Negri relishing run at 24 Miami, FL (17 January 07)--A lot has changed since Oswaldo Negri drove into the night and across the finish line as the last Rolex Sports Car Series race winner of 2006. His Lexus-Riley Daytona Prototype will have a...
Negri relishing run at 24
Miami, FL (17 January 07)--A lot has changed since Oswaldo Negri drove into the night and across the finish line as the last Rolex Sports Car Series race winner of 2006.
His Lexus-Riley Daytona Prototype will have a new sponsor, will ride on different Hoosier tires, the Rolex 24 At Daytona race start will be broadcast nationwide live on the terrestrial FOX channel, and while he will continue to partner with full-season co-driver Mark Patterson, he will have new co-drivers for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
But after the team recently wrapped up testing in advance of the January 27th start of the Rolex 24, Negri is feeling that "...change is good!"
"I can't wait," said Negri. "Winning an endurance race with Mark was really fantastic and in a way took some of the pressure off of us, because now we know exactly what it takes to get it done. We'd been close before of course, but now we've done it and I think that gives us a lot of confidence for the 24."
"Even though everyone in this paddock knew how good Mike Shank Racing is, I think winning that race really helped to let people everywhere know that," said Negri. "And, I think it helped us get drivers like Helio and Sam to decide to race with us, and it's a tremendous advantage."
But what about the new teammates, tires, and the new traction control rules?
"I'm really excited about having Sam and Helio with us and they were both quick from the first time they got in the car," said Negri. "I have known Helio for a long time so it's a little bit like old times with him around, always making us all laugh!"
"The traction control isn't that big of a deal for us at all. Mark has all that formula car experience under his belt and has done a really fantastic job adapting back to not having traction control. He's been focusing on still being able to get the power down quickly as well as making small changes to his line in some places to get the most out of the car."
"The tire is different-it looses a lot of grip late in the run, and we've had to adjust to be quick even when the tires aren't at their best," continued Negri. "We were not the fastest guys at the test, but what was so encouraging is just how fast we were on very old tires. That doesn't show up on the timing sheets, but it should show up in the results."
The full-time racer and driver coach is also busy with the future of the sport with his Kart Mini karting business and race team. Negri was particularly proud that two of his young team members, Jordan Taylor and Gabriel Chavez, both won scholarships with Skip Barber Racing in a recent karting run-off held in Sebring, Florida.
"I'm really proud of Jordan and Gabriel," said Negri. "They are both great young and aggressive kids and have been great members of the Kart Mini team. I know that they will make the most of this next opportunity to move up with Skip Barber."