DULLES, VA, (April 5, 2004) -- Joao Barbosa, winner of the GTS class at the 2004 Rolex 24 at Daytona, will join the SFoW Maserati team for the Food City 250 at Phoenix next weekend. Barbosa will share the team's Maserati Trofeo Light GT with regular drivers Emil Assentato and Steve Earle for the race, part of the Rolex Sports Car Series. The team also announced associate sponsorship for the Food City 250 from CBNC, "Arizona's Hottest Night Club."
"Nick Longhi, one of our regular drivers, has been advised to take some time off due to his recently diagnosed migraine headaches. Joao has been at the top of my wish list since we raced against him two years ago, and I think that he's one of the best drivers out there," explained SFoW Maserati Team Manager Glenn Marquis. We've done a lot of development to our Maserati since Homestead, and I think Joao just adds one more element to the team's progress."
"The SFoW Maserati team has consistently been one of the best GT teams," said Barbosa, "and I'm delighted to have the opportunity to race for them. With the updates Glenn has made to the car and with Emil and Steve, I think we're going to do very well at Phoenix."
Joao Barbosa began racing karts in his native Portugal. After winning three National Karting Championships and finishing third in the Formula A World Championship, he won the 1994 Portuguese National Formula Ford Championship, won the Italian Formula Europa Boxer Championship, and finished second (and Rookie of the Year) in the Italian F3 Championship. He was named a "Rising Star" in the Toyota Atlantic Series, and earned a test drive with the Minardi Formula One team. In the Rolex Sports Car Series Barbosa finished third in the 2002 GT Drivers Championship, and second in GTS in 2003. He won the GTS Class at the 2004 Rolex 24 Daytona, and most recently drove a Dallara/Judd to fourth in the LMP1 class at the 2004 12 Hours of Sebring.
CBNC, "Arizona's Hottest Night Club," will host a party honoring the team on Wednesday, April 7. Sponsorship for the SFoW Maserati team, 2002 and 2003 Rolex Sports Car Series GT Champions, comes from Maserati of Washington. Additional support is provided by Simply Wireless, Inc., one of the nation's premiere wireless retailers; TubiStyle, the leading after-market supplier of exhaust systems for exotic cars; Putnam Leasing, one of the oldest specialty vehicle leasing companies in the United States; Tradition, a world leader in the brokerage of financial and non-financial products; and J.L. Earle, M.D., P.A. Orthopaedic Surgery.
The Food City 250 will be broadcast live on the SPEED Channel on Saturday, April 10, at 9PM EDT.
Further information on the Maserati Coupe and Spyder, the Maserati Trofeo Light GT, and the SFoW may be found at www.MaseratiGT.com on the Internet.