New Crawford Daytona Prototype Tests at VIR Alton, Va. (Nov. 25) -- The Crawford DP03, the newest addition to the ranks of Grand American Road Racing Association Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototypes, had only its second outing with a test...
New Crawford Daytona Prototype Tests at VIR
Alton, Va. (Nov. 25) -- The Crawford DP03, the newest addition to the ranks of Grand American Road Racing Association Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototypes, had only its second outing with a test at VIRginia International Raceway today.
Designed and built by Crawford Race Cars of Denver, N.C., the DP03 is powered by a 5.5-liter Chevrolet V8 engine built by Pro Motor of Mooresville, N.C., and utilizes an Xtrac gearbox. It differs from previous Daytona Prototypes in the use of an aluminum honeycomb chassis in conjunction with the series-mandated tube-frame construction.
According to company founder Max Crawford, development of the new car is progressing smoothly.
"It's going very well," he said. "It isn't really a complete test for us. It's more of a systems check, to try to see what we have and make sure everything is doing what it's supposed to."
Crawford has sold three chassis to date, one to Dave Brule's BOSS MotorSport, one to Doug Goad's Spirit of Daytona team and one to Howard Motorsports, a new concern based in Denver, N.C. Both the BOSS MotorSport and Spirit of Daytona teams intend to contest the entire 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series, while plans for the Howard Motorsports effort are unknown past the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The Boss MotorSport chassis was being tested today. Renowned sports car racer Andy Wallace is the official Crawford test driver, but others taking turns behind the wheel today included Brule and racing veterans Butch Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson.
Wallace, who has vast experience in many types of racing cars, noted that the Crawford is the first Daytona Prototype he's driven, and he was very impressed.
"I've driven a lot of prototypes, both in the American Le Mans Series and in the Grand-Am before they went to Daytona Prototypes," he said. "This year I drove the Mosler MT900 at Daytona, and we won the GTS class. I had it in my mind that somewhere between the Mosler and an ALMS car was where I was going to put the Daytona Prototype, but it's actually closer to the ALMS car. I'm really pleased with that. I think it's going to be a fantastic car."
Wallace said he was satisfied with the testing progress thus far.
"As always with a completely new car, you creep up on it slowly," he explained. "Every time we go out, we're quicker. We've done mainly just short runs at the moment, just checking all the systems and making sure nothing's going to catch fire and to make sure nothing's overheating. During the last run before lunch, we just put a bit of extra wing on it and went one second quicker."
Both Crawford and Wallace indicated that VIR is a favorite testing site.
"It's an absolutely gorgeous facility," said Crawford. "It's great. The track and the conditions are almost perfect. The track's very clean, it's very safe and the people are very helpful."
Wallace, who co-drove a Crawford SSC2K to victory with Chris Dyson at VIR in the Rolex Sports Car Series' VIR 500 in 2002, concurred.
"Ever since the first time I came here, I've been a huge fan of VIR," he said. "It is one of my favorite tracks. Particularly I like the Uphill Esses. The track has everything: it has fast and slow corners, it has elevation change, and it's lovely. The job that the people here have done is superb. It always looks really clean and tidy, and it's a very, very nice place to come testing. I wish we could come more often."
Crawford will return to VIR for testing at least twice prior to the Rolex Series's pre-Rolex 24 test in early January, and perhaps once more between then and the Rolex 24, which is scheduled for Jan. 29-Feb. 1. The series will return to VIR for the VIR 400 over the weekend of Oct. 1-3.
VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River between Danville and South Boston , Va., and just north of historic Milton, N.C. In addition to its 3.27-mile natural-terrain road racing circuit (designed to be operated as two autonomous, full-service courses), VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club, America's first motorsports country club, the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park and the VIR Euro Rally School and Corporate Motorsport Experience, which features four rally stages plus a kart track, motocross track, ATV and SUV training grounds and a Tuff Terrain" course. Future plans include the VIR Gallery, a showroom for high-end collector and racing cars, and resort lodging.
VIR made history from 1957 to 1974 and is doing so again. The renovated original circuit has 17 challenging turns and 130 feet of elevation change. In addition to spectator events, the track is also available to rent for testing, driving schools and club days.