Birmingham: Spirit of Daytona race report

Spirit of Daytona Racing Strong in Alabama Heat Porsche V8-Coyote sets Porsche pace in qualifying before contact ends day early BIRMINGHAM, Ala., 20 July -- After scoring the best qualifying result to date for the V8 Porsche-powered Coyote...

Spirit of Daytona Racing Strong in Alabama Heat
Porsche V8-Coyote sets Porsche pace in qualifying before contact ends day early

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., 20 July -- After scoring the best qualifying result to date for the V8 Porsche-powered Coyote chassis and running in strong enough form to lead the race on two occasions, the Spirit of Daytona Racing effort was thwarted late in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradly Arant at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday. A competing Daytona Prototype made a remarkably ambitious and ultimately impossible pass for position, careening into the No. 09 Porsche-Coyote with Guy Cosmo at the helm, sending him off-track and out of the race with just a handful of laps remaining.

Drivers Cosmo and Marc-Antoine Camirand had to fight high temperatures right from the green flag, as Spirit of Daytona Racing performed two fast driver changes during the race to keep the drivers as fresh as possible. Cosmo opened the race and after momentarily losing ground at the start, settled into a good pace, making the most of the Coyote's consistent times and handling to cycle to the lead before turning the machine over to Camirand to manage the middle stint of the two hour and forty-five minute event.

The Porsche 250 event was run amid stifling heat and humidity that sent cockpit temperatures soaring to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, but the Porsche V8 never dropped out of the top ten, and was in podium position more than once before the incident ended the day.

"It's a shame to not get to take the checkered flag and come out of here with a good result, but we know we had a good run today and we have to be happy with how things went all weekend, if not the result," said team owner Troy Flis. "This motor had no problem keeping up even in these temperatures and it continues to impress us. We aren't running for the championship so that makes this hurt a little bit less because the points don't matter as much as the performance does. Guy and Marc drove the wheels off this thing, and my guys on the crew had some good stops even though this heat was really something else! But we'll take this and see what we can apply to the race up in Montreal."

The offending racer, who made headlines earlier this year with a spectacular high-speed one-car crash on his first flying lap in testing at Daytona International Speedway, was hoping to make the most of the braking zone at Barber Park, but brought far more speed than sense into the corner and careened into Cosmo, who was already mid-corner at the time of the contact.

"The race was playing in our favor and we had a solid car and even though this is a hard place to pass, we were right in the lead pack and heading for probably our best finish," said Cosmo. "I'm not happy wit the way things ended of course, to have a car a couple of laps down take us out of a good finish with just a few laps to go. It's a good thing to have a mix of drivers in this series with different backgrounds, but I don't care where you've raced before, if you are making these kinds of desperate moves, that's not good for anyone except the guys selling parts!"

The next round will see Sprit of Daytona Racing make a North of the border debut with the Porsche V8-powered Coyote machine on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on August 1. Canadian Camirand has a large following in the market, having stamped his name three times as a winner in both touring car and formula car competition at the track.

"I'm really looking forward to Montreal," said Camirand with a smile. "The summer is nice there, and it never, ever, gets this hot!! I know the race track really well and hopefully it's a good place for us to wind out this Porsche V8 a little bit. There are some technical corners and some very fast blind corners so it is a big challenge for the drivers, but I can not wait to get up there and race on my home turf!"

-credit: sod

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Marc-Antoine Camirand , Guy Cosmo , Gilles Villeneuve