DragonSpeed Heading for Daytona via Maranello 8 December 2010 -- For one day in November, the DragonSpeed race shop in downtown Santa Monica, California, was home to both Porsche 997 GT3 and Ferrari F430 Challenge racers. The next day, the...
DragonSpeed Heading for Daytona via Maranello
8 December 2010 -- For one day in November, the DragonSpeed race shop in downtown Santa Monica, California, was home to both Porsche 997 GT3 and Ferrari F430 Challenge racers. The next day, the Porsche was sold and the Ferrari took center stage in the team's plans to contest the 2011 Pirelli Drivers Cup. But it wasn't long before DragonSpeed decided to run its new mount in the Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance race before turning its attention to the west coast series for the rest of the season.
For the 49th running of the Florida classic -- America's counterpart to the famed Le Mans 24 Hours -- DragonSpeed team principal Elton Julian has assembled an outstanding crew from members of Green Earth Team Gunnar's race-winning 2010 LMPC campaign. Veteran race engineer Mark Schomann is supported by crew chief Adam Wareing, data analyst Eddie Huerta, and mechanic Paul Frederick. The F430 will be converted to full Grand-Am GT specification for the Roar Before the 24 official test days on 7-9 January, with Jaime Trimble of Brembo specialists Race Technologies among a host of suppliers assisting the project's progress.
Drivers confirmed in the Ferrari for the test include Cort Wagner, Dr Fred Poordad, and Nick Jones. Former Grand-Am and ALMS GT champion Wagner will anchor the DragonSpeed driving squad in his tenth Rolex 24 start. Poordad, Chief of Hepatology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, is aiming for his first Daytona start after a DNS last January, while Jones is back with DragonSpeed after impressing in a limited Patr0x00f3n GT3 Challenge program in 2010.
Two more seats remain open at DragonSpeed for the Daytona test days and race, with the team's final driver and sponsor lineup to be announced immediately following the Roar Before the 24. DragonSpeed partner and Pirelli Cup pilot Pete Aronson will test the F430 at Palm Beach International Raceway before the team heads back to Daytona for the race on 27-30 January.
"All of us at DragonSpeed are proud to be taking on the challenge of Daytona to kick off our fourth year as a team," said Julian. "The F430 is a great car for the Rolex 24 with the right strategy, and with Mark Schomann calling the shots for us, I have a lot of confidence in our approach to the race. On a personal note, I'm thrilled to be going back to Daytona, where I made my sportscar racing debut in 1995, also with a Ferrari as it happens. We finished second in class back then with a 333SP prototype, and if we get anywhere near that result in GT this time, I'll be over the moon."