Team Lexus faces fierce competition in defense of Sport Touring I titles. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 22, 2003) -- The Grand-Am Cup Series will open its 2003 season at Daytona International Speedway next week with the Daytona 250, January 31,...
Team Lexus faces fierce competition in defense of Sport Touring I titles.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 22, 2003) -- The Grand-Am Cup Series will open its 2003 season at Daytona International Speedway next week with the Daytona 250, January 31, and Baltimore-based Team Lexus will face some fierce competition as it tries to defend its Sport Touring I team and driver championships of 2002.
Team Lexus shocked competitors, fans and even themselves at the 2002 Grand American Finale last November when it came from behind in the point standings at the final race of the year to capture the Sport Touring I team championship.
"We didn't do anything different last year. The chips just fell our way," said team owner and driver Chuck Goldsborough. "It wasn't even that glamorous of a year. Villaconn won four races, and we didn't win anything until the last race. But what that did show was consistency by the team."
The team hopes to continue to be a front-runner in the class in 2003, as it returns with three Lexus IS300 race cars for the season opener. While the team's 2002 driver champion, Jean-Francois Dumoulin, has moved into the Grand Sport I class this season, Team Lexus has already announced a strong preliminary lineup of drivers for 2003 and hopes to finalize it shortly.
"In the pro driver lineup, we have myself, Ian James and Andy Lally, so far. We are still waiting to name our fourth pro driver. In the privateer lineup, we have Troy Hanson and two drivers that I can't name yet." noted Goldsborough.
But even with its powerful driver lineup, Team Lexus will face some fierce competition from both veteran teams and newcomers to the series.
Honda of America Race Team (HART) will return to the Sport Touring I class with its pair of Acura RSX-S entries. HART spent the 2002 season developing the new race cars and captured back-to-back wins in the class at Mid-Ohio and VIR. Drivers Shawn Allen and Chad Gilsinger will team in the #69 Acura for the Daytona 250, while John Schmitt and Pete Halsmer pilot the #00 entry.
Duane Neyer Motorsports, which has taken over the former Team Spartanburg, will field two BMWs in the Sport Touring I class at the Daytona 250. The #83 BMW Z3, which won its class at last year's season opener, will have Jim Hamblin and Stewart Tetreault at the controls, while John Moore and Duane Neyer will race the #38 BMW 328.
TC Kline Racing will field BMW's newest sports car in the ST I class this season with the racing debut of the BMW Z4 roadster. And the team has put together some successful BMW racers to pilot its new race cars in the Daytona 250. After scoring five podium finishes last season at the wheel of a BMW Z3 race car, Don Salama and Bransen Patch will each pilot a new Z4 roadster in 2003. Instead of teaming up as co-drivers, this time they will race in separate team cars. Salama will partner with Steve Pfeffer in the #12 roadster, while Patch races with David Tuaty in the #92 BMW.
CLS Racing will also bring a BMW to the Daytona 250, with Jerry Spangler and David Chenoweth running the #22 BMW 330i in the ST I class.
Other contenders in the class for the season opener include the #28 Honda Civic Si of De Sigi Auto Sport, the #80 Audi A4 of LM Racing, the #86 Acura Integra R of Sky Rocket Six Racing and the #148 Olds Achieva SC of WTF Engineering.
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 may 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.