Phoenix: GM Racing preview

Desert Heat Will Challenge Pontiac Teams In Phoenix Daytona Protoype and GT Classes to Run Separately at Phoenix International Raceway; Kodak-Bell Motorsports Wants to Lose Weight for Upcoming Race DETROIT - Pontiac teams are once again facing...

Desert Heat Will Challenge Pontiac Teams In Phoenix

Daytona Protoype and GT Classes to Run Separately at Phoenix International Raceway; Kodak-Bell Motorsports Wants to Lose Weight for Upcoming Race

DETROIT - Pontiac teams are once again facing the heat, both literally and figuratively, as they prepare for the pair of Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series races to take place at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. While soaring summer temperatures in the desert may make drivers uncomfortable, the level of competition will turn up a notch as the Daytona Prototype and GT classes will split up and race separately on different nights. This division will allow the DP field to race unhindered by the slower GT cars, and drivers in both classes will be able to focus on skills such as passing.

"The class division will make it a lot easier to pay attention on racing and passing; this course doesn't offer a lot of passing opportunities," said Terry Borcheller, who shares the #54 Kodak-Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran DP with Ralf Kelleners. "It's a small oval with a small road course. It's not very challenging but there are not very many places to pass, either. There would be too many cars if both classes were run at the same time. We should offer some great racing for the fans due to this setup.

"We'll be setting up our car at the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving; I used to work there so they will let us keep the car at their facilities. Since we're coming straight from Mid-Ohio, we'll set up the car there. We'd like to lose some weight. It's been tough because the car is heavy and there's not much we can do without spending serious money. Our power is great; our engines have been great. I think we just need the weight out of it and we'd be right there."

At the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago, Borcheller led the race for 15 laps. Although the #54 car finished 12th, Pontiac won the DP class with the #4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford of Elliott-Forbes Robinson and Butch Leitzinger. Pontiac leads the manufacturers points standings in the DP class and is raising their position in the GT class with a pair of GTO.R race cars campaigned by TRG. At Mid-Ohio, the #65 GTO.R of Andy Lally and Marc Bunting took second in class, adding to the list of impressive finishes the cars have already racked up since their debut this summer. Although the #64 Pontiac GTO.R did not finish the Mid-Ohio race due to a broken suspension upright, the team is working through those problems and is looking forward to an all-GT field on Friday.

"GM Racing has evaluated and revised the uprights so that should eliminate any chance of part failure," said Paul Edwards, co-driver of the #64 Pontiac GTO.R. "I've never actually been to the track but I've been doing the usual: looking at track maps and talking to people who've driven it. We have a driving simulation that gives us a good estimate of corner speeds, gears and braking effort and it helps a lot. It saves about four to five laps, which is all you might get at a practice session. I don't know quite how you prepare for the heat, though. Phoenix in early September is a very warm place to be."

The 250 mile GT race will take place on Friday, Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Phoenix time and the DP race will take place the following night at 7:00 p.m. Both races will be shown on SPEED TV; 8:00 EDT on Sept. 10 for the GT race and 4:00 EDT on Sept. 11 for the DP race.

-gm racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Paul Edwards , Butch Leitzinger , Ralf Kelleners , Andy Lally , Terry Borcheller , Marc Bunting