Daytona 24: Rolex 24 news and notes

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 19, 2001) -- With the Rolex 24 At Daytona January Test Days only two weeks away, several teams and drivers have announced their plans for the 40th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, as well as the 2002 season. The ...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 19, 2001) -- With the Rolex 24 At Daytona January Test Days only two weeks away, several teams and drivers have announced their plans for the 40th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, as well as the 2002 season. The January Test Days will be held at Daytona International Speedway, Jan. 3-5, 2002, with the Rolex 24 At Daytona event weekend starting Jan. 31. The green flag will fall on the famous twice-around-the-clock endurance race on Feb. 2 at 1 p.m.

Flis Motorsports Joins Forces with Team RE/MAX for Second Corvette

Two-time American GT champion Flis Motorsports is joining forces with Team RE/MAX in a second Corvette entry into the AGT class a the Rolex 24 At Daytona. David Liniger, John Metcalf and Rick Carelli have been announced as three of the four drivers in the #90 Corvette. Liniger is the International Chairman and cofounder of RE/MAX Reality International. Carelli, a regular in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and Metcalf, a former NASCAR Winston Racing Series driver, will join Liniger in the new Corvette. The announcement of the car's fourth driver is expected sometime next week.

Maassen Named as Third Champion Driver

Champion Racing announced its third driver in the #27 Porsche-engined Lola. Sascha Maassen will join Andy Wallace and five-time Rolex 24 winner Hurley Haywood in the car. Wallace and Haywood piloted the Porsche to a second-place finish in the Grand-Am Finale at Daytona International Speedway last month.

Gavin, Leitzinger Go From Rivals to Teammates

An intense rivalry developed between Oliver Gavin, in the Intersport Racing Judd Lola, and Butch Leitzinger, with Dyson Racing Team, during the 2001 Rolex Series season. The two drivers gave fans plenty of exciting racing action throughout the season as they battled nose-to-tail for the win at nearly every race. But the two rivals will become teammates in Dyson's #16 Ford-powered Riley & Scott during the Rolex 24 At Daytona. "Hopefully it will be a lot more relaxed with Ollie on our team," Leitzinger said. "It seemed like all year when I was getting in my car during the race, he was getting in his. We were in some tight battles against each other. I'm glad I'll be sharing a car with him at the Rolex, so maybe I can relax a little bit."

Smith Joins Riley & Scott Team

Guy Smith was announced as the second driver in the Jim Matthews Racing Elon-powered Riley & Scott. Smith will join car owner Jim Matthews at Rolex 24 At Daytona. After taking a year off from the Rolex 24, Bill Riley will return to Daytona with factory support for the team. "We are putting together a factory team after taking a year off. Guy did very well for us at the test in Road Atlanta, and we think he'll be an asset to the team," Riley said. "We hope to announce the remaining two drivers for the car in the coming week."

Two-time SRP driver champion James Weaver will round out the trio of drivers in the #16 Ford at the Rolex 24. Dyson's second car, the #20 Ford Riley & Scott, will have a four-driver lineup that includes team owner Rob Dyson and his son Chris, along with veteran racers Elliot Forbes-Robinson and Dorsey Schroeder.

2000 Toyota Atlantic Champ to Test with Miracle Motorsports

Winter Haven, Fla.-based Miracle Motorsports announced this week that 2000 Toyota Atlantic champion Buddy Rice, of Phoenix, will test with the team during January Test Days in Daytona. "He is a proven winner, and we are thrilled that he will share his talents with us at the test," Team owner and driver John Macaluso said. "We look for Buddy to give us a different perspective as to the development and refinement of our car."

Also returning for Test Days will be Brent Sherman, of North Barrington, Ill., who co-drove with Macaluso in the team's #6 Ford-powered Riley & Scott in its 2001 campaign.

Ferrari Celebrates 35th Anniversary of Sweep with All-Star Lineup

Risi Competizione will contest a new Ferrari 333SP in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, celebrating the 35th anniversary of Ferrari's sweep of the podium at the historic race. The #13 Ferrari will have an all-star driver lineup that includes Eric van de Poele, David Brabham, Stefan Johnasson and Ralf Kelleners. Kelleners will pull double duty during the Rolex 24, also racing in the SportsRacing Prototype II class in the Rand Racing #8 Nissan Lola.

Archangel Hopes to Defend Rolex 24, Series Championship Crowns

Two-time team owner champion Mike Johnson announced his plans to return to the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2002 in hopes of defending his SportsRacing Prototype II crown. His Archangel Motorsports Services team will begin their assault on the title at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, where they look to repeat as the SRPII winners. Archangel's driver lineup for the famous race including Jeff Clinton, Jeff Tillman, Curtis Francois and Larry Connor in the Budweiser #21 Nissan-powered Lola, while Steve Knight, Mel Hawkins, Brian DeVries and Chad Block will team up in the DNTLWorks/CyberGrad #22 Nissan Lola.

"Last year was our toughest season yet, and this one won't be any easier with the new competition," Johnson said. "I feel very confident with our Rolex lineup, and if we have the reliability we had last year, I think we'll be tough to beat."

Team Ascari to Run at January Test Days

Team Ascari has entered two cars into the Rolex 24 At Daytona January Test Days. One entry will run a Judd power plant, while the other will have a BMW engine. No drivers have been registered on the two cars yet.

Gregg Signs On With American Viperacing

Sports car veteran Simon Gregg has signed on to drive the lead car for American Viperacing at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Gregg was part of the American GT-winning Hamilton Safe Motorsports team at the 2001 Rolex 24 and is hoping to score a second victory in the GTS class at the 2002 race.

Sky Blue Racing to Run AGT Mustang

Sky Blue Racing recently received a completed American GT Mustang designed and built by Irv Hoerr of Hoerr Racing Products. The team plans to contest the Rolex 24 At Daytona with Hoerr, Darin Brassfield, Jack Busch and team owner Woodson Duncan sharing in the driving duties. "Moving over to endurance racing was a goal when I started racing," Duncan said. "And I love American muscle cars. So, American GT is a natural class to compete in."

The 40th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona will kick off the 2002 Rolex Sports Car Series season, as well as SpeedWeeks at Daytona International Speedway. Tickets are currently on sale for the Rolex 24 At Daytona and may be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 386-253-RACE. The Rolex 24 At Daytona will be broadcast on Speedvision.

More information on the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grand-am.com.

-GrandAm-

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