Daytona 24: MSR - Justin Wilson spotlight

Justin Wilson focused on victory Confident after test days, Wilson looks to open 2008 with new entry on racing resume (Daytona Beach, Fla) 23 January 07 --Successful endurance racing requires two kinds of race drivers. One driver has to be...

Justin Wilson focused on victory

Confident after test days, Wilson looks to open 2008 with new entry on racing resume

(Daytona Beach, Fla) 23 January 07 --Successful endurance racing requires two kinds of race drivers. One driver has to be patient, giving room and time to recalcitrant, and occasionally erratically driven, GT traffic, as he carefully picks spots to pass in traffic while trying to make good decisions about what the competing drivers will do.

The second side of the driver is the one that can generate the maximum performance available from a car at a moments notice-factoring fuel and tire burns, brake bias, and temperatures to score the fastest possible lap whenever that dreaded traffic clears. And it's in this environment that Wilson thrives, making good decisions while also squeezing everything possible out of the car.

His endurance resume, while not extensive, is no less impressive and reflects his ability to manage both sides of what is required for success in the format. Racing at the famed Le Mans 24 Hour in 2004, Wilson set the fastest race lap of the non-Audi competitors in a privateer Dome entry, before taking an outstanding podium result in his 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona debut with Michael Shank Racing.

Wilson has won in nearly every category he's ever competed in, and he is anxious to add "Rolex Sports Car Series" and "Rolex 24 At Daytona Champion" to that list as he prepares to share the driving duties in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley with Mark Patterson, Oswaldo Negri, and Graham Rahal in this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona.

"We simply want to win. Sure, in testing and before the race gets going, this is a relaxed atmosphere compared to my time in Formula One and my normal racing environment, but there is no less dedication or focus on winning" said Wilson. "We nearly won in 2006 with AJ, Mark, and Oz, and we know that the team has only gotten stronger since then so we know we have a good opportunity once again."

One interesting role for Wilson, who also rejoined the team in the 2007 season-closer at Miller Motorsports Park, will be playing teammate to Graham Rahal, against whom he went wheel to wheel during the 2007 Champ Car season. Wilson didn't see any difference in Rahal's approach to the Rolex event from what he observed during the Champ Car season.

"Even though he's young, he is really mature, and you could just see when he got in the Daytona Prototype, how he progressed logically, lap after lap," continued Wilson. "He does a really good job and of course I'm glad he's part of the effort. Hopefully we will be able to share a victory here in January before we go fighting over them all season!"

-credit: msr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Justin Wilson , Graham Rahal , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing