Bell Motorsports is aiming for the top with a strong car and driver lineup for the 2003 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Florida team will run the new Doran JE 4 Daytona Prototype race car built by Ohio-based Doran Enterprises. Bell Motorsports and Doran Racing will combine forces for the 24-hour endurance race, under the direction of team manager Kevin Doran.
Bell Motorsports won three road-racing championships in 1998 and '99 and finished second in the 2001 Rolex Sports Car Series GT class. The team has tasted victory in several 24-hour races, but has yet to win the Daytona classic. Kevin Doran won his fourth Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2002 with a six-lap margin of victory. Doran Racing has won three major championships, numerous races and multiple awards.
Car owner Forest Barber of Fort Worth, Tex., and Terry Borcheller of Phoenix will drive the No. 54 Chevrolet-powered Doran in the 2003 Rolex Sports Car Series. Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi and Belgian Didier Theys will join them for the Daytona 24-hour race.
Barber and Borcheller combined for two victories in the Grand-Am Cup series in 2002. Barber also won world and national offshore championships in 1997, '98 and '99, and set the 1999 U.I.M. offshore open-class speed record. Borcheller won the 2002 Rolex Sports Car Series SRPII driver championship, his fifth professional title in as many years. He scored seven class wins in '02, including the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Fittipaldi has enjoyed success in open-wheel racing, with three seasons in Formula One, victories in the CART Championship Series and a second-place finish in the Indianapolis 500. He will switch to stock cars in 2003, driving for Petty Enterprises.
Theys capped a long list of firsts in open-wheel and sports-car racing with the 2002 Rolex Sports Car Series SRP driver championship. He knows how to win 24-hour races, with two victories at Daytona and one at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.
"We're pulling together the best build team, the best race team and the best driver team we could possibly get," team owner Jim Bell said. "We'll start testing the car with all the drivers the first week of January. The motor ran on the dyno this past week and the results were extremely positive. Our wind-tunnel work continues and it's also been very positive."
The 2003 Rolex 24 at Daytona is set for Feb. 1 and 2 on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course in Daytona Beach, Fla.