CORE autosport press release
Alex Popow to headline #06 CORE autosport machine for 2012 ALMS season
ROCK HILL, SC, Thursday, March 8, 2012: Accomplished racer Alex Popow will be taking on a new challenge for 2012 – defending the Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) championship as primary driver of the #06 Soloson Import CORE autosport entry in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).
Popow, 36, of Lecheria, Venezuela, will debut in the ALMS LMPC class with co-drivers E.J. Viso and Burt Frisselle for the season kickoff, the 60th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring powered by Fresh from Florida on March 17.
Popow started his racing career in 1996 in his father’s old rally car in a 2000cc Venezuelan road racing class, winning the championship as a very green rookie in an expert category, which he did again in 1997. Further Venezuelan championships include the Palio Cup (1998, 1999), Mustang Cup (2000, 2002) and the 2000 Venezuela Championship (2005).
His career progressed beyond Venezuela to Columbia in a renowned six-hour event (second 2002, 2005; third 2004). 2006 saw Popow competing in the Panam-GP Series, which travelled six countries, with good result. Off-road called Popow in 2007 and through 2009 he drove in the AWA 4x4 Rally Championship, reaching a high of third spot in the LUV D-MAX Trophy.
Popow returned to on-road competition in 2010 the Latino American Challenge Formula 2000 Series in Mexico and the U.S., achieving third place in the standings that year and in 2011. Also in 2011, Popow began GRAND-AM competition in the Daytona Prototype class with the then-new Starworks team, as well as placing well in the 2011 Mexican Super Copa Seat Leon championship.
After running events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in January 2012, Popow was able to score a second-place finish at the rigorous 24 Hours of Daytona, partnered with, among other drivers, CORE autosport alumnus Ryan Dalziel. In addition to running the full ALMS series in 2012, Popow is running GRAND-AM in the DP and Continental Tire classes as well as selected Ferrari Challenge events.
Two well-known racers, IZOD IndyCar Series star E.J. Viso and sports-car regular Burt Frisselle will be joining Papow in the #06 machine.
Viso, 26, is also a Venezuela native and has been racing since the age of 5. Starting out in karts, in both his native country and in Europe, Viso captured multiple titles. He transitioned to cars in 2001 and has competed in the Skip Barber Dodge Championship (U.S.), Formula Renault 2000 (Italy, Britain), Formula 3 (Britain), European GT, Formula 3000, GP2 and, in 2006 as a test driver for the Spyker F1 team. He transitioned to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2008 and has driven for HVM Racing and KV Racing Technology, the team he will remain with for the 2012 season.
Viso may be joining Popow in additional races in the #06 machine, depending on conflicts between the ALMS and IZOD IndyCar Series schedules.
Frisselle, 30, of Aspen, Colorado, is a strong second-generation racer. After growing up with a father, Brad, who is a legend in the sports car world and has two 12 Hours of Sebring victories to his name, young Burt started his career as many drivers do, with a trip to Skip Barber racing school, then through the Barber open-wheel ranks. He graduated to sports cars in 2004, in the Daytona Prototype class of the GRAND-AM Rolex series, and through this year has driven in 96 events. In 2010, Friselle co-drove in the ALMS LMPC class, winning the season-ending 2010 Petit Le Mans race.
ALMS testing will take place at the 17-turn 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway on Monday, March 12 and Tuesday, March 13. On-track activity for the 60th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring powered by Fresh from Florida, begins with practice on Thursday, March 15. Qualifying will be held on Friday the 16th and the race will start at 10:30 a.m. (ET) on Saturday, March 17.