SCC: Daytona Test: Spirit of Daytona Thursday notes

Spirit of Daytona Heats up Grand-Am Cup Practice Sessions in GTO As the morning sun started to heat up the track at the Daytona International Speedway, the brand new Spirit of Daytona ...

Spirit of Daytona Heats up Grand-Am Cup Practice Sessions in GTO

As the morning sun started to heat up the track at the Daytona International Speedway, the brand new Spirit of Daytona #9 GTO set the track on fire. Marc-Antoine Camirand drove the #9 GTO through its first official Grand-Am Cup sanctioned practice session and posted lap times in the top-five. Other drivers testing the #9 GTO throughout the weekend include; co-owner and 2005 season teammate Doug Goad, Craig Conway, and Mike Weinberg. All four drivers have worked with, team-manager/co-owner, Troy Flis in the past. Craig Conway was one of the winning co-drivers during the Spirit of Daytona's Rolex 24 Hour victory in 2002. Mike Weinberg raced with Flis throughout the 2003 Grand-Am Cup series in the #02 Corvette. And Camirand raced with Flis in the second half of the 2005 Rolex series in the #09 Daytona Prototype.

With their combined track experience in over 20 different race cars, all four drivers agree that the GTO is one of the best cars on the track today. Flis and crew have put numerous hours of development into the GTO and have spent many late nights at the shop perfecting the car's setup. With all the planning and research put into the GTO, the team is not surprised to see the car posting top-10 lap times.

Camirand drove the GTO during the first practice session on Thursday in the late morning. He was impressed with the GTO's performance and loved its handling. He had the opportunity to test the GTO during two previous practice sessions at Roebling Road in Savannah, Georgia over the off- season. " I can feel the improvement that the GTO has gone through since the last time I got behind the wheel. And today I am just having a blast driving the car around the banking. The car is smaller than the Cadillac I competed in during the Grand-Am Cup Series last season which allows for better braking," said Camirand.

Mike Weinberg, who has over four years of racing experience with Flis, climbed out of the GTO impressed with the car's overall balance. " Let me put it this way," said Weinberg, " if we are capable as drivers then the car will run upfront. The GTO is a forgiving car and has excellent handling. I was expecting it to drive like the Firebird but it is a different experience."

Spirit of Daytona will be campaigning three Pontiac GTOs in the Grand Am Cup GS series in 2006.

-www.spiritofdaytona.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Marc-Antoine Camirand