Pontiac Grand-Am Teams Head For The Border
Edwards Going for Hat-Trick in GT
DETROIT , Mich. Feb. 27, 2007 - The Pontiac contingent, pursuing the season ending championships, will travel to Mexico City for round two of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve to be run on Saturday, March 3rd.
Seven Pontiac powered race teams, comprising six Daytona Prototypes (DP) and three GT cars, have chosen to make the trip to the 2.5-mile, 14-turn Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit featuring a near one-mile long straight-away. The teams will also have to contend with the high elevation of the Mexico City track, some 7,400 ft. above sea level.
Leading the charge in GT will be returning race winners Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins aboard their new No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R. The duo finished second in last months Rolex 24 and will be looking to repeat their win last year in the heart of the world's tenth largest city. Edwards will be looking for a Hat-Trick, his third straight win, at the Central American track.
"This year's race will be a lot tougher than the last two," Edwards commented. "We need a good handling car in the corners and especially the fast sweepers; this will be key to a good lap time. The tire is different this year so the handling issues will be new. We need to keep the tires under us so we have something left at the end. Critical to a good lap will be getting off of that last fast sweeper to maximize our speed down the long straight, since we are a little down on horsepower to our competition. Kelly was fast there last year as well, so we know the track. The real advantage for us is mechanical under the car with the setup. We can try and team up on qualifying and make the most of it. We need a consistent race with a quality pit stop. We haven't stopped developing the car; I think we have made some strides since Daytona."
Jan Magnussen has been nominated to co-drive the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley DP with Max Angelelli for the next three rounds at Mexico City , Homestead and Virginia International Raceway.
"I have raced at Mexico City before and won in the GT class two years ago, so it will be nice to go back there this time in a DP car," Magnussen commented. "The track is interesting with the long straight and the back section can be challenging. It can become a fuel mileage race, so the whole team has to be ready. We had a good run at Daytona after our early problems, but just came up short. Wayne really has the team motivated this year and it is always great fun to compete in the series with Max."
Colin Braun was a member of the highest finishing Pontiac Daytona Prototype entry in 2006 with Krohn Racing.
"We were second there last year, it was a decent finish," Braun explained. "The event is very interesting and fun for the whole team. The fans really get behind the race and come out and support their favorites. The CRD and Krohn guys have been working on the Pontiac engine to maximize the horsepower in the high elevation of Mexico City .
We have to compromise a little on the downforce to get down the mile long straight and then the altitude also takes air off of the wing. We will try a couple of different combinations to get through the turns on the back section and make sure we can maintain down the front stretch."
Jon Fogarty is looking to rebound from a mixed outing in the Rolex 24. The No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley grabbed early headlines in January with their pole position at the Rolex. The race did not quite go as planned for the Texas team with early contact setting them back several laps.
"This will be my first visit to the track and the city," Fogarty said. "I have heard that it is fairly bumpy in spots, but looking at the video it looks pretty smooth. The series of esses looks critical to a good lap time. The last turn is also key to a fast lap. I ran at altitude in Denver in open wheel cars, you really can't get the downforce you may want, so you probably have to reside yourself to running a low drag setup. You look at that long straight and you don't want to get overtaken down there every lap. We may look to go with a higher downforce setup for qualifying and then trim the car for the race. We are looking for a good finish to makeup for our Rolex disappointment."
The race from Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City will be televised live on the SPEED Channel starting at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 3 rd.
-credit: gm racing