KONI Sports Car Challenge Competitors Set to Participate in Season-Opening Test at Daytona; Nearly 40 cars will be on hand for three-day practice session, which starts Saturday
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 2, 2009) - Nearly 40 cars will participate in the opening three-day test for the 2009 Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge season, which starts Saturday and ends next Monday at Daytona International Speedway.
The 2009 race season opens Jan. 23 with the Fresh From Florida 200, which incurs a three-hour time limit, at the 3.56-mile track. Defending Grand Sport (GS) class and overall winner Craig Stanton of BGB Motorsports is the only reigning race winner scheduled to participate in the test. He will drive the No. 83 BGB Motorsports Porsche 997, one of 22 entries from the GS class, with rookie Josh Hurley.
Defending ST race co-winner Glenn Bocchino will also participate in the test, but the Delray Beach, Fla., driver has incorporated his operation into that of Kinetic Motorsports and moved into the GS class. He is scheduled to drive with Todd Lamb throughout the 2009 season.
The test is the official on-track debut for several drivers, teams and cars. The new BMW M3 will be on hand from Kinetic Motorsports, as the team - co-owned by Nic Jonsson and Russell Smith - has three cars entered for the test. The two co-owners will also drive the cars during the test.
Also running for the first time in KONI Sports Car Challenge history will be a Dodge Challenger from the Blackforest Motorsports stable. Two-time Fresh From Florida 200 race winner Tom Nastasi, who took the Ford Mustang GT to its first KONI victory at Daytona four years ago, and Ian James will debut the No. 5 Blackforest Motorsports Dodge Challenger.
GS team runner-up JBS Motorsports will field two cars for the test, with series runner-ups Bret Seafuse and James Gue in the No. 37 Ford Mustang GT and rookies Nick Igdalsky and Chase Mattioli in the No. 47 Ford Mustang GT.
Rehagen Racing, which ended the season at Virginia International Raceway with a 1-2 finish, has four cars entered at Daytona, while Automatic Racing and TRG, which finished 2008 with a victory apiece, will field three cars at the test. Horsepower Ranch, a new team established by 2008 VIR co-winner Mike Canney, will have two cars running.
Other GS entries include two cars each from Fall-Line Motorsports and Ranger Sport Racing and single-car efforts from Cardiosport Racing and CA Sport.
On the ST side, 2007 series champions Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood will start their first season under the RSR Motorsports banner, as they will drive one of three Mini Coopers fielded by team owner and driver Randy Smalley. Another multicar team fielding entries is Freedom Autosport, which earned a pair of second-place finishes in races during its inaugural season in 2008.
Other single-car teams fielding entries for this weekend's test include ICY/Phoenix Racing - a top-five team in the 2008 ST point standings - , Maxwell Paper Racing, Meyer Motorsports, Team Sahlen, CA Sport and Pirate Motorsports.
Several other teams, including 2008 championship-winning teams Hyper Sport (GS) and Georgian Bay Motorsports (ST), as well as ST team runner-up Bill Fenton Motorsports, are expected to return to action for the race.