The Racer's Group (TRG) is ready to set a record at the 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona - the team will introduce the youngest driver lineup in the 43-year history of the event. Brad Coleman of Houston, Colin Braun of Ovalo, Texas, and Adrian Carrio of...
The Racer's Group (TRG) is ready to set a record at the 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona - the team will introduce the youngest driver lineup in the 43-year history of the event. Brad Coleman of Houston, Colin Braun of Ovalo, Texas, and Adrian Carrio of Monument, Colo., all age 16, will drive the No. 16 Team16 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the 24-hour endurance race. Ross Bentley of Redmond, Wash., will be their coach and co-driver.
The teens have already shown their talent in professional racing.
Coleman is the youngest U.S. driver to receive a professional open-wheel racing license, at age 14 in 2002. He competed in the Fran-Am 1600 Pro Series in 2003 and in the Star Mazda Series in 2004, and is now training for the 2005 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series.
Braun is the youngest U.S. driver to win a professional open-wheel championship, topping the 2003 Fran-Am 1600 Pro Series at age 14. He won the 2004 rising star award for young American drivers, presented by Sir Stirling Moss on behalf of The Gorsline Company.
Carrio, also licensed as a professional driver at 14, earned rookie-of-the-year honors with his second-place finish this year in the Formula TR Pro Racing series. Like his teammates, he has won multiple karting championships, and he has also conducted extensive testing in sports cars.
TRG owner Kevin Buckler knows how to win at Daytona, after taking the class win in 2002 and the overall victory in 2003. He was impressed with Team16's performance in recent tests at Sears Point (Infineon) Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"I selected these young driving stars based on a rigorous set of criteria. Throughout the testing, they met and exceeded my goals," he said. "I have to say I'm really impressed. They are fully committed, extremely mature beyond their years and really good drivers. They're pros in every sense of the word and they're definitely future stars. I'm proud to welcome them to The Racer's Group."
Coleman is probably due for a dry ride after enduring last year's rain-soaked Rolex 24, when he worked as a crew member. "I was part of the pit crew - I was the lollypop [sign] man and I had to help the tire-changer carry the tires. The best part was when I finally got to change into dry gear after the race," he recalled. This year, he'll be inside the car. "I'm still trying to let it soak in because it's a great opportunity for me. I'm very excited!"
Braun is ready for the magic of night racing. "I always thought it was a really cool deal when they raced at night," he said. "I remember sitting up in the grandstands watching all the cars and the brakes light up. I thought, 'Man, it would be so cool if I could ever drive one of these cars at such a historic race.' Finally, I've got the opportunity."
Carrio started in open-wheel racing, but he was soon drawn to Daytona. "Once I got wind of Daytona, it always really interested me because of the history; people devote their lives to this. It was one of those things I always wanted to do," he said. "I just think of how proud I am of the team. It's incredible to be out there having all this fun with all these big drivers."
Bentley, who scored a class win at Daytona in 2003, will do double duty as driver and coach for Team16. He is the author of three books and the founder and head coach of Speed Secrets Driver Development Services. He has designed an intense training program for Coleman, Braun and Carrio, including on-track testing, physical fitness, nutrition and mental preparation.
"Our goal is to prepare them better for one specific race than anyone else ever has been," Bentley said. "The amazing thing is how much experience these kids have for being 16 years old. They've got two years of car racing under their belts already! There's no doubt that they're fast. This is a fantastic opportunity for them to learn what it is to be smart and consistent, to be a great endurance driver, which will help them in their racing careers."
The Rolex 24 at Daytona is scheduled for Feb. 5 and 6 on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway infield road course in Daytona Beach, Fla.