Pontiac GTO.R Set to Make Rolex Series GT Debut in Brumos Porsche 250 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 29, 2005) -- After months of preparation, officials from GM Racing and TRG today unveiled the new Pontiac GTO.R race car, which will compete for...
Pontiac GTO.R Set to Make Rolex Series GT Debut in Brumos Porsche 250
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 29, 2005) -- After months of preparation, officials from GM Racing and TRG today unveiled the new Pontiac GTO.R race car, which will compete for the first time in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series GT class in Thursday's Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway (SPEED Channel, 8 p.m. ET).
The new car joins an ultra-competitive field in a Rolex Series GT class that has featured race cars such as the Porsche GT3 Cup, BMW M3, Maserati Trofeo Light GT, Ferrari 360, Mazda RX-8, Chevrolet Corvette and another version of the Pontiac GTO already in 2005. GM Racing selected California-based TRG--which claimed the overall victory in the 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona and has numerous Rolex Series GT victories--to field the No. 64 and No. 65 Pontiac GTO.Rs for drivers Jan Magnussen, Paul Edwards, Andy Lally and Marc Bunting.
"We've been planning for this date for quite some time and we're glad that the moment has finally come," said GM Racing Director Mark Kent. "The GTO.R is another weapon that will help add credibility to GM Racing's already solid lineup. The fact that the car's design is derived from GM's production GTO helps strengthen Pontiac's performance-oriented image and shows consumers that--like our slogan says--Pontiac is indeed designed for action."
The production-based GTO.R uses the new GEN III LS2 engine from the 2005 GTO with racing exhaust headers and the addition of a dry-sump oil system. To stay within Grand American torque and power limits, a less-aggressive camshaft, smaller throttle body, 58mm restrictor and reprogrammed engine management system were added. The 6.0-liter engine is a direct descendant of the legendary small-block V-8, the most successful production and racing engine of all time.
"We chose TRG to run our first two GTO.Rs based upon their professionalism and penchant for winning," Kent said. "(TRG owner) Kevin (Buckler) and his team offer us a competitive motorsport package encompassing a full marketing plan and the ability to get it done on the track."
The team has designated Magnussen and Edwards to co-drive the No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R, with Lally and Bunting slated for the No. 65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R. While the Brumos Porsche 250 marks the first Rolex Series GT class appearance of the 2005 season for Magnussen and Edwards, Lally and Bunting are currently tied for second in the GT point standings on the strength of a class victory in the Grand Prix of Miami in March and a total of four top-five finishes in six races.
"When Marc and I tested the GTO.Rs at Barber last Monday, we ran about 150 laps and they were problem-free," Edwards said. "We drove them hard and they pretty much ran like clockwork. Other than the usual suspension changes and fine tuning, there wasn't much the crew had to work on. Not that they mind--they say these cars are very easy to service."
In addition to a successful program in the Rolex Series GT class, TRG also co-owns a two-car team powered by Pontiac in the Rolex Series Daytona Prototype class. Krohn Racing/TRG swept the top-two positions in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen one race ago, with Sweden's Nic Jonsson and team co-owner Tracy Krohn co-driving the No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley to victory ahead of Christian Fittipaldi and Jorg Bergmeister in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley.
"I'm really looking forward to racing these (GTO.R) cars for the remainder of the season and beyond," Buckler said. "We're now fully committed to Pontiac in terms of our racing endeavors. Let it be known that we're still supporting our Porsche customers, but we're racing Pontiacs now. I think it's great that Pontiac will be producing more of these cars for teams to race in the Rolex Series. The cars are fantastic. It won't make it easy on us when they start racing, but it will attract more positive attention to an already-growing, competitive series."
The Grand American Road Racing Association, which operates and sanctions the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Grand-Am Cup Series, is the premier road racing organization in North America. 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.