Daytona Prototypes ready for Birmingham event

Let the battle begin: Daytona Prototypes going fender to fender on track. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 8, 2003) -- If this past weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway is any indication, the continuing development of the Daytona Prototypes...

Let the battle begin:
Daytona Prototypes going fender to fender on track.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 8, 2003) -- If this past weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway is any indication, the continuing development of the Daytona Prototypes is bringing those cars closer and closer in performance level. With four cars representing three teams with three different chassis and engine combinations there was no shortage of variety. But when all was said and done, you could throw a blanket over the lot of them through most of the weekend's track activity.

Each car has its own style and shape. Each car was built with its own choices in suspension, gearbox, engine and other running gear. But despite those differences, on-track performance is as close as race goers have seen in years.

"It was our goal from the beginning to create a class that would breed close competition," Grand American President Roger Edmondson said. "I think the engine program that Dave Watson developed with Pro Motor Engineering is paying big dividends for us now. When you think you've got three and half-liter six-cylinder engines running against five-liter V8s and they are all running near the same lap times, it's pretty impressive."

Times recorded at the AJ's Fine Foods 250 at Phoenix add proof to Edmondson's observation. The three teams recorded a best lap within a quarter second of each other in Thursday's opening practice session. In qualifying there was barely more than a second separating the top three cars.

"I'm very surprised that this early in the game that the three different manufacturer's cars that were at Phoenix and are completely different in their approach to design and yet were grouped together in the race," noted Brumos Racing's David Donahue. " It's been a long time since I've had to race on a road course with cars like that. Going door to door on a road course is a ton of fun and real challenging. Hopefully, it's the hallmark of the series."

Flat tires and repairs separated the Daytona Prototypes in the latter stages of the race, but a look at the final results shows a .643 second gap between the fastest laps of the four Daytona Prototypes with the Chevy-powered Doran of Bell Motorsports quickest at 59.691 and the BMW-powered Picchio of G&W setting a best time of 1:00.334.

"I wasn't surprised. I think that was the goal Grand American had set out to accomplish," race winner Hurley Haywood stated. "I was pleased that was the case. I think as time goes on, the competition will get more and more fierce because the reliability will get better. We've done a lot of work with that which is why we are still around at the end of the race. I am looking forward to when it will be that close of competition for the entire race."

Race fans will get there next chance to look for that close race to the finish when the Grand American Road Racing Association comes to Barber Park in Birmingham, Alabama for the inaugural Barber 250 at The Park on May 16-18. Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased by calling 800-240-2300 or 205-327-RACE. Tickets are also available online at www.southtix.com.

More information about the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Hurley Haywood