Rand Racing may be short on history, but it enters the Rolex 24 at Daytona long on talent. The rookie team won the SRPII class in its first Rolex Sports Car Series race last November, and posted the fastest class time during testing for the...
Rand Racing may be short on history, but it enters the Rolex 24 at Daytona long on talent. The rookie team won the SRPII class in its first Rolex Sports Car Series race last November, and posted the fastest class time during testing for the 24-hour race. The endurance classic is scheduled for Feb. 2 and 3 on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The team returns to Daytona with a strong driver lineup including owner Bill Rand of Plano, Tex.; Anthony Lazzaro of Hickory, N.C.; Terry Borcheller of Phoenix, Ariz. and German Ralf Kelleners. Rand's No. 8 Nissan Lola will be prepared by the veteran Risi Competizione crew.
"I'm a lot more confident going in as a team owner than I am as a driver, simply because it's my first time to race at Daytona," Rand said. "I've got three of the most qualified co-drivers in the field. They're all good people and great drivers. I wouldn't hire someone on their driving ability alone; they have to work well with the team. If you have a cohesive team where everybody gets along, you're going to have success."
The multi-talented Lazzaro has raced in a host of series, from open-wheel to stock cars. His 2002 plans include driving for Rand Racing in the Rolex Series and Sam Schmidt Racing in the Indy Racing League. Lazzaro drove 14 hours in the 1998 Daytona race and won the GT2 class the next year. He is optimistic about his chance for another victory.
"I feel like it's our race to lose," he said. "Bill does things one way, and that's the right way. He's come into it and assembled a first-class, championship-winning team right off the bat. That was evident when we went to the finale in November and won the first time out. Having Risi prepare everything and hiring professional drivers has taken it to a new level."
Borcheller, who has won four championships in the past four years, will compete in three series this season. He'll be starting only his third Daytona race, but he noted the Rand drivers share the same perspective, critical for victory in endurance racing.
"We know it's not a sprint race, there aren't a lot of egos within the team and we all respect one another's talents," he explained. "I think teams get into trouble in a 24-hour race when they're trying to prove something within the team and that's how you lose the race."
Kelleners brings a history of worldwide racing success, including class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona. He is joining Rand Racing for the first time, but raced with Risi Competizione in 2000 and '01.
"I know all the mechanics and I have the highest respect for all of them because of the way they work," he said. After testing with Rand, he is also enthused about his co-drivers. "We got accustomed to each other," he noted. "We found out we have the same driving style and we all enjoy the same changes to the car, so that's very helpful."
So what goals does a rookie team set? "I want an overall podium," Rand said. "I believe we have an excellent shot at winning our class, and an overall podium would be a dream come true. It's a possibility if we run a clean race and a smart race."