Papis and Pruett return to sports car racing

Papis and Pruett return to sports car racing

On the heels of winning his third Trans-Am championship, Scott Pruett will compete again in endurance sports car racing. Joining Pruett will be Max Papis. The two will be teammates for the newly announced entry of Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2004...

On the heels of winning his third Trans-Am championship, Scott Pruett will compete again in endurance sports car racing. Joining Pruett will be Max Papis. The two will be teammates for the newly announced entry of Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2004 Grand American Rolex Series.

Scott Pruett.
Photo by John Thawley.
CGR has proven that they are a formidable racing team in multiple series. Ganassi teams have won four consecutive CART Champ Car titles with drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Alexander Zanardi and Jimmy Vasser. In 2003, CGR and Scott Dixon won the IRL IndyCar championship. Combined those titles with the NASCAR Cup car chase by CGR and one will know there is no doubt that this team with two top road racing experts will be in the chase for the Grand-Am Rolex championship next year.

Pruett and Papis will share the driving duties in a Daytona Prototype Lexus Riley MK XI for the 2004 12-race series. Both drivers have demonstrated their abilities in endurance racing, including the Daytona 24 Hour event which will open the season on January 31st.

"We are very, very excited about running the entire season," expressed team owner Chip Ganassi. "We look forward to joining the intense competition that we saw this year in the Daytona Prototypes. We plan on having a lot of fun."

CGR joins a growing list of new entries in the Daytona Prototype class. Grand American Road Racing Association president Roger Edmondson commented, "The Daytona Prototypes momentum continues to build, it looks like we will start with the most competitive Rolex 24 at Daytona in many, many years. Pruett and Papis both have a great record in the 24-hour event."

Pruett's record in CART Champ Cars, International Motor Sports Association championships, American Le Mans Series, International Race Of Champions and the Sports Car Club of America amateur and Pro Racing, Trans-Am, and NASCAR Cup speaks for itself. Pruett last drove for CGR this year at the Watkins Glen event where he finished second.

Pruett expressed his delight with continuing his relationship with Ganassi, "Coming off a dominant season in the Trans-Am, and experiencing my best NASCAR Winston Cup Series in a Target Dodge for Chip Ganassi, I'm looking forward to continuing my relationship with Ganassi Racing in the Rolex Series."

Max Papis.
Photo by Linda Rydell.
About his new teammate, Pruett stated, "Max (Papis) and I have been friends for a long time, and I'm looking forward to driving with him this season."

Papis also comes to the team with high credentials. In his first-ever appearance in the North American racing arena, Papis finished second in the Daytona 24-hours. The event earned him his nickname of "Mad Max". Papis returned to Daytona in 2002 with Doran-Lista Racing, the team won overall. Papis competed in Champ Cars where Pruett was one of his competitors. The two have met on the track in other series as well. The Italian driver ran go-karts, F3000 and Formula One before his venture into North American racing.

"I am really excited for the great opportunity and great honor to join Chip Ganassi Racing in their new adventure," Papis said. "I had great success in Grand American and sports car racing in America. In particular, Daytona has been the 'business card' of my American career."

Papis who has been on a roller-coaster ride for the past few years, bouncing between series: Grand-Am, ALMS, and CART, commented on his thoughts for 2004 and his new ride. "This is definitely the right year to be in a Daytona Prototype, and I look forward to sharing a car with Scott Pruett. I think our combination will be a potent weapon, and I am hoping to help bring success to Chip Ganassi Racing."

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Series GRANDAM