GRAND-AM Aligns Competition Department Leadership, Eyes Increased NASCAR Synergy; Revised Approach Aimed At Long-Term Goals of Growth, Manufacturer Participation
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 9, 2012) – With the most significant season in GRAND-AM Road Racing history approaching, the sanctioning body announced today a strategic leadership alignment of its competition department, designed to maximize objectives and opportunities, increase synergy with NASCAR and further enhance GRAND-AM’s status as North America’s premier form of sports car racing.
“This is yet another indication of NASCAR’s strong support of GRAND-AM’s efforts across the board,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “GRAND-AM should experience increased benefit from NASCAR’s variety of resources, including within the competition arena.”
Central to the changes will be increased involvement with NASCAR’s state-of-the-art Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.
Added GRAND-AM CEO Ed Bennett: “The importance of GRAND-AM tapping into the expertise and capability of the R&D Center cannot be over-emphasized. Combine all of that expertise with what GRAND-AM already has in-house with our current momentum … and the future is bright, especially in terms of efforts toward increased manufacturer participation and development.”
As part of this alignment, Mark Raffauf has assumed the role of Managing Director of Racing Operations with day-to-day oversight of GRAND-AM’s two series – the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Raffauf will continue to be the competition department’s main “at-track” representative, starting with the 50th anniversary running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, set for Jan. 28-29 at Daytona International Speedway.
Also, Dave Spitzer has become Managing Director of Manufacturer and Series Development and will continue concentration on specialized strategic competition initiatives. Spitzer played a critical leadership role in the recent announcement of the new Corvette DP which provides a case study for stylized prototypes that can resemble manufacturer models both today and in the future. He also has led GRAND-AM’s international competition development, resulting in the new Audi and Ferrari entries into the Rolex Series’ GT class; the momentum toward a possible American version of the German-based DTM sports car series in 2013; feasibility for the development of a new B-Spec Series and discussions with other European manufacturers to increase GRAND-AM involvement and support.
“We’ve taken an already accomplished competition department to the next level with these moves,” said GRAND-AM President Tom Bledsoe.
“With our own lineup and increased synergy with NASCAR, we are optimistic about GRAND-AM’s future, to say the least. We have positive momentum and increased interest from around the globe; and our combined capabilities have never been stronger.”