Doran names drivers for Daytona 24h

Jourdain, Servia, Gollin and Gidley To Represent Doran Racing and Kodak in Rolex 24 at Daytona LEBANON, Ohio, Jan. 17 - Doran Racing, the Lebanon, Ohio-based team that is always a favorite at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, ...

Jourdain, Servia, Gollin and Gidley To Represent Doran Racing and Kodak in Rolex 24 at Daytona

LEBANON, Ohio, Jan. 17 - Doran Racing, the Lebanon, Ohio-based team that is always a favorite at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, has assembled a star-studded driver roster for the 45th edition of the famed race that opens Speedweeks at the Florida track on Jan. 27-28.

This year team owner Kevin Doran's DORAN JE4 Ford will be driven in the twice-around-the-clock classic by Michel Jourdain Jr. of Huixguilucan, Mexico; Oriol Servia of Pals, Catalonia, Spain and Miami; Fabrizio Gollin of Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, and Memo Gidley, who was born in La Paz, Mexico and now lives in Novato, Calif. and Sherrills Ford, N.C. The yellow car will carry the colors of the Kodak EasyShare System and the number 77.

Jourdain, 30, is well known to fans for driving all sorts of race cars, especially NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, IndyCars and CART champ cars. He's making his second Rolex 24 start, as he drove for Doran Racing here last year and finished seventh.

Servia, 32, who finished second in the Champ Car World Series in 2005 and 11th in that series last year, will be making his second start with Doran Racing and his first appearance in the Rolex 24. He, Jourdain and Harrison Brix finished eighth in one of the Doran Racing entries in the nine-hour 2006 season finale at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah last September.

Along with co-driver Matteo Bobbi, Gollin, 31, drove in all the Rolex Series races in 2005 with Doran Racing. He, Bobbi and Didier Theys finished fifth in one of the Doran Racing entries at the 2005 Rolex 24.

Gidley, 36, is making his first start with the team but he ran selected Rolex Series races last year with another team, finishing second in the season finale in Utah mentioned earlier. He won the 2005 Rolex Series season finale in Mexico City. He also has experience in champ cars, IndyCar, Atlantics, SPEED World Challenge, Trans-Am and a host of other cars. He finished on the podium in Highcroft Racing's LMP2 car at the Petit Le Mans last October. This will be his fourth Rolex 24.

In addition to being a master engineer and car builder, team owner/manager Kevin Doran is an expert in preparing high-performance race cars and keeping them running at speed for 24 hours. He is an excellent race strategist. He also excels at helping his drivers and crew regroup as challenges occur.

The team's record here speaks volumes.

Doran Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing are tied for the most top-10 overall finishes in this race in the last five years with five each. (They are two of 29 different teams that can boast at least one top-10 Rolex 24 finish in that time span.) Both Doran Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing have one victory since 2002, while Doran Racing also has a fourth, a fifth, a seventh and a ninth.

Doran Racing fielded two cars in last year's race. Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais qualified one of them in fourth place last year, while another one of the team's DORAN JE4s driven by Jourdain, Terry Borcheller, Harrison Brix and Forest Barber finished seventh.

Kevin Doran has been in victory lane numerous times at the Rolex 24 in a variety of roles. He's won this event as a crew chief (1986 and 1987), a team member (1989), a team manager (1998 and 2002), a car owner (1998 and 2002) and a car constructor (2004).

The action on Daytona's 3.56-mile road course starts on Thursday, Jan. 25 when the first practice session for the Rolex Series begins at 10 a.m. Qualifying will be held later that day at 3:45 p.m., with the final qualifying session at 11:40 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 26. There's an autograph session at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 before the race starts at 1:30 p.m. The Doran Racing team hopes to still be running when the checkered falls at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28.

Those who can't attend can watch 15 of the 24 hours live on TV starting at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 27 on FOX Sports. Then viewers need to click the remote control to SPEED for coverage from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET that night. SPEED will let everyone know who made it through the night when it returns to the airwaves at 6 a.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 28. Its coverage will continue through the checkered flag at 1:30 p.m. ET and the post-race interviews that Sunday afternoon.

Veteran motorsports broadcaster Bob Varsha will host the coverage, with former racers David Hobbs and Dorsey Schroeder providing analysis and Leigh Diffey handling the play-by-play. Patrolling pit road will be veteran broadcasters Brian Till, Calvin Fish, Chris Neville and Mike Johnson. A total of 28 Daytona Prototypes and 44 GT cars are entered for a field of 72.

Live timing and scoring is planned for grand-am.com, while additional information on the team itself can be found at doranracing.com.

The drivers' pre-race quotes follow:

Memo Gidley: "I'm very excited for this year's Daytona 24 and for the opportunity to work with Kevin and the Kodak team. I'm also very excited to be racing for Ford, a company where I have many friends and one that I have had a lot of success with in the past. It is a great race and this year will be my fourth time driving in it.

"I have many ways to prepare for this race because it is long and requires focus for such a long time and under very difficult and sometimes hot conditions. I have a special Extreme High Heat training program which consists of working out in a room heated to 120 degrees. I stress my focus and hydration and push my body to the extreme in this environment. These are all things that train me to be a better driver in the race car under extreme conditions. In a one and one-half hour workout session I will sweat out 6 pounds of water and drink approximately a half-gallon of Cytomax sport drink to keep hydrated so that I can finish my workout.

"The testing so far in the Kodak car has been productive and satisfying for me. The first time I had met or worked with Kevin was the two-day Homestead test earlier in the month. I didn't know what to expect but I came away very impressed with Kevin's knowledge, and we just seemed to work really well together.

"The Daytona test was similar. We made progress on the car and the team worked hard. We still do have some work to do to get the package where it needs to be speed-wise. However, the key part of success in any race team is this desire and a strong work ethic. Doran Racing has that, and I'm excited to help them get into victory lane.

"The strengths we have for the race are the ultimate consistency of the Kodak/Doran team, the Ford motor, and having awesome drivers. Oriol, Fabrizio and Michel are not only great drivers but we all seem to have easy-going personalities with the desire to win and we get along really well.

"My plans for the year are to drive Grand Am full time and then fill in my other free weekends with as many ALMS or other series' races as I can. I am also planning on driving in a few of the premier karting races around the country for my longtime kart sponsor, Trackmagic Karts."

Fabrizio Gollin: "I'm very happy to be working with my friends at Doran Raci ng again. This will be my second Rolex 24 race. In my first one I finished in fifth with Doran Racing. That was in 2005.

"This year there are more competitors and it will be even harder. There are a lot of good drivers and big names entered.

"I know we can do a good job. Our car is not the fastest, but it is consistent and my teammates are professional drivers. Kevin has a lot of experience in this kind of race, which is invaluable.

"I'm doing a lot of fitness work because the race is long and hard.

"I don't have a program set for the rest of the year, but I'm speaking with a lot of different teams."

Michel Jourdain Jr.: "I feel great about this Daytona 24 Hours. I believe that we are in much better shape than last year. Memo felt like the car was much better at the end of the test. We still need to improve some more, but the most important thing is that I believe that we are in great shape as far as the drivers. I feel like we have four great drivers; we are working well together; and also with Kevin's experience in this race, we should have a shot at it.

"This is only my second 24 Hours of Daytona.

"As for the rest of the year, I will also be running some NASCAR Busch races with Roush Racing. We should also have another exciting announcement in a couple of weeks."

Oriol Servia: "I am extremely excited to do the Daytona 24 with Doran Racing. It is my first 24 ever, so being able to have my "baptism" with somebody like Kevin Doran, who has won it many times, makes me very lucky and gives me the chance to learn a lot from him.

"On top of that we have a great driver lineup. There is no weak link there at all, which is not the case in many other teams.

"If we have a trouble-free race I believe that we could be a contender to cross the finish line first after 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds."

-credit: doran racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Fabrizio Gollin , Didier Theys , Memo Gidley , Oriol Servia , Calvin Fish , Terry Borcheller , Matteo Bobbi , Sébastien Bourdais , David Hobbs , Dorsey Schroeder , Forest Barber , Chip Ganassi , Mike Johnson , Kevin Doran , Harrison Brix , Michel Jourdain
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Doran Racing