(Daytona Beach, FL) 14 April 09 - The Spirit of Daytona Racing No. 09 Porsche V8-powered Coyote will be back in action this month, as the team has entered the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway with drivers Guy Cosmo and Scott...
(Daytona Beach, FL) 14 April 09 - The Spirit of Daytona Racing No. 09 Porsche V8-powered Coyote will be back in action this month, as the team has entered the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway with drivers Guy Cosmo and Scott Russell slated to share the driving duties on April 23-25 for round 2 of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series championship.
After rebounding from a brief pit fire and making it to the finish with a roster of champions in Jason Pridmore, Jeff Ward, Russell, and Cosmo in the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona, Spirit of Daytona is now ready for the "second half" of the Rolex Sports Car Series Season. Spirit of Daytona Racing has been working non-stop since the checkered flag of the 24 to be fully prepared for the select schedule the team will run in 2009. The team has continued to develop the Coyote chassis, and is hoping to put the lessons learned on the high banks of the home track in Daytona to good use as the Rolex Sports Car Series hits the natural terrain circuit in Virginia.
The Coyote, teamed with the Porsche V8 powerplant, hasn't been sitting still since the 24, as the team also took part in the late-March Rolex Series open test at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The track was one where the Coyote-Porsche V8 showed well in 2008, as Cosmo qualified and ran in the lead pack for much of the race. The March test provided some encouraging results, and almost more importantly, some great new data to work with as the team readies for the season-finale championship event at Homestead as well as the upcoming rounds at New Jersey Motorsports Park and Watkins Glen.
While the Homestead outing was encouraging, team owner Troy Flis knows that there are still a lot of lessons to be learned for the Coyote.
"We were really happy with how quick we were at Homestead and with how well the car managed tire wear, but we aren't kidding ourselves at all, because we know we are up against cars with thousands of miles of testing and racing behind them," said Flis. "But it was very encouraging for us to be setting times that were as competitive as they were. Everyone on the team has been working non-stop, so it was great to not only have a lot of test time thanks to good reliability, but to come out of there with some good ideas for the next time out so we are really looking forward to VIR."
Another challenge the team will be targeting is the fact that one half of the driver line up, Scott Russell, has only seen half of the track, on a machine that had only half the wheel count as the Coyote in his championship days on motorcycles.
"I've run half of VIR in a test session with Ducati the year I got hurt - I've not run the second half of that course," said Russell. "I'm trying to find a way to get over there and get to run a few laps before we get there. Thank God for Guy Cosmo. He's a development driver as well as a mentor for me. He's the man, and he's helped me a lot. It's a great opportunity just to be out here, and to be involved in something that's a development is kind of cool, really. They've made the car a lot more comfortable to drive. We're not expected to win the championship, that kind of thing. But I think we can get on the podium this year, for sure."
Cosmo, who has started from pole at VIR in Daytona Prototype competition, knows that the twisty Virginia circuit is a tough one for first-timers to take on, but is confident not only in his co-driver Russell, but also in the progress the team has already made with the new Coyote.
"I couldn't believe how well it went for us at Homestead and I just want us to be able to keep making that kind of progress once we get back to the track at VIR," said Cosmo. "I know Scott will have to learn his way around the track but he's picked it up quickly everywhere else we've run, hitting his marks like a champion and just getting more and more comfortable with what he can do in the car. I just can't wait to get back to it at VIR and keep improving because we all feel like there is some real potential in this package."