DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 28, 2003) -- The Grand-Am Cup Series Grand Sport II class is shaping up to be an exciting battle this season with a wide variety of race cars from manufacturers around the globe being campaigned by both veteran and ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 28, 2003) -- The Grand-Am Cup Series Grand Sport II class is shaping up to be an exciting battle this season with a wide variety of race cars from manufacturers around the globe being campaigned by both veteran and newcomer teams. The racing action will get underway this Friday with the season-opening Daytona 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
After narrowly missing the Grand Sport II championship last season, drivers Emil Assentato and Nick Longhi are sure to be front-runners in the class in 2003. After campaigning the TF Racing/Max Q Motorsports #53 Mustang Cobra R last season, this year the pair a 1999 Mustang Cobra SVT.
Rehagen Racing will also field a Mustang Cobra SVT in the GS II class, with Larry Rehagen and Dean Martin sharing driving duties in the #52 Ford.
A trio of other teams are fielding Mustang Cobra Rs this season. Snipes Ford Motorsports will be back in the class with its #26 Mustang driven by Peter Sachs and Charles Snipes, and JBS Motorsports will bring its #37 Cobra R with Jimmy and Bret Seafuse at the controls. Fredrick Motorsports will run the #30 Mustang, which won the GS II championship last season under the Shreiner Racing banner. David Brown and Andrew Kopperl will pilot the #30 Ford.
After posting two podium finishes last season with its #45 Firebird, Michael Baughman Racing has stepped up its efforts for 2003 bringing four Firebirds to the season opener. The team's #45 entry will be driven by Frank DelVecchio and Ted Martin, while team owner Michael Baughman is slated to share the wheel of the #46 car with Brett and Sam Shanaman. Peter Argetsinger and Richard Polidori will pilot the #50 Firebird, while Jeff England and Joe Masessa race the team's #96 car.
Porsche will also be well represented in the Grand Sport II class during the Daytona 250. After running in the GS I class last season, Zoom Motorsports has moved into GS II this season with its #16 Porsche 996 of Darren Law and Mike MaCalmont. TPC Racing, formerly known as Turbo Performance Racing, will also run a Porsche 996 in the GS II class to complement its GS I Porsche entry. James Haggerty and John Beaver will drive the #15 GS II TPC entry.
Planet Earth Motorsports, which took the overall win at the UnitedAuto Sport 250 last season, has shed its GS I Corvette for a GS II Porsche 911 this season. The father-son duo of Joe and Wayne Nonnamaker will share the controls of the #41 Porsche, as Wayne, who shared the Sport Touring I driver championship with his brother Will in 2002, looks to repeat his success in a new class.
Newcomers North Shore Racing will also field a Porsche 996 in the Grand Sport II class this season with John Sturm and Craig Horning at the controls.
Two teams are slated to run BMW M3s in Friday's race. Bell Motorsports, which is also fielding a Daytona Prototype in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, will race its #54 BMW M3. Drivers Terry Borcheller and Forest Barber won the GS II class at two races last year and posted four podium finishes.
Orlando-based Automatic Racing will not have to travel far with its #09 BMW M3 to race in the Daytona 250. Central Florida drivers Jep Thornton and David Russell will pilot the BMW.
R.A.C.E. Team Inc., and Istook/Aines Motorsport Group will both run Audi S4 race cars in the Daytona 250. Raymond Bailey, Karl Thompson and Rafferty McDougall will drive R.A.C.E.'s #31 entry, while Don Istook and Ken Breazeale run the Istook/Aines #04 Audi.
Nissan will return to road racing with the #35 Nissan 350Z of Schuitemaker Motorsports. Michiel Schutemaker and B.J. Zacharias will run the new Nissan in its racing debut.
The Grand-Am Cup Daytona 250 will be part of the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona event weekend at Daytona International Speedway, Jan. 30 - Feb. 2. Tickets for the Grand-Am Cup Daytona 250 can be purchased the day of the event at the gate or four-day event passes an be purchased in advance online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 386-253-RACE. Additional information about the Grand-Am Cup Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.