2004 Finish Shows 2005 Promise FONTANA, CA (November 1): The SFoW Maserati team ended the 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series with one of their strongest performances to date. in the Lexus Grand American 400K at the California Speedway drivers ...
2004 Finish Shows 2005 Promise
FONTANA, CA (November 1): The SFoW Maserati team ended the 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series with one of their strongest performances to date. in the Lexus Grand American 400K at the California Speedway drivers Emil Assentato and Steve Earle kept their #33 Maserati Trofeo Light in podium contention for the entire race, but a fuel stop with only two laps left dropped them to fourth in GT at the end.
"All we needed was one full-course yellow in the last half of the race and we would have been OK," Earle commented after the race. "As it came down to the end I was really taking it easy and short-shifting to save fuel, but we had no choice finally but to stop for a splash. That let the Porsche get past us, and while we were quicker there just wasn't enough time left. Still, Emil drove a great stint, probably one of the best he's done, and I think we served notice we'll be competitive next year."
Assentato agreed with Earle. "I dropped back a bit at the start when a couple of cars spun, but I was able to get back up behind the BMWs. We can't stay with them yet, but we're getting there. I'm really impressed with how far the Maserati has come this year."
Team Manager Glenn Marquis looked back at the 2004 season. "We started at Daytona with an almost stock Maserati. The drivetrain was right out of the street Maserati Coupe, completely unchanged. The car showed a lot of potential, but we talked to GrandAm about their 2005 plans, and spend the year developing the car for the future. As we finished the year we have a really good race car. It's got a good balance of power and handling, and is very, very close to what we'll be racing next year. It was tough going from two consecutive championships to a development year, but the crew put in a lot of work, and it shows. Emil and Steve showed what they can do, and our other drivers -- Joao Barbosa, Fabrizio de Simone, and Nick Longhi -- were an important part of our success as well."
It was a disappointing day for the second SFoW entry. The #34 Maserati Trofeo Light GT of Bob Segal and Kurt Buchwald completed the reconnaissance lap, but Segal realized the shift mechanism was failing. He took the Maserati to the garage rather than taking the green flag. "This was really disappointing," Segal said. "Kurt and I were comfortable with the car, and expected a good finish. As soon as I went out for the recon lap I knew we had problems, though, and there was no point in even starting. There's just not much more to say."
Rusty West and Bob Faieta also closed out a chapter in SFoW history, racing the team's 2003 GT Championship-winning Ferrari 360 GT to 9th in the GT class. With the change in GrandAm rules for the 2005 GT class, this is likely the last appearance of the Ferrari 360 GT in the series.
One off-track highlight of the weekend was a banquet for the team hosted by the California Chapter of The Maserati Club, allowing the drivers and crew to meet Maserati owners and enthusiasts. Members of the club also attended the race to offer support to the SFoW entries.
Primary sponsorship for the SFoW Maserati team comes from Maserati of Washington. Additional support for the #33 Maserati is provided by Simply Wireless, Inc., one of the nation's premiere wireless retailers; TubiStyle, the leading after-market supplier of exhaust systems for exotic cars; Putnam Leasing, one of the oldest specialty vehicle leasing companies in the United States; Tradition, a world leader in the brokerage of financial and non-financial products; and J.L. Earle, M.D., P.A. Orthopaedic Surgery. The #34 Maserati has additional sponsorship from Algar Maserati, the authorized Ferrari and Maserati dealer for the Philadelphia area, Putnam Leasing. The #35 Ferrari 360 GT was sponsored by Market Scan, a leading supplier of financial software to the automotive industry..