Bas Leinders to debut at Watkins Glen

Bas Leinders to Make Rolex Series Debut in Crown Royal 250 at Watkins Glen DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 19, 2005) -- Belgian racer Bas Leinders will make his Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series debut this weekend co-driving the No. 7...

Bas Leinders to Make Rolex Series Debut in Crown Royal 250 at Watkins Glen

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 19, 2005) -- Belgian racer Bas Leinders will make his Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series debut this weekend co-driving the No. 7 Tuttle Team Racing/SAMAX Pontiac Riley with car owner Brian Tuttle in Saturday's Crown Royal 250 at Watkins Glen International (SPEED Channel, Live, 3 p.m. ET).

Leinders brings considerable experience from some of the most competitive series in Europe to the Rolex Series. The Belgian--who won championships in German Formula 3 (1998), European Formula Opel (1996), British Formula Ford (1995) and European Formula Ford (1995)--served as the official test and reserve driver for the Minardi Cosworth team in the 2004 Formula One World Championship.

He finished third in the 2002 and 2003 Telefonica World Series by Nissan, taking two victories in each season, and competed in the FIA Formula 3000 championship from 1999 through 2001. Leinders has also been successful in various sports car series in Europe, taking victories in the 2003 24 Hours of Zolder and a fourth-place finish in the 2002 24 Hours of Spa among many other achievements.

"I am very happy that, thanks to SAMAX Motorsport, I can get my first taste of racing a Daytona Prototype in the Rolex Sports Car Series," Leinders said. "After being the Minardi Formula One test driver in 2004, I concentrated on finding a drive in an American series, and I hope this participation will help me for the future. Watkins Glen seems to be an awesome circuit and I look forward to the challenge."

Leinders joins a Tuttle/SAMAX team that has already made a splash in the Rolex Series since joining the Daytona Prototype ranks in June's Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway. The team fielded NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series star Kyle Petty alongside Tuttle for the team's debut race at Daytona as well as in the CompUSA 200 at The Glen. French standout Jonathan Cochet co-drove with Tuttle for the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park in late July, and the Cochet/Tuttle combination accounted for the team's best result to date with a ninth-place run in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course late last month.

"Since this is our first year as a team, we are trying to use a different co-driver at each race to audition for a permanent seat next year," Tuttle said. "We are very excited about working with Bas Leinders, as he will bring a vast amount of racing experience to the team."

Tuttle and SAMAX owner Peter Baron plan to bring more talented drivers from Europe into the Rolex Series for the remainder of the 2005 Rolex Series season as the team prepares for a full-time effort in 2006. In addition to the Tuttle Team Racing/SAMAX Daytona Prototype, SAMAX will once again field the No. 71 NETTS/LouisBoston/SAMAX Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup for Mark Greenberg and Scottish hotshoe Ryan Dalziel in the GT class at Saturday's Crown Royal 250.

"We believe that Bas Leinders will be the next in a series of highly-competitive drivers that we have introduced to the Rolex Series this year," Baron said. "Certainly, Jonathan Cochet and Ryan Dalziel have opened a lot of eyes with their performances in our cars this year. It's not every day that you're able to find a driver with experience in Formula One cars as well as race wins in sports cars. When we learned that Bas was available, we jumped at the chance to bring him over. I'm sure he will do a great job for us this weekend."

SPEED Channel will televise the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen live beginning at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 24. Tickets for the Crown Royal 250 are available by visiting www.racetickets.com or by calling (866) 461-RACE.

The 14-race 2005 Rolex Series schedule and the 11-race Grand-Am Cup calendar deliver professional sports car racing to key markets throughout North America in addition to being televised in the United States and Canada on SPEED Channel and distributed globally through ESPN International. With title sponsorship support from Rolex Watch USA, the Rolex Sports Car Series showcases emerging and legendary drivers from around the globe and thoroughbred racing machines from the industry's leading constructors and the world's top automobile manufacturers. Learn more about Grand American at www.grandamerican.com.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kyle Petty , Jonathan Cochet , Ryan Dalziel , Peter Baron , Mark Greenberg , Bas Leinders , Brian Tuttle