Originally-From: "Patrick Murphy" <email@example.com> DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 16, 2000) - A total of 28 cars showed up for last week's test session at Daytona International Speedway from November 8 through 10 in preparation for the...
Originally-From: "Patrick Murphy" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 16, 2000) - A total of 28 cars showed up for last week's test session at Daytona International Speedway from November 8 through 10 in preparation for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2001. You can find the full test results online at www.grand-am.com including daily a.m. and p.m. test session results and daily notes. Grand-Am also announced some new class names at the tests.
NEW CLASS NAMES
Grand-Am has renamed some of its classes to make it easier to compare Grand-Am classes to those on the world stage. Here is a list of the names and changes. <pre> 2000 Class Name 2001 Class Name
Sportsracer (SR) Sports Racing Prototypes (SRP)
Sportsracer II (SRII) Sports Racing Prototypes II (SRPII)
American GT (AGT) American GT (AGT)
An open test session was held at Daytona International Speedway from November 8 through November 10. With a field of 80 cars expected for the Rolex 24 At Daytona on February 3-4, not everybody showed up for the November test. However, those that did got a head start in preparation for the biggest sports car race in America. With another test scheduled for January 4-6, every car still has a chance to test its equipment on the track that will matter before the big race.
The #37 Banana Joe's Lola Judd paced the field throughout the November session. The Intersport Racing car carded a best lap time of 1:41.707 at 126.009 mph. That puts them in the hunt for pole position in February.
While the test went well for Banana Joe's, it did not go so well for the #74 Robinson Racing Riley & Scott Judd. Right after testing started on Wednesday, the car caught fire and melted enough stuff to cause the team to pack it up.
We talked with driver Jack Baldwin and he had this to say: "We had a problem this morning. We don't know what it was. We don't think it was a fuel leak. Maybe the fuel cell. We don't know. I'm OK, but we're through for this week. We'll try to get down to Homestead and get ready for the next test in January."
Another SRP car that showed up for the test was the #38 Lola Porsche. Making its debut with Grand-Am, the team was there to find a baseline for February's race. It came loaded for bear with a list of drivers that included multitime Rolex winners Bob Wollek and Hurley Haywood. Team Manager Mike Peters let us know how things went. "The session has gone pretty well for us. This is the first time the car has been to this track, so we're sorting things out." The #38 car posted its quickest lap on Friday at 1:44.936 with an average speed of 122.132 mph.
The test gave some other teams a chance to shake down new equipment. There were several Porsche GT1 cars. The car is new to the GTS class. Bytsek Motorsports brought a pair from Canada. Gunnar Racing also brought one. Both teams brought heavyweight drivers to the test.
Scott Goodyear was among the drivers testing with the #00 Bytsek team. The #76 of Gunnar Racing included a record-setting pair of drivers from last year's Rolex. Gunnar Jeannette and Paul Newman were the youngest and oldest drivers in last year's race. They will not share that honor in 2001. Intersport Racing will field 17-year-old Clint Field in its #28 car, making him the youngest driver anticipated for next year's field.
Gunnar Racing had its problem early on. On Wednesday, the team's GT1 was involved in an accident on track with Wayne Jackson behind the wheel. "I had just gone around another car (#52 BMW M3) when he started to lose it," Jackson explained. "He overcorrected and turned right into me. I got t-boned. It wasn't really his fault. That happens in racing." The Gunnar Racing Porsche had some of its right side bodywork ripped off, but was able to get back on the track Thursday.
The sure thing is that the GT1s will add extra excitement for race fans in the GTS class. Grand-Am used the test to evaluate the performance of the cars in relation to other cars in the class. The final rules regarding GT1 will tell the story on what was decided. Check out those final rules on the Grand-Am website later this week.
The 28 cars participating in the test session represented all five of the Grand-Am classes. - Eight in SRP, three in SRPII, five from GTS, eleven GT cars and one from American GT.
Among the GT cars was a very unique entry from #3 Tambourine Racing - a Mazda Miata fitted with a rotary engine. Roger Mandeville explained what they have planned. "It's just got the small rotary in it now and a five-speed transmission. We're just out here this week to get some time on the track for our drivers. We'll go back and put in a bigger motor and a six-speed gearbox. We'll change the rearend. Then we'll come back for the January test and see what we have."
If the November test is any indication, the field for the 39th Rolex 24 At Daytona is going to include hotly contested battles in all five classes. To get more information on tickets for the Rolex, log on to www.daytonaintlspeedway.com or call the Speedway ticket office at (904) 253-RACE (7223).