PENSKE-TAYLOR RACING TO FIELD NO. 9 TOSHIBA PONTIAC RILEY WITH ALL-STAR DRIVER LINEUP AT 2008 ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
Kurt Busch, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe Join Forces for 24-Hour Endurance Classic
INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 3, 2007) -- Wayne Taylor Racing, which in 2008 will campaign the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac and championship-winning driver Max Angelelli for its fifth Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season, has entered into a partnership with Penske Racing to field a second entry at the 2008 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona featuring an all-star lineup of Penske drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup (formerly Nextel Cup) Series, the IRL IndyCar Series, and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).
The No. 9 Toshiba Pontiac Riley of Penske-Taylor Racing will be co-driven in the Jan. 26-27 endurance classic by 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, and open-wheel and sports-car veteran Ryan Briscoe, who piloted the Penske ALMS Porsche to two overall wins and three class victories in 2007 and will join Castroneves full-time on the IndyCar circuit this coming season. The No. 9 entry will also carry associate sponsorship from Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank, which continues as primary sponsor on the No. 10 Pontiac for the fifth consecutive year in 2008.
"I think, certainly from a team standpoint, if you have an opportunity to run a second car, I can't imagine having it any better than being associated with Roger Penske's organization," said Wayne Taylor, the three-time sports car racing champion who co-drove to the 2005 Rolex Series title with Angelelli and founded Wayne Taylor Racing prior to the 2007 season. "It's going to be a big deal for everybody involved. There's a lot of work, obviously, in getting this all together. We're very excited that Toshiba has come on board as title sponsor of the effort. Of course, SunTrust, which has been our lead sponsor on the No. 10 car, will be on both cars, as well, so that's very exciting, too. The driver lineup and the team Roger has put together are really strong. There are three drivers from three different racing disciplines. Ryan's driven with us before, so we know him very well. Helio, well, the guy's a superstar. And Kurt Busch, he's a NASCAR champion and a very good road racer. It's certainly a lineup that will draw a lot of attention. And, without question, it gives us two strong contenders for the race win."
"On behalf of Penske Racing, I am thrilled to be returning to the Rolex 24 At Daytona next month," Roger Penske said. "I want to thank Wayne Taylor, Toshiba and SunTrust for allowing us this opportunity. We could not be more pleased to have our Penske Racing teammates, Ryan, Kurt and Helio, driving for us at this event."
"We have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Wayne Taylor over the years, and this latest venture combining Wayne's resources with those of Penske Racing is tremendously exciting for everyone at Toshiba," said Rick Taylor, president and CEO of Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc. "We made a thrilling run for the 2007 championship as associate sponsor on the SunTrust car. And now, we will start the new season with an all-star driver lineup and a serious shot at stealing an overall race win. It doesn't get any better than that."
Toshiba remains an associate sponsor on the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac for the 2008 season.
"As we look ahead to our fifth season in the Rolex Series, we're absolutely thrilled to kick things off by being on board with not one, but two potential race-winning entries at the season's most prestigious race," said Craig Kelly, Corporate Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, SunTrust Banks, Inc. "It's exciting to think we now have two chances of getting to victory lane at the Rolex 24. And to be connected with a star lineup of drivers that includes not only our own Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante, but names like Kurt Busch, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe, that elevates our presence in a huge way. Roger Penske and Wayne Taylor are combining their resources to give SunTrust such a solid shot at winning the Rolex 24 for the first time since our championship season in 2005."
Manufacturer Pontiac, which kicks off 2008 defending its driver and manufacturer championships after its General Motors LS2 motor propelled Pontiac-powered teams to 10 wins and 13 pole positions in 2007, is looking to the SunTrust team and the Penske-Taylor efforts to help add to the marque's history of success in the Rolex Series.
"Wayne Taylor is among the most successful sports car drivers in Grand-Am Series history," said David Pettit, Pontiac/GMC promotions manager. "Together with Pontiac, Wayne and Max are fixtures at the front of the Daytona Prototype field. Wayne's foray into team ownership last year was complemented by a championship run and a podium finish in the Rolex 24. A second car in combination with Penske Racing brings together two entities that have won countless races. Pontiac is ready to help Wayne Taylor Racing go for a third Rolex 24 win."
Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Penske Racing, will be making his second career Rolex Series start, his inaugural run coming in 2005. The 29-year-old from Las Vegas, Nev., has won 17 Sprint Cup races in 256 career starts, including three wins and 10 top-five finishes during his 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship season.
Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Penske Racing Dallara/Honda in the IndyCar Series, made his Rolex 24 debut this past season in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing entry with former IndyCar teammate Sam Hornish, Jr. The 32-year-old Brazilian has 12 IndyCar Series victories in 97 career starts in the No. 3 Team Penske entry, highlighted by back-to-back Indianapolis 500 wins in 2001 and 2002. Castroneves last week was the "Mirrorball Trophy" recipient as the 2007 champion of ABC-TV's reality series, Dancing With The Stars competition.
Briscoe, who piloted the No. 6 DHL Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder in the ALMS for Penske Racing in 2007, replaces Hornish as Castroneves' teammate in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda for the 2008 IndyCar season. The 26-year-old Australian co-drove the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley three times in 2006 and scored a pair of podium finishes. He earned the pole position for the 2005 Rolex 24 event in his only other Rolex Series start and went on to co-drive the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry to a seventh-place finish.
Both the No. 9 Toshiba Pontiac Riley and No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley teams will take part in the annual three-day Rolex 24 test session Jan. 4-6 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Angelelli and newly named teammate Michael Valiante are full-time drivers of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing machine.
-credit: Penske-Taylor Racing