Daytona 24: ASC Motorsports race report

ASC Motorsports Corvette C5R Finishes Rolex Grand Am 24 Hours of Daytona The goal for ASC Motorsports at the Grand American Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona was to finish the race with its new-specs GT Class Corvette C5R. At the end of the grueling ...

ASC Motorsports Corvette C5R Finishes Rolex Grand Am 24 Hours of Daytona

The goal for ASC Motorsports at the Grand American Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona was to finish the race with its new-specs GT Class Corvette C5R. At the end of the grueling twice-around-the-clock endurance race, a jubilant crew, four co-drivers and a growing group of friends, relatives and fans cheered and high-fived as owner/driver Zach Arnold crossed the finish line at racing speed.

The international team of five drivers from Switzerland, Canada and the U.S. drove a smart, steady race pace, competing with the other 33 GT class cars while leaving racing room for the 29 faster Daytona Prototypes on the challenging 3.56 mile road course. After falling behind early due to a couple of equipment failures and an on-track incident, the team steadily climbed back up the running order to finish in 35th place overall and 18th in the GT class, completing 507 laps for 1,805 miles.

The race was not without incident as the team had to recover from a broken tie rod just after the first hour, an on-track incident with another car mid-way through the 9th hour, and a broken clutch in the 12th hour. The newly formed pit crew performed like veterans, both on pit stops and in the garage, repairing the car quickly and getting it back on the track in good racing condition after each of the major repairs.

Arnold, the president of Arnold Machine, Inc. in Tiffin, Ohio, which designed and built the Corvette, started the race and ran nearly 7 1/2 hours in five stints, including the 45-minute run to the finish.

Co-driver Kurt Thiel, a German-born Swiss-American Caterpillar executive from Prangins, Switzerland drove more than 6 1/2 hours in 5 stints. Thiel, who has extensive international sportscar racing experience, commended his co-drivers and the crew for a great ride. Thiel stated, "I thoroughly enjoyed the new experience of running a full blown American V8 at Daytona! No question that as little testing as the car has had that you should feel very good about making it to the finish. The car has lots of potential that can be coaxed out of it."

John Stephenson from Swan Quarter, North Carolina, who finished the 2004 season in 6th place in the GT class, drove four stints for a total of nearly five hours. Stephenson will campaign his own new Corvette in the Rolex Grand Am series beginning with the race at Miami-Homestead.

Ken MacAlpine from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada and Scott Turner from Merritt Island, Florida, both regulars in the Grand Am Cup series, split the other six driver stints, driving for 2 1/2 hours each.

When Arnold climbed back into the cockpit on the last pit stop with 45 minutes remaining and a finish in sight, he had to both contain his excitement and overcome a bout of nervousness. In a post-race interview, Arnold explained, "In those last few laps, all I could think about was all the things that could go wrong with the race car."

The obviously elated owner/driver said in closing, "The co-drivers and the crew were great. Finishing this race says a lot about the preparation of the team. It was the first professional race with a new team and a new car with a crew of volunteers who knew their jobs and worked very well together. They deserve the credit for our finishing the race."

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Scott Turner , Ken MacAlpine , Zach Arnold , Kurt Thiel