Pruett, Papis to drive Chip Ganassi Racing entry in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (December 12, 2003) -- After winning five championships in the past eight years (four consecutive with CART Champ Car World Series, as...
Pruett, Papis to drive Chip Ganassi Racing entry in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (December 12, 2003) -- After winning five championships in the past eight years (four consecutive with CART Champ Car World Series, as well as the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series Championship) and contending for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series title, Chip Ganassi Racing will compete in the full Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004 with two of the world's most respected drivers, Scott Pruett and Max Papis.
Chip Ganassi Racing will field a Lexus-powered Riley MK XI Daytona Prototype under the CGR Grand Am banner in the 12-race series that opens January 31 with the 42nd Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
"We are very, very excited about participating in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and running the entire season in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series," said CGR Grand Am team owner Chip Ganassi. "We look forward to joining the intense competition we have seen in the Daytona Prototypes class, and plan on having a lot of fun in the series."
"Obviously, we are happy to have a team of the caliber of Chip Ganassi Racing in the series," said Roger Edmondson, President of the Grand American Road Racing Association. "Scott Pruett and Max Papis both have a great record in the Rolex 24, and we are excited to have them with us full time. The Daytona Prototypes momentum continues to build. It looks like our year will start with the most competitive Rolex 24 At Daytona in many, many years."
Pruett won his third career SCCA Trans-Am title in 2003, winning eight races and capturing eight poles in 11 races. The versatile driver was a former regular in both CART Champ Car, where he won the 1995 Michigan 500 and captured five pole positions, and in NASCAR Winston Cup, where his best finish is second at Watkins Glen International in 2003, driving for Target Ganassi Racing. He also won a pair of IMSA GTO titles, and won the 1991 International Race of Champions event at Daytona International Speedway.
Pruett has five Rolex 24 class victories to his credit, including the overall triumph in the 1994 event when he joined Paul Gentilozzi, Butch Leitzinger and Steve Millen in a Nissan 300ZXT. He also took honors in the premier GT class with Gentilozzi in a Jaguar in 2002, won GTP honors with a second place overall finish in a Jaguar XJR-12 in 1992, and twice with Roush Racing in 1987 (with Bill Elliott) and 1988. He also won his class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Corvette in 2001.
"Coming off a dominant season in the Trans-Am, and experiencing my best NASCAR Winston Cup Series in a Target Dodge for Chip Ganassi, I'm look forward to continuing my relationship with Ganassi Racing in the Rolex Series," said Pruett, a native Californian who now resides in McMinnville, Oregon. "Max and I have been friends for a long time, and I'm looking forward to driving with him this season."
Papis is a three-time winner in CART Champ Car competition. Papis burst upon the American motorsports scene with a scintillating second place in the 1996 Rolex 24 At Daytona, when a stellar come-from-behind charge earned him the nickname "Mad Max." Papis captured first place overall in America's greatest endurance event in 2002, co-driving a Judd Dallara for Doran-Lista Racing, and won the World Sports Car class in the event in 2000, driving for Dyson Racing.
A native of Italy, Papis, 33, now resides in Miami. He won CART Champ Car races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Portland and Laguna Seca while driving for Team Rahal. Papis raced in Formula 1 and Formula 3000 prior to competing in America.
"I am really excited for the great opportunity and great honor to join Chip Ganassi Racing in their new adventure," said Papis. "I had great success in Grand American and sports car racing in America. In particular, Daytona has been the 'business card' of my American career. This is definitely the right year to be in a Daytona Prototype, and I look forward to sharing a car with Scott Pruett. I think our combination will be a potent weapon, and I am hoping to help bring success to Chip Ganassi Racing."
"CGR Grand Am is another fantastic addition to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series," said Jim France, chief executive officer of the International Speedway Corporation. "Chip Ganassi won four consecutive championships in CART, won the Indianapolis 500 with Juan Pablo Montoya in 2001, and won the IRL IndyCar Series title in 2003 with Scott Dixon. He's also won five races in NASCAR Winston Cup Series competition. We're excited that Chip chose the Rolex Series for his first venture into sports car competition. Having Scott Pruett and Max Papis aboard full-time will add even more excitement for our fans to our already competitive racing."
Tickets are currently on sale for the 42nd Anniversary of the 2004 Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 29-February 1, and can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 386-253-RACE. For more information on the Rolex 25 At Daytona and the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, please visit www.grandamerican.com.