Daytona Test: SunTrust Racing puts Negri in the cockpit

Oswaldo Negri tests with SunTrust Racing Rising Star gets up to speed quickly in brief test with Rolex powerhouse SunTrust Racing Daytona Beach, FL (10 January 05)--Oswaldo Negri Jr. got behind the wheel of a Daytona Prototype during this...

Oswaldo Negri tests with SunTrust Racing
Rising Star gets up to speed quickly in brief test with Rolex powerhouse SunTrust Racing

Daytona Beach, FL (10 January 05)--Oswaldo Negri Jr. got behind the wheel of a Daytona Prototype during this weekends open testing for the 43rd Rolex 24 at Daytona, driving the SunTrust Racing Pontiac-Riley Mk.11 at the invitation of lead driver and car owner Wayne Taylor. Despite never having driven any laps in the Pontiac-Riley combination, Negri was up to speed quickly in his brief run on the 3.65-mile Daytona road course.

Taylor, who has scores of road racing victories and championships to his credit, was impressed with Negri's run, and like many in the Rolex paddock, is hoping he will find a home for the 2005 season.

"It's a shame that a guy with Oswaldo's talent hasn't found a ride for the season yet," said Taylor. "We had finished most of our testing for the weekend, so we wanted to give him an opportunity to get out on track in the SunTrust car."

Taylor will be joined in the cockpit for the 24 with Emanuel Collard and Max Angelelli, who shared the RaceSite.com "Rising Star" Award with Negri in 2004.

"I really appreciate that Wayne and his guys gave me this opportunity," said Negri. "Last season was the best season of racing I have had in my career. I have won races and championships in other series, but I have never enjoyed the sport as much as I did driving with Burt on the Michael Shank Racing team last year, and I am working hard to be back in a competitive car again this season."

Even though he only got a few laps in the car, Negri was impressed with his first run in a Pontiac-powered Riley.

"No wonder I had such a hard time passing these guys last year!" said a smiling Negri. "The car was very, very good, and I was very impressed with how it got the power down and with all the downforce that the car had. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to drive one of these again."

Getting up to speed quickly is nothing new for Negri, who showed that he was a quick qualifier during the 2004 season, taking fifth or better on the grid eight times, with three top-three qualifying efforts. Negri was recently honored in a poll hosted by TheRaceSite.com, which named Negri as a "Rising Star" in Grand American competition, an honor he shared with Max Angelelli.

The Brazilian had a breakout 2004 season in the Rolex ranks, taking two podium finishes with Burt Frisselle in their Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Doran.

Before racing with Grand American, Negri took several karting championships in his native Brazil and before going on to race F3 in England against guys with names like Barrichello, Coulthard, and de Ferran. Negri contested a limited schedule of Rolex races in 2003, and ran most of the 2004 season with Michael Shank Racing. Negri also has a wealth of experience developing race cars, as his talents in F3 and Indy Lights had led to him being tapped by Barber Dodge and Formula BMW USA to develop their cars as a test driver.

-str-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Wayne Taylor , Max Angelelli , Burt Frisselle , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing