Grand-Am Rolex Series GT Championship To Be Decided Sept. 15 at Sunchaser 1000k at Miller Motorsports Park
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 5, 2007) -- While much of the focus of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve season has fallen on the Daytona Prototype class, the GT Championship also remains on the line with only one race remaining.
Leading the GT championship is No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Motorsports IPC/Marquis Jet Porsche GT3 co-pilot Dirk Werner, who sits just five points ahead of TRG teammates Andy Lally and RJ Valentine. Werner, a Rolex Series rookie from Germany, has climbed to the top of the Championship with nine podium finishes, including a win in April at Virginia International Raceway with co-driver Bryce Miller.
"We are really looking forward to this last race at Miller (Motorsports Park)," Werner said. "It has been a very exciting year for Bryce and me. The whole team has been working hard for this championship. We know Farnbacher Loles will give us the best car and with Wolf driving with us we feel very good about our chances."
Lally -- the defending champion in Rolex Series GT action -- has combined with Valentine for five wins, as the duo has climbed to its perch in the standings. Lally, who captured the season-ending Sunchaser 1000k at Miller Motorsports Park last season, won the driver championship and helped TRG take the team title one year ago.
"Nobody has the depth that TRG has to draw from," Lally said. "Our crew has been on top of this car from the day we got it and they have applied the same dedication and professionalism that TRG is known for having throughout the entire squad. RJ has been absolutely great all year long. He has been a rock and we have been able to rely on him to start this car every race and not put a scratch on it."
Valentine entered the season as the wild card in Lally's effort, but has played the support role to his teammates efforts perfectly.
"This has been a year beyond belief," said Valentine, who has a number of sports car starts in his long driving career. "The combo that these guys have put together with the team infrastructure, the preparation, the hospitality, the race strategy -- no one does it like this team. Andy has been the perfect co-driver all year and done a lion's share of the driving duties. I love being a part of this organization and they have 100 percent delivered for me. To be this close to a Championship, well, I can almost taste it. This has been a dream year for me."
If the two teams should leave the final race tied atop the standings, Lally and Valentine would walk away as champions based on their higher number of wins in 2007.
One other pair of drivers remains in title contention, though the duo of Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards would need the leaders to falter down the stretch. The most likely scenario for the Banner Racing teammates to capture the title is with a race win, with Lally and Valentine finishing outside the top five and Werner crossing the finish line in 11th or worse.
While that scenario has yet to play out this season, anything can happen in a 1000-kilometer race.
"We have to win and everyone else has to break," a realistic Collins admitted. "We will be going after the win. We have to run flat-out, the others have to be careful. It is a long track, maybe too long. In a 45-minute practice session you get like seven laps. With so many corners if you blow one, you have pretty much blown the entire lap. The DPs are always shoving their way by so you have to be on your game the whole stint. The more turns multiplies your chances of getting hit by nearly double. It is a good track for the GXP.R. The car likes medium and high speed turns. It will be survival and hopefully we can get some luck."
Both the GT and the Daytona Prototype Championship will be decided on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, in a 1000k endurance race to the checkered flag. The race's start will air live on SPEED at 11:00 a.m. ET. The second segment continues with action to the checkered flag beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET.