CHAMPCAR/CART: Daytona 24: Rocketsports Racing announces driver line-up

LANSING, Mich. - Three Trans-Am champions will team up for the famed Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance classic on February 2-3. Three-time Trans-Am champion Paul Gentilozzi has selected 2000 Trans-Am titlist Brian Simo and two-time Trans-Am champion...

LANSING, Mich. - Three Trans-Am champions will team up for the famed Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance classic on February 2-3. Three-time Trans-Am champion Paul Gentilozzi has selected 2000 Trans-Am titlist Brian Simo and two-time Trans-Am champion Scott Pruett as co-drivers for the Rocketsports Racing No.3 Johnson Controls/HomeLink Jaguar XKR competing in the GTS class. They'll share driving duties with racing specialist Michael Lauer.

Pruett and Gentilozzi drove to the overall win in the 1994 Rolex 24 race in a Nissan 300ZX GTS class car with Steve Millen and Butch Leitzinger and competed in last year's Rolex 24 in a Saleen S7R entry. No stranger to Daytona, Simo stood third on the podium in the Callaway Corvette in 1996.

Pruett, who ran his rookie season in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 2000, has three additional class wins at Daytona. He scored GTO class victories in a Roush Mustang in 1987 and 1988 as well as the GTP class win in 1991 in a Jaguar XJR12. He also won the 1991 IROC race.

"It was a simple choice," said Gentilozzi, who has 23 Trans-Am and seven IMSA wins. "There are guys you race against and friends you race with. Brian and Scott are great drivers and great friends.

"There's a big difference between driving fast cars fast and racing fast cars," continued Gentilozzi, who ranks first in all-time Trans-Am top-three, top-five, and top-ten finishes, "Fast Five" qualifying efforts, laps led, lead-lap finishes, and race starts. "You want to surround yourself with drivers you can trust without question, and both Scott and Brian are at the top of the list."

"I'm excited to be racing with Rocketsports," said Simo, who finished second behind Gentilozzi in the 2001 Trans-Am title hunt. "It's no secret they have a great team and I think we have a strong driver line-up. It'll be great to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Paul, Scott, and Michael at the 24-hour."

"Paul and I know each others strengths and weaknesses and we've got no ego behind the wheel," explained Pruett, who has additional drivers' championships in IMSA GTO competition as well as a pair of CART wins. "Brian has a proven record, the ability to be very fast, and will be an instrumental part of the team. Everything I've heard about Michael has been very positive and I look forward to driving with him at Daytona.

"This is a stout driver roster," concluded Gentilozzi. "We'll be one of the teams to beat."

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Series GRANDAM , IMSA , INDYCAR , IROC , NASCAR-CUP , TRANSAM