Infiniti Joins Ranks of Rolex Sports Car Series Engine Manufacturers with New Daytona Prototype Program
INDIANAPOLIS (December 9, 2004) -- One of the world's leading luxury car manufacturers has joined the Rolex Sports Car Series, as officials from Nissan North America, Inc. and the Grand American Road Racing Association today announced that Infiniti engines have been approved for Daytona Prototype competition beginning with the 2005 season.
"We are proud to welcome Infiniti to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series," said Grand American President Roger Edmondson. "Nissan is certainly no stranger to success in sports car racing, and we are truly delighted to welcome them back under the Infiniti banner. We're thrilled that our competitors have another world-renowned manufacturer from which to choose an engine."
The addition of Infiniti to the Daytona Prototype field bolsters a lineup of world class manufacturers that also includes Pontiac, Lexus, Porsche, BMW and Ford. The new powerplant is based on the 4.5-liter V8 used in the Infiniti Q45, and will make its competition debut at the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
"We are really looking forward to the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Daytona Prototype Series and the introduction of the Infiniti VK45 engine into competition there," said Ron Stukenberg, senior manager, Motorsports Marketing and Operations, Nissan North America, Inc. "The number of manufacturers involved in the series, combined with the close, high speed racing that has become a signature of the Daytona Prototypes, is extremely appealing to us."
The engines are being built and serviced by Indianapolis-based Menard Engineering Limited under the direction of Executive Director Chris Sumner. The Menard organization has a long and successful history of building race- and championship-winning engines, and is familiar with the Infiniti powerplant as the company has built spec engines for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series for the past two years. In 2004, Menard built engines for NASCAR Busch Series programs for drivers including Johnny Sauter, David Green and Robby Gordon and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series program for driver Tracy Hines in addition to the MIPS program.
"Everyone involved with Menard Engineering is extremely proud to be entering into another new racing arena with Infiniti power," Sumner said. "Interest in the Grand American Rolex Series is growing each year, thanks in large part to the competitiveness that is evident on the race track. The 2005 season will definitely be an exciting one for us as we return for our third year as the spec engine in the Indy Racing League's Menards Infiniti Pro Series and we start our journey with the Infiniti engine in the Grand American Rolex Series."
The Grand American Road Racing Association, which sanctions the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Grand-Am Cup Series, is one of the fastest growing motorsports organizations in the United States. The 14-race 2005 Rolex Series schedule and the 11-race Grand-Am Cup calendar will deliver professional sports car racing to many key markets throughout North America in addition to being televised in the United States and Canada on SPEED Channel and distributed globally through ESPN International. With title sponsorship support from Rolex Watch USA, the Rolex Sports Car Series showcases emerging and legendary drivers from around the globe and thoroughbred racing machines from the industry's leading constructors and the world's top automobile manufacturers. Learn more about Grand American at www.grandamerican.com.