Bell/Bell/Gregg/Wilden to drive #40 XtremeLens Corvette GTS.
Fairfax, VA (January 22, 2003) Steele Technologies announced today that it will join Derhaag Motorsports as the primary marketing partner for the team's entry in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Feb 1-2, 2003. The driver line-up for the #40 XtremeLens Chevrolet Corvette GTS is deep in talent and features two of the best known names in the history of sports car racing: Bell and Gregg. Racing legend Derek Bell and his son, Justin Bell, are teamed with Simon Gregg and Kenny Wilden. Simon, a 2000 Rolex 24 class winner, is the son of road racing champion driver and past winner at Daytona, the late Peter Gregg. Kenny Wilden posted the first-ever Trans-Am win for Derhaag Motorsports in 2000.
The 2003 Rolex 24 will mark the third time that Justin Bell and his father will be teammates in a 24-hour endurance race. Derek Bell is a three-time winner at Daytona and five-time winner at Le Mans. It is their first attempt together at Daytona.
"In 1995, my father and I raced together at Le Mans 24 hours," explained Justin. "We led that race for 16 hours before a failing clutch dropped us to third place by the finish. However, the memory of standing on the podium at Le Mans with my father on Father's Day has to be one of the most special moments in my life. So, we have unfinished business together. When Jim Derhaag opened the door for me to ask my father to join the team, I leaped at the chance.
"Looking at the bigger picture, it's certainly a historic moment when the Bells join up with the Gregg name. Our fathers raced against each other many years ago when Peter Gregg had tremendous success at Daytona. I suspect that sitting on the starting grid will be a special moment for Simon as well."
The XtremeLens sponsorship is part of a major product exhibition during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. XtremeLens, the flagship product of Steele Technologies, is the world's first interactive, tri-media (audio, video, and telemetry) system for driving and racing schools. The patent-pending system enables the real-time capture of students' personal driving experience to a CD. Drivers can study their performance, techniques, and internal responses, or simply relive an experience of a lifetime.
"Steele Technologies is proud to sponsor this team at Daytona," said Bob Steele, President of Steele Technologies. "This sponsorship reflects our sincere commitment to the most exciting sporting event that we know of. Our commitment to the racing community is what motivates us to invest in these people and their machines."
The XtremeLens system is in all the Corvette Z06's at the Justin Bell Racing School, one of which will be on display for fans to see during the event.
"To be able to enter into my second year of partnership with XtremeLens is very exciting for me," said Justin Bell. "I am huge of advocate of XtremeLens technology. The interactive entertainment and education aspect that it has brought to my school virtually guarantees that my clients will have a unique memory and souvenir of the Justin Bell Racing School."
The #40 XtremeLens Chevrolet Corvette GTS, although very similar in construction, power and appearance to Justin's Trans-Am car, was purpose-built for the endurance contest. Derek Bell expressed his thoughts about driving with Justin again and his first impression after testing the car.
"As far as I'm concerned it was a bit of a surprise when he asked me to dust off my endurance hat and race again," quipped Derek. "I didn't have to think twice about it. He's had some great results. I've driven so many things over 38 years; it's totally different in that I've never sat in such a confined space. I used to look at Justin's car over the last two years and thought that I could never get in the blasted thing. But during testing, it was much better than I thought. I'm really looking forward to the race."
Kenny Wilden has also experienced success in Derhaag Corvette, posting the team's first Trans-Am series win in 2000. Justin Bell posted back-to-back Trans-Am wins with Derhaag Motorsports in 2001 on his way to the Rookie-of-the-Year title.
Justin, Derek, Simon and Kenny were very quick during Daytona's January test days, making the Derhaag team a heavy favorite for the class win. The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona will start Saturday, February 1, 11:00 AM EST and 16 hours of live coverage can be seen on Speed Channel.