Daytona Prototype teams, drivers face tougher points race in 2004.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 17, 2004) -- The explosion of the number of Daytona Prototype teams in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will make the 2004 race for the North American Road Racing Championship much tougher that last season.
The 2003 North American Road Racing Championship came down to the wire, and despite a rough start to the season, Bell Motorsports and driver Terry Borcheller took the inaugural title in the final laps of the Grand American Champions Weekend race.
However, with 17 Daytona Prototypes in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and several new cars expected for the Grand Prix of Miami, a bad weekend at the track can prove far more detrimental to teams and drivers in the points race than it did last season.
Mike Borkowski and David Donohue teamed in the Brumos Racing Red Bull Daytona Prototype last year, battling with Borcheller in the Bell Motorsports car until the final laps of season for the championship. However, Borkowski admits that this year teams will not be able to have a string of bad luck like both of the top teams did last season and still remain in the hunt.
"If there were 20 or 30 cars last year, neither the Red Bull car nor Terry would have won the championship, because (Bell Motorsports) had a bad first third of the season, and we had a bad final third," said Borkowski, who pilots the Mears Motorcoach No. 9 Ford Multimatic with Paul Mears Jr. this season. "In a big championship hunt, you might be able to afford one bad race, but you have to win races and be consistent. If you drop out of the race now, it really hurts you more in the points. It's going to be tougher to win the championship this year, because there are so many cars that can win."
Darren Law agrees with Borkowski and knows that he and Donohue have a tough road ahead if they plan on putting the Brumos Racing Red Bull entry back on top of the points. After a 16th-place finish in the Daytona Prototypes class at the Rolex 24, Law and Donohue are now 59th in the point standings after finishing second and sixth, respectively, in last year's standings.
"We lost a lot of points at Daytona. No matter how long the races are at the rest of the events, they have to be driven hard. I think we are taking a different approach because of the way we started the season," said Law.
JC France and Hurley Haywood led the Daytona Prototype points for the first half of the 2003 season, but after a rough start this season, the pair of Brumos drivers are now 38th heading into round two.
"It's going to be hard season. We have to run as hard as we can and try to be consistent. Unfortunately, we had bad luck at the beginning of the season, but everyone gets bitten. It's still early," said France, who finished fourth in last year's driver point standings. "It just takes consistent finishes. If you can stay in the top five, and definitely on the podium, you are going to be in contention when it comes down to the wire."
Round two of the Rolex Sports Car Series is the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway, February 28. Tickets are currently on sale for the event, part of the Toyota INDY 300, and can be purchased online at www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com or by calling 305-230-RACE.
Additional information on the Grand Prix of Miami and the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.