For the second straight season, Chris Bingham has been crowned the Grand Am Rolex GTS Champion. In his defense of the title this season Bingham has scored four wins, six podiums, four pole positions, and five fastest race laps. Bingham drove the...
For the second straight season, Chris Bingham has been crowned the Grand Am Rolex GTS Champion. In his defense of the title this season Bingham has scored four wins, six podiums, four pole positions, and five fastest race laps. Bingham drove the Park Place Saleen S7R to the Championship, marking the third straight season a Saleen driver has won the GTS Championship.
"We had a good season," commented Bingham. "Winning the Championship again meant a lot to me, but currently I am without a ride for next season. Park Place Racing has been a great team to work with, but they are going to close their doors at the end of this season. I have been pounding the pavement working on deals for 2003. There have been some real interesting proposals, but nothing is concrete yet.
"The Grand Am Series has been a good place to race for the last couple of years for me, but I am not limiting my options to the Rolex Series. I am also looking heavily at Trans Am, ALMS, and IRL."
Bingham began racing cars in the early 90's in the Jim Russell Championship scoring fifteen wins in eighteen starts in the Jim Russell Championship series. In the mid 90's Bingham moved into sportscar racing, getting experience in outdated equipment in the American Le Mans Series. He also campaigned in the Indy Lights Championship and passed his Indianapolis Rookie test for the Indy 500 in 2000. No rides materialized in the IRL for 2000, and in 2001 the opportunity came up to drive for Park Place Racing in the Grand Am Rolex Series.
"Joining with Park Place Racing and the Saleen program was great for my career," said Bingham. "It was so refreshing to actually have new, competitive equipment to drive. I was part of the first professional worldwide win for the Saleen S7R (at Homestead in 2000), and it has come a long way since that victory. Now the car is reliable, fast, and a contender in both Grand Am and ALMS. It is a shame that Park Place Racing is going to park this car right when it is the car to have."
While the Driver's Championship is clinched for Bingham, the GTS Manufacturer's Championship isn't officially over until after the final race at Daytona is started. Porsche sits 33 points behind Saleen. With 35 points up for a victory, all Saleen will have to do at Daytona is start one car for the Championship to be theirs.
It is still early in the off season, so it isn't surprising that Bingham has no secured ride for 2003. With his credentials there is no doubt he will be in demand for next season. While the IRL may be beckoning Bingham (Bingham almost had a ride lined up for this year, but sponsorship dollars fell through), don't be surprised to see a Daytona Prototype team approach Bingham. The Saleen S7R, with its rear engine, closed cockpit, high downforce configuration is almost identical to the new Grand Am Daytona Prototype configuration, making Bingham a great asset to any Prototype team.
When asked about a potential Prototype ride, Bingham was non-committal: "I have talked to some Prototype teams, but my options are wide open at this time. Whether it is sports cars, stock cars, or open wheel cars, I just want to drive next year."
For more on Chris Bingham, visit www.chrisbingham.com.