Stevenson Motorsports Among the First To Enter 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona
GRAND-AM perennial fan favorites will bring speed and experience to the 50th running of the Rolex 24 with two Chevrolet Camaros on track, and the team will once again look to win season championships in both GT and GS
For the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Series season, drivers Robin Liddell and John Edwards will pilot the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro and look to honor Chevrolet’s 100th anniversary as a manufacturer of quality automobiles with both the Team and Drivers Championships in the GT class.
In addition to the Rolex Series, the Stevenson team will once again contest the championship in the 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge with drivers Matt Bell and John Edwards returning for a second shot at the top spot. After combining for two wins in 2011, the team feels they are as ready as ever to fight the BMW's, Porsches and Mustangs all season in pursuit of the Championship.
Team owner John Stevenson: “Stevenson Motorsports is excited to be returning to the Grand-Am Rolex and Continental Series for 2012 racing the iconic Camaros and representing Chevrolet’s 100th anniversary. I am very confident that we will have a great season with our stellar driver lineup in both the Rolex GT and Continental GS series led by our talented team manager Mike Johnson and crew chief Michael Hoffman.”
The race to the top spot in the 2012 Rolex Series championships gets the green flag at the greatest endurance race in all of North America; the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Today the team has also announced that Liddell and Edwards will be joined for the Rolex 24 by Ronnie Bremer, a veteran racer who teamed with Liddell several times in the 2011 season. The Stevenson entries are among the first for this, the 50th anniversary running of the 24 Hours of Daytona.
Team Manager Mike Johnson: "This is an exciting time for our partner Chevrolet with their 100th anniversary and the 45th anniversary of the Camaro. We had a tumultuous season last year with a lot of victories, but we failed to finish a few races as well. I think the team is ready to put last year behind them and really focus on all the things that have made Stevenson Motorsports a championship contender for the last four years.”
Stevenson: “As mentioned earlier, the No. 57 Camaro GT.R will be in the capable hands of Robin Liddell, who has been a large part of our success the past four years. I’m honored to have Robin return for his fifth year with Stevenson Motorsports. Our newest addition to the No. 57 Camaro GT.R is John Edwards.”
John Edwards will be doing double duty on the Stevenson team in 2012 with a season long ride in both the Rolex Series with Liddell in the No. 57 GT.R and the Continental Tire Challenge with Bell in the No. 9 GS.R. Edwards is not only looking for championships at the end of each series’ season, he would love to get a new Rolex watch at the start of the season too!
“Having just finished our last test of 2011 in Daytona, I can't wait to start our 2012 season at the Rolex 24! I am getting more and more familiar with the Camaro GT car, as it is very different than anything I've driven before, and I think we have a reliable setup for our longest race of the season. The crew will be hard at work over the next month and a half to get the car ready for January testing, and hopefully we can walk away with some shiny new watches after all the hard work that is being put in to prepare for the season's longest race."
Ronnie Bremer was an extremely effective fill-in for the Stevenson GT Camaro several times last season when Liddell’s regular co-driver was unavailable, and he returns once again to support Liddell and Edwards in the grueling Rolex 24 contest.
Bremer: “I am looking forward to driving for the Stevenson team and with Robin again. I hope we can start 2012 off as well as we finished in the 2011 season, winning the last two races. We have a strong driver lineup for the 24 hours race and if we do not have any accidents there is a good chance to win the Rolex Daytona watch we didn't get to take home last year!”
Stevenson: “Ronnie’s talent will certainly add to this impressive driver line up.”
Continuing in the role of a primary component of the Stevenson team’s record of success in GRAND-AM the last few years, Robin Liddell will once again suit up in red, white and blue in pursuit of a championship in 2012.
“I am looking forward to 2012.” Liddell said, “It is hard to believe it will be my 5th season with the team in Rolex Series racing! We have certainly enjoyed a lot of success over the years together, but of course to date that championship has eluded us!
“As an official GM driver I am delighted to be driving the Camaro again next year; an iconic car with a great fan base and a now proven race record in Grand Am. I am also excited about driving with John Edwards, a talented young driver with undoubtedly a great future ahead of him. John of course has won races in Continental and Rolex, so I have no doubt that with his skills and the ever hard working commitment of the crew led by Michael Hoffman we will be in the winners circle early in 2012.
“Of course, I can't say enough about John and Susan Stevenson whose enthusiasm and dedication to the team and the Series has been both inspiring and an example to all. After the test at Daytona this week we know we will have much work to do and with an ever increasing number of manufacturers entering Grand Am and the competition that brings we know 2012 will be our toughest season to date. Needless to say we are looking forward to that challenge and expect to come out on top."
For the Rolex 24 the team will field a second GT car for Matt Bell, Eric Curran, Al Carter, and Hugh Plumb. They will share driving duties in the No. 75 Chevrolet Camaro that had been crashed out at Watkins Glen last year and then rebuilt by the team. This chassis had been run previously by the team as a Pontiac but was converted to the Camaro body prior to the start of the 2011 season.
Stevenson: “The No. 75 Camaro GT.R will compete in the Rolex 24 hour with Al Carter and Hugh Plumb, who I am excited to have back with our team for this race. Also, this line up will have Eric Curran join us in the No. 75. He is a very talented driver and I am glad to have Eric as a part of our team effort and not racing against us. Matt Bell will be rounding out the driver talent for the No. 75 Camaro. He has been driving for Stevenson Motorsports the past two years and is quite an accomplished driver. His presence in the No.75 Camaro GT.R as well as the No. 9 GS.R Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will surely add to our success.”
As John Stevenson noted, Curran will be making his first ever run with the Stevenson team at the Rolex 24, after running against them in the past. He welcomes the chance to ‘be on their side’ at least once.
"I’m really looking forward to driving with the Stevenson Camaro team in the 50th running of the Daytona 24.” Curran said. “I’ve known Mike Johnson for a number of years and have always had a lot of respect for his team and their program. We’ve had some great battles with the Stevenson guys on the track last season and it’s exciting to jump aboard their team for the most difficult race of the year. After Daytona, I will be going back to being a tough competitor of theirs for the rest of the season in the No. 31 Whelen Corvette, (not running in this years Rolex 24) but for this one race I am on their side! Many thanks to John Stevenson and the guys at GM for helping to put this together"
Matt Bell will also do his part to help bring home a successful run for the No 75 Camaro at the Rolex 24 and he appreciates the support he knows will come from his ‘friends in the business'.
“Like Eric, I am very excited to be back under the Stevenson Motorsport tent for the 50th Rolex 24 at Daytona.” Bell commented. “To be driving the latest version of the Camaro GT car will not only be an honor, but an honest attempt at taking home a watch. I know all the other drivers personally and this will undoubtedly be an advantage to other attempts I've made at this difficult race. A lot of what wins comes down to how well all the drivers can communicate with each other and the team, I know this lineup is a great one in those regards. Much of the crew that will be working on the No. 75 car are the same people I've worked with in the No. 6 and No. 9 car program in GS. I know I can count on them throughout this GT effort.”
Al Carter too feels a real sense of anticipation for good things to come at the Rolex 24.
“I'm very excited to be reunited with Stevenson Motorsports and Camaro for my first Rolex 24.” Carter noted. “Stevenson had an outstanding 2011 in both the Continental Tire Series and the Rolex Series, so I am looking forward to a great car and an exciting race. I feel honored to be working with some of my favorite people in the whole Grand-Am paddock, plus driving with Eric Curran, Hugh Plumb, and Matt Bell should make for a very competitive effort.”
Hugh Plumb is no stranger to running hard and he welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the team effort that it takes to win the Rolex 24.
“It is really great to be back with Stevenson for the 50th running of the 24 Hours of Daytona. We have a great driver line up and a good team. I think we will have a great chance at doing very well. My thanks go out to the guys on the Stevenson team and to Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson for a great opportunity.”
The 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season was filled with an amalgam of mixed moments including anxious anticipation, frustrating disappointment and sheer jubilation for the Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro GT.R No. 57. Team owner John Stevenson’s band of Jacksonville, North Carolina warriors can look back at a season of ‘hits’. They were a big hit with the fans of the red, white and blue Camaro, taking three GT wins (Lime Rock, Montreal, Mid-Ohio) and finishing in the top 10 seven times. They were also hit by several other cars along the way, taking them out of contention more than once in the 12 race season.
“We have three lofty goals this year,” Johnson continued, “and those are of course to win the Rolex 24 and both the Rolex Series GT and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS championships. We have all the necessary tools to perform the job with great drivers, engineers, crew, sponsors and car owners, we just need to minimize the mistakes that happen both off and on the track and have the season that GM and John Stevenson expect us to have."
GRAND-AM recently announced a new North American Endurance Championship for 2012. The inaugural championship will feature the 50th anniversary running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 28-29, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International on June 29-July 1 and the Rolex Series’ three-hour debut race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27. The Stevenson team is still considering options for competing in the new championship, pending the finalization of the rules.
The 2012 season will also see the debut of the new Daytona Prototypes. This season should be a great one for the teams, the series and the fans. The Stevenson team especially wants the Chevrolet fans to enjoy the ride!
Stevenson: “Susan and I are excited about leading Stevenson Motorsports into the challenges of the 2012 Grand-Am Rolex and Continental Tire Series season. We are confident that we will be successful because of our outstanding crew, truck drivers, team coordinator, manager and drivers. All of our accomplishments have come as a result of team effort and we will continue to have that strong presence in 2012. It is a great honor to represent Chevrolet and Camaro for their 100th Anniversary in 2012. See you at the races!”