Rand Racing Names Strong Driver Lineup for American Le Mans Series debut. BRASELTON, GA. - A strong driver lineup consisting of accomplished veterans, talented newcomers and famous surnames has been announced by Rand Racing for its first season...
Rand Racing Names Strong Driver Lineup for American Le Mans Series debut.
BRASELTON, GA. - A strong driver lineup consisting of accomplished veterans, talented newcomers and famous surnames has been announced by Rand Racing for its first season of competition in the American Le Mans Series. In addition, the American sports car racing team announced a technical partnership with Yokohama Tire Corporation.
The team, owned by Bill Rand, will run a pair of Lola B2K/40-Nissan Prototypes in the LMP2 class of the American Le Mans Series. The 2004 ALMS season begins with the 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Mar. 17-20 at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway.
Rand will drive for the team in selected races and will partner with Mike Fitzgerald and James Gue in the #7 entry at Sebring. Driving the #8 will be Marino Franchitti, Derek Hill and Andy Lally.
"I believe we've assembled all the elements for a winning team," said Rand, of Dallas, Tex. "We have an exceptional group of drivers, Yokohama as our technical partner, and Thomas Blam as Team Manager and Jeff Braun as Technical Director. We've had some past success in endurance racing and we're really looking forward to Sebring. We hope that's our first step to Le Mans and the American Le Mans Series championship."
"We are extremely excited to have a team the caliber of Rand Racing competing on our tires," said Art Michalik, director, marketing communications, Yokohama Tire Corporation. "With the realignment of LMP classes, we see this year as our best opportunity for a championship since 2001."
In addition to famous surnames, Franchitti and Hill bring impressive racing resumes to the team. The younger brother of open wheel star Dario Franchitti, Marino Franchitti was the 2001 British GTO champion and spent the 2002 season racing on the ALMS with a Dodge Viper in the GTS class. The Scottish driver also drove one race in the GT class, partnering with Kevin Buckler to finish second at Infineon Raceway.
Hill, the son of 1961 Formula One World Champion Phil Hill, and only the second American ever to graduate to F3000, has extensive sports car racing experience. The Santa Monica, Calif., resident competed in IMSA-sanctioned events in the late 1990s, prior to the formation of the ALMS, and scored class wins in the Sebring and Daytona endurance racing classics.
Fitzgerald, from Phoenix, Az., has 29 career starts in the ALMS, all coming in Porsches, and is being reunited with Thomas Blam, the person he considers the most influential in his racing career. His best finish in ALMS competition so far has been a second in the GT class at Sebring in 1999. In 2000, Fitzgerald became only the third American in history to be awarded the Porsche Cup, recognizing the top non-factory Porsche racer in the world.
Lally, from Long Island, N.Y., is accomplished in automobile racing and street luge competition. He spent the 2003 season driving for Zip Racing in ALMS competition and won the 2002 SRPII driving title in Grand-Am for Rand Racing. In addition, he drove Prototypes for both the KnightHawk and Archangel teams in the ALMS in 2002.
Gue, currently a Dean's List student at the University of Georgia, made his ALMS debut in 2003, driving a Lola B2K/40 to second place in the LMP 675 class in the event held at Road America. A former standout in kart racing, Gue is one of the few Americans to ever qualify for the Karting World Championships in Belgium.
Rand, a successful Texas businessman, became a team owner in 2001. The Rand team won the Grand-Am SRPII class championship in 2002, winning nine times in nine starts and propelling driver Terry Borcheller to the class driving title. His driving background includes the Ferrari Challenge Series as well as selected starts in Grand-Am.
The 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will get the green flag at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 20, and will be televised live from flag-to-flag by the Speed Channel. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.
Ticket information is available online at www.sebringraceway.com and www.americanlemans.com or by calling (863) 655-1442 (toll-free 800-626-RACE).