Daytona Prototypes begine journey with Daytona qualifying

Daytona Prototypes begin journey with Rolex 24 qualifying. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 30, 2003) -- A new era in sports car racing began on Thursday as qualifying got underway for the Feb. 1-2 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Justin Bell posted the fastest...

Daytona Prototypes begin journey with Rolex 24 qualifying.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 30, 2003) -- A new era in sports car racing began on Thursday as qualifying got underway for the Feb. 1-2 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Justin Bell posted the fastest qualifying time of the day with a lap of 117.155 mph around the 3.56-mile road course to earn the pole in the GTS class. The first six starting spots on the Rolex 24 grid are reserved for the Daytona Prototype, the new premier class in the Rolex Sports Car Series. Bell, along with his father and three-time Rolex 24 champion Derek Bell, Simon Gregg and Kenny Wilden will start the Corvette in the seventh overall position in the twice-around-the-clock challenge. "To get a pole in your category at Daytona is what you want," Bell said.

Scott Maxwell will start the No. 88 Multimatic Ford Focus Daytona Prototype on the pole for the Rolex 24 with a lap of 115.969 mph. He'll share the driving duties on the sleek, stylish Daytona Prototype with David Brabham and David Empringham.

David Donohue put the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche FABCAR Daytona Prototype on the outside pole with a lap of 115.694 mph. On the driving team with Donohue will be Mike Borkowski, Chris Bye and Randy Pobst.

Some of the NASCAR competitors have secured excellent qualifying spots for this weekend's Rolex 24. The No. 48 Heritage Motorsports Corvette posted the second fastest GTS speed and will start eighth overall. Tommy Riggins qualified the car that will be also driven by NASCAR veteran Kevin Lepage, David Machavern, Scott Lagasse.

The No. 43 Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 R took the pole in the GT class and will start 13th overall. Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb qualified the car that will also be driven by Winston Cup star Kyle Petty, Leo Hindery and Peter Baron.

Petty is making his third straight Rolex 24 start with Orbit Racing and he believes he'll have a shot at earning a Rolex watch.

"I think this team, Orbit Racing, has grown by leaps and bounds to be able to come down here after two or three years and put a car fastest in class," said Petty, who drives the No. 45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge. "That's pretty impressive in a short period of time. Hopefully I can do that at Petty Enterprises in a short period of time."

The fastest qualifier in the SportsRacing Prototype II class is the No. 5 Team Seattle Nissan Lola with a lap of 109.634 qualified by Ross Bentley.

In Grand Am Cup qualifying, the No. 81 G&W Motorsports Porsche GT3 Grand Sport I entry with drivers Brent Martini and Cort Wagner earned the pole with a lap of 106.244.

The fastest qualifier in Grand Sport II, the No. 46 Michael Baughman Racing Firebird with drivers Michael Baughman, Brett Shanaman and Sam Shanaman, posted a lap 100.469 mph, good enough for the 13th overall starting position.

The team of Ian James and Troy Hanson in the No. 2 Team Lexus were the fastest qualifiers (96.657) in Sport Touring I while the No. 27 Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura Integra took the pole (88.129) in Sport Touring II

Tickets for the Rolex 24 are still available by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kyle Petty , David Brabham , Kevin Lepage , Randy Pobst , Justin Bell , Scott Maxwell , Ian James , Leo Hindery , Peter Baron , David Donohue , David Empringham , Simon Gregg , Derek Bell , Mike Borkowski , Chris Bye , Marc Lieb , Brent Martini , Troy Hanson , Michael Baughman , Brett Shanaman , David Machavern , Scott Lagasse Jr. , Cort Wagner