2007 schedule announced

2007 Schedule Takes Rolex Series to Key Markets Throughout North America DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 3, 2006) -- Two new events, an expanded number of split-class races and visits to key markets in the United States, Canada and Mexico ...

2007 Schedule Takes Rolex Series to Key Markets Throughout North America

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 3, 2006) -- Two new events, an expanded number of split-class races and visits to key markets in the United States, Canada and Mexico highlight the 2007 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve schedule, which was unveiled today by Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson.

New for 2007 will be events at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Yesterday, series officials announced that the Rolex Series will make its first visit to Montreal on Friday, August 3 in a partnership with the NASCAR Busch Series, which will make its Canadian debut on the same weekend. The event will feature both the Daytona Prototypes and GT machines racing simultaneously on the 2.709-mile permanent road course.

Iowa Speedway, meanwhile, will host the Rolex Series for the first time on July 13 and 14, as was announced by series and track officials in July. The Iowa Speedway event on the 1.3-mile stadium road course will see the GT machines take to the track for a 400-kilometer event on the afternoon of Saturday, July 14 with the Daytona Prototypes competing in a separate 400k that evening.

In addition to Iowa Speedway, split-class events are also scheduled for Virginia International Raceway on April 28-29, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 19-20, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 23-24 and Barber Motorsports Park on July 21-22. On most occasions, the GT event will be held on the first day of the weekend with the Daytona Prototypes closing out the festivities. However, the Mid-Ohio round will see the Daytona Prototypes racing on Saturday, June 23 followed by the GT event on Sunday, June 24.

"As car counts in both the Daytona Prototype and GT classes continue to increase, it has become necessary for us to run class-specific races at some of our shorter venues," Edmondson said. "We view these events as great opportunities to give each class their rightful place in the spotlight. That said, we also recognize that sports car racing has a long and illustrious history featuring multiple classes running at the same time, and we will remain true to our heritage in our endurance events and other races where track length and pit space is plentiful."

Following Rolex Series tradition, the 2007 slate gets underway on January 27-28 with North America's most prestigious endurance race, the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Not only does the twice-around-the-clock spectacle kick off the Rolex Series calendar, it will again signal the beginning of the 2007 international racing schedule with the world's best sports car drivers and teams taking on stars from NASCAR and open wheel racing.

On March 3, the Rolex Series makes its way south of the border to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and its third visit to Mexico City, Mexico. It will be the first of two race weekends in which the Rolex Series will share the stage with the NASCAR Busch Series, the other being Montreal.

The Rolex Series will return to Homestead-Miami Speedway for Round 3 on Saturday, March 24. The Homestead event will be run in conjunction with the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season opener, but in a new twist for 2007, the Rolex Series will race Saturday afternoon on the same day as that evening's IndyCar race.

Virginia International Raceway, which played host to one of the most exciting finishes in Rolex Series history in 2006, hosts Round 4 on the weekend of April 28-29, followed by the first West Coast trip of the season with a visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 19-20.

While the Daytona Prototype class will then have two weekends off, the GT teams will have a quick turnaround to return to the East Coast for its second consecutive Memorial Day weekend visit to Lime Rock Park. The GT class will once again headline the traditional sports car racing weekend at the venerable Connecticut road course on Monday, May 28.

The Daytona Prototypes and GT machines will rejoin each other at Watkins Glen International for the stand-alone Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen on Saturday, June 9. The event will be the second of three endurance races on the 2007 schedule and returns to feature status after sharing the card with the IndyCar Series this year.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will host the Rolex Series on the weekend of June 23-24, followed by the traditional 250-mile event under the lights at Daytona International Speedway on July 5 as part of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Pepsi 400 weekend. Once again in 2007, the Rolex Series teams will practice, qualify and race all in the same day at Daytona.

Iowa Speedway is next with split Daytona Prototype and GT races on Saturday, July 14 before the series returns to Barber Motorsports Park for another pair of split-class races on July 21-22. >From there it is onto Montreal for the inaugural Rolex Series event on Friday, August 3. Like the Daytona summer race, Montreal will also be a single-day event.

The Daytona Prototype teams will then make their way a few hundred miles to the south for a 200-miler at Watkins Glen International on Friday, August 10 as part of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series weekend. Infineon Raceway, which hosted the Rolex Series for the first time in 2006, will be the site of the second stand-alone Daytona Prototype race on Saturday, August 25. The Daytona Prototypes will again co-headline the weekend activities with the IndyCar Series.

The GT and Daytona Prototype classes will then reunite at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on Saturday, September 15. In a slight change from the inaugural Rolex Series event at Miller Motorsports Park in 2006, the 2007 event will be 1,000 kilometers or nine hours, whichever comes first. The finale will be contested two weekends later than in 2006, when the event was held on Labor Day weekend.

"Our 2007 Rolex Series schedule is a continuation of many successful events from the past several years alongside two exciting new events," Edmondson said. "Continuity is key at this stage in the development of the Rolex Series as we continue to build a series of exciting and competitive events. We feel strongly that our 2007 calendar will once again deliver excitement to race fans throughout North America, in addition to extremely attractive markets for our teams, sponsors and drivers."

In total, the Daytona Prototype class will contest a 14-race schedule, with a 13-event slate for the GT class. Both classes will also participate in the traditional Daytona Test Days on January 3-6, 2007. Additionally, there are two open tests in 2006, at Daytona International Speedway on November 6-7 and Homestead-Miami Speedway on December 5-6.

-credit: garra

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Series Grand-Am