Watkins Glen, Montreal, Monterey, Lime Rock Have Rich Heritage
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 2, 2012) – The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series looks to continue making history in 2012. Coming off a milestone event – GRAND-AM’s first competition at storied Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the series is set to visit four of North America’s most historic road circuits to crown its 2012 champions.
The Rolex Series will hold back-to-back two-hour races in August in combination with NASCAR’s national touring series. The Continental Tire 200 presented by Dunn Tire will be held on Saturday, Aug. 11, at Watkins Glen International, while the Montreal 200 is set for the following Saturday (Aug. 18) at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The Rolex Series then visits scenic Monterey, Calif., for the Sept. 9 Continental Tire Sports Car Festival powered by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, followed by the season-ending GRAND-AM Rolex Series Championship Finale at Lime Rock Park on Saturday, Sept. 29. Both September events also feature the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge in its final two races of 2012.
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas enter the stretch drive with an 11-point lead in the bid for their third consecutive Daytona Prototype title and fourth in five seasons in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley.
“This has been an incredible, crazy and exciting season filled with mayhem – as we witnessed at Indianapolis – and I expect it will be the same for the final four races,” said Pruett, a four-time DP champion. “I always enjoy racing at Watkins Glen and Montreal, where we have won races but also have had challenges. We hope to stay competitive and keep in the fight for the championship. It will be interesting ending the year at Lime Rock, where we have had two difficult races and have yet to finish on the lead lap.”
In GT, Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato are coming off their eighth consecutive top-five finish and are looking to win the championship for the new Ferrari 458 Italia. The 2010 GT champs have already won three races for the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD entry.
The Continental Tire 200 will mark the Rolex Series' second visit of the season to Watkins Glen International. While the July 1 Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen was held on the circuit's 3.4-mile long course, the upcoming race will be on the 2.45-mile short course. The weekend also features the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen and the NASCAR Nationwide Series in the Zippo 200. WGI continues a tradition dating back to 1948, when the first post-World War II sports car race was held on the challenging public roads of the Finger Lakes village. The permanent circuit was the home of the United States Grand Prix Formula One races from 1961-80.
“It was great to be a part of the North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.com with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and it is an honor to have the Rolex Sports Car Series return in August,” WGI President Michael Printup said. “They will definitely put on quite a show for fans as they battle for the series championship at season’s end on our historic road course.”
GRAND-AM's lone Canadian race of 2012 features a doubleheader with the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – named after one of Canada's greatest racing heroes – is located at the site of the 1967 World’s Fair and the 1976 Olympic Games, on an island that was used for Olympic kayaking competition. The circuit has hosted the Canadian Grand Prix Formula One race since 1978, with the exception of 1987 and 2009.
Both of the September races are held at two of America's oldest permanent circuits, both opening in 1957. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, which traces its heritage to the Pebble Beach Road Races in 1950, includes the iconic “Corkscrew” turn.
Lime Rock Park, located in Lakeville, Conn., hosted America’s second Formula Libre race in 1958, paving the ground for Formula One racing in the U.S.
All four Rolex Series races will be broadcast live on SPEED and MRN Radio.
Source: Grand-Am Road Racing