Matt Bell Set for Daytona Prototype Return in Rolex 24 At Daytona
Daytona Beach, FL ( 5 January 2011) - What a difference a year can make. After making his Rolex 24 at Daytona debut in 2010 with an impressive run in the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal No. 16 GT class, Matt Bell was tabbed by Doran Racing for a shot in the top Daytona Prototype class midway through the season.
The young Californian, who had already proven to be a fast study in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition, showed he was more than up for the daunting Daytona Prototype challenge as he scored the prestigious Trueman Award in his debut start at New Jersey Motorsports Park. This despite the fact that he'd never set foot inside a Daytona Prototype before the NJMP race weekend started.
That effort netted him another shot in the Ford-Dallara machine in the 2010 Rolex Sports Car Series season finale, and once again, Bell impressed team owner Kevin Doran as his performance saw him collecting Trueman honors in the post-race ceremonies. And now, one fast year after making his Rolex Series debut, Bell will continue his rapid career development as he has been signed by Doran Racing to share the No. 77 McDonalds Ford-Dallara in the 49th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 29-30.
"I couldn't be more excited to get the call from Kevin," said Bell, who will also be opening his full-season Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge campaign at Daytona for Stevenson Motorsports. "I've had a blast every single lap I've driven in a Daytona Prototype, and to now have this opportunity to compete in the Rolex 24, I am just thrilled. I'm grateful for the confidence that Kevin has in my abilities and I am eager to make the most of this opportunity."
The effort will kick off with three days of testing at the "World Center of Racing" this weekend before going into high gear for the January 29-30 season-opening event, where Bell will once again be a busy boy with a full roster of driving stints all weekend long.
"I learned a lot in the 24 last year and I had several events last year where I was jumping back and forth between the Continental Tire car and the Daytona Prototype, so I want to put that experience to use in the 24," said Bell. "Doran Racing has won this event before, so to join a team with the kind of experience that they have, particularly in an event that is as big a challenge as the 24, gives me a lot of confidence. I'm really looking forward to getting back in the car!"
The 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car season will kick off at Daytona International Speedway on January 28.