Rolex 24 At Daytona lineup highlighted by driving veterans, new comers and new partners.
INDIANAPOLIS – Seven-time and reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Champions (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) and five-time and reigning Rolex 24 At Daytona Winners (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013) Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today its season-long program for the new IMSA-sanctioned TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (USCC) in 2014, including their driver line-up for the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Long-time partners Telcel and TELMEX return as the primary sponsors of the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost Riley in the Prototype category for the USCC season-long effort piloted by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in their eighth year together, after finishing the GRAND-AM era as most-successful driving duo in Rolex Sports Car Series history.
In addition, CGRFS will again field two Prototypes for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, featuring eight drivers that represent some of the best talent the motor racing world has to offer. Pruett and Rojas will unite with CGRFS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) teammate Jamie McMurray and reigning Indy Lights Champion Sage Karam to form the lineup in the No. 01 Telcel/Target/Comfort Revolution Ford EcoBoost Riley, while the Team Target trio of drivers Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Kyle Larson join sports car star Marino Franchitti in the No. 02 Target/Telcel/Big Machine Records Ford EcoBoost Riley.
CGRFS previously announced it would utilize Ford’s 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost racing engine for the 2014 USCC season.
It will also include the 2013 Indy Lights Champion Sage Karam and sports car veteran and 2013 LMP2 ALMS champion, Marino Franchitti. In addition, the team has added Big Machine Records and Comfort Revolution as two new partners to its longtime partnerships with Telcel and Target.
The 2014 CGRFS Rolex 24 At Daytona driver roster is an impressive group of international racing champions representing two Indianapolis 500 titles (Dixon-2008, Kanaan-2013), four Indy car championships (Dixon-2003, 2008, 2013 and Kanaan-2004), nine Prototype championships (Pruett-2004, 2006, Pruett/Rojas-2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and Franchitti-2010, 2013) and nine Rolex 24 At Daytona wins.
2013 was marked by Chip Ganassi Racing’s 17th Championship as an organization (INDYCAR: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and USCC: 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), with Pruett and Rojas capturing their fifth championship as teammates (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). It also marked the fourth consecutive title for CGRFS (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
CGRFS has the greatest stretch in Rolex 24 At Daytona history highlighted by five wins and two second-place finishes from 2006-2013. The team also has seven championships (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) and 41 race wins – all GRAND-AM records, to their credit since their introduction to sports car racing in 2004. Chip Ganassi and co-owner Felix Sabates are the only team owners in history to win three-straight Rolex 24 At Daytona events (2006-2008).
Pruett is tied for the all-time record with five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona wins (1994, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013) and along with Rojas is the record holder for GRAND-AM wins in a single season (nine in 2010). He has never finished outside of the top-two in the GRAND-AM championship. Pruett and Hurley Haywood are the lone five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona Winners.
Pruett is the first American to score 12 major sports car championships - his closest competitor is the late Peter Gregg who has seven to his credit. Pruett’s previous titles include two IMSA GTO Titles (1986, 1988), one IMSA GT Endurance (1986) and three Trans-Am Championships (1987, 1994, 2003).
Chip Ganassi, Team Owner: “This race is always exciting for me. Because it is a 24-hour race, there are so many factors that go into having success. You need the drivers, the people, the equipment and the partners - but most importantly they all have to act as one team and that is where I think our strength lies. And having a little bit of luck on your side never hurts. When you make it to victory lane in this race, you know that you have accomplished something really special. In addition, it is not often when we can bring such a diverse group of drivers from NASCAR, INDYCAR and IMSA together to compete in one race. It is a great kick off to our racing season.”
Jamie Allison, Director, Ford Racing: “Chip Ganassi Racing is a world-class team with some of the best road racers in the world. The caliber of drivers including Scott Pruett, who started his racing career with Ford and is now the winningest driver in Rolex 24 history really raises the bar. We're happy to have that level of talent to showcase what Ford's EcoBoost technology can do on the race track.”