Ortiz Closes KONI Sports Car Challenge Test at Daytona Monday with Fastest Lap Time; San Juan, Puerto Rico native turns time of 2:00.555; Tom Long fastest in Street Tuner action
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 5, 2009) - For the second straight day, Bryan Ortiz turned the fastest time in Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge Grand Sport (GS) action during the "Roar Before the Rolex 24" testing session at Daytona International Speedway, as the Puerto Rico driver ended the day with a three-day best result of 2:00.555 (106.308 mph).
Ortiz's team, Rehagen Racing, had the three fastest times Monday and overall, and Ford Mustangs garnered the six quickest times and seven of the top eight over the three-day test. Four of the six came from the Rehagen Racing camp, and the other two came from Horsepower Ranch. JBS Motorsports was eighth.
"It's great," said Oritz, who drove the No. 57 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT with Roberto Bengoa. "The team did a great job developing the cars during the winter. This was the first time for me in a Mustang, and it was awesome. I really enjoyed driving the car. I look forward to this season and keeping this speed up for the race later this month."
The No. 59 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT was second with a time of 2:00.617 (106.254 mph), while the No. 52 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT was third with a time of 2:00.904 (106.001 mph).
The No. 40 TRG Porsche 997 of Beau Borders and Scott Schroeder and No. 39 TRG Porsche 997 of Spencer Pumpelly and Duncan Ende claimed seventh and 10th, while the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3 of Charles Espenlaub and Charles Putman was ninth.
In Street Tuner (ST) action, Monday's fastest time belonged to Tom Long, who took the No. 146 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 to a time of 2:11.154 (97.717 mph). Long drove only the morning session before the team called it a day. Payton Wilson, who turned a time of 2:11.968 (97.114 mph) in the No. 30 Meyer Motorsports Mazda RX-8 he shares with team owner Eric Meyer, was second in Monday's overall results.
Long's time of 2:10.131 (98.485 mph), set Sunday morning, stood best overall in ST. He was followed by Kristian Skavnes, who took the No. 111 Subaru Road Racing Team Subaru Legacy to second at 2:10.223 (98.416 mph) on Sunday afternoon. Long was also third in the No. 146 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5.
Overall, 33 cars took times during the session.
Automatic Still Putting Together Driver Lineups
Automatic Racing is still working on putting together its driver lineups for the 2009 KONI Sports Car Challenge GS season, team principal and driver David Russell said Monday.
So far, the team has Charles Espenlaub and Charles Putman in the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3, which won the 2007 KONI GS title and finished third last season.
The team also tested Russell in the No. 91 and had Andrew Hendricks in the BMW M3 as well. In the No. 99, Barry Waddell and Mark Hillestad have spent time behind the wheel and are expected to campaign the car in 2009.
Pirate Motorsports Debuts During Test
After campaigning several seasons in NASA and SCCA, Pirate Motorsports team owner Dan Harding said the team was ready to compete in Grand-Am.
The Dover, Ohio-based team brought the No. 151 Pirate Motorsports Mazda RX-8 to the track during the three-day test, and despite blowing an engine on Sunday, contested two days and learned about the series and track.
"Other than the engine blowing, it was great," Harding said. "It was all new to us, and a lot of fun. We were trying to get to that next level, step it up. I've only been racing for about five years, and my co-driver Allen (Milarcik) has been running about eight."
The team will primarily run the East Coast races.
Tough Day For Several Teams
It was a tough day for three teams who were involved in incidents - all during the second session. The No. 58 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT suffered left-side body damage in an incident, and Eric Meyer slid off the track in the No. 30 Meyer Motorsports Mazda RX-8, suffering light right rear damage.
The hardest hit from the day came from Thomas Charvat in the No. 67 CA Sport Honda Civic Si. Charvat spun in Turn 4 on his own and hit the wall with the left side, and sustained major front and rear damage. He was transported to the infield care center where he was treated and released.