. "I am extremely excited to join Autohaus Motorsports and be back in a Pontiac GXP.R for 2008," stated Lewis. "Although Autohaus is new to the Grand-Am series and the Pontiac GXP.R, our recent 2 day test at Daytona exceeded all of my expectations. The Autohaus guys worked on the car as if they've seen it a hundred times and Nathan did an excellent job improving our chassis with every change. It was also encouraging to see how well my new teammate performed and that we both have identical driving styles. I look forward to working with Nathan, Lawson and the whole Autohaus family in achieving our goal of winning the 2008 Championship."
Autohaus Motorsports ran during the November Test at Daytona with a borrowed GXP.R. It was a productive two days for the team. "I really like the way the Pratt & Miller chassis responds to changes," declared McBride. "The technical support from Pratt & Miller for their teams is second to none, and our entire team is eager to work with them this season."
Since the November testing, the team has been working to secure two additional drivers for the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, and recently signed two veterans, Craig Stanton and Max Papis. "Signing Craig and Max is a big deal for Autohaus. We are a new team to Grand Am, so having the ability to attract drivers with their experience was important to us," declared McBride. "I have worked with Craig in the past; he is immediately fast and consistent in any car he drives and conserves equipment. He is an ideal driver for endurance racing. I have never had the opportunity to work with Max Papis, but his resume speaks for itself."
Craig Stanton, of Long Beach California has two Grand Am championships under his belt. In 2004 he won the driver's championship for Grand Am Cup GS, and followed it up in 2005 with the driver's championship in the Rolex Grand Am GT class.
Italian race car driver Max Papis has a storied resume ranging from a year in F1 to race wins in CART and ALMS. Max has competed in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in various racecars for the past 10 years, and his resume includes a victory in 2002, fulfilling one of his major career ambitions. He has a recent history in Pratt & Miller vehicles, driving for both the factory Cadillac team in SCCA and the Corvette team in ALMS.
Autohaus Motorsports will be testing their new Pontiac GXP.R with their full driver lineup at the Daytona test days on January 4 -- 6, 2008.