Lexus enters series with Daytona debut

Lexus Enters 2004 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series With Daytona Debut TORRANCE, Calif. (Jan. 17, 2004) -- Lexus, the nation's No. 1 selling luxury brand, will make its debut in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series at North America's...

Lexus Enters 2004 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series With Daytona Debut

TORRANCE, Calif. (Jan. 17, 2004) -- Lexus, the nation's No. 1 selling luxury brand, will make its debut in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series at North America's most prestigious sports car race -- the Rolex 24 At Daytona -- Jan. 29 through Feb. 1. Already a top competitor in the Grand-Am Cup, Lexus will enter the Rolex Series as an engine supplier, initially powering four teams.

"It's an exciting new venture for Lexus to enter Grand American competition at the highest level and compete on the race track against the likes of Porsche and BMW," said Mike Wells, Lexus vice president of marketing. "The Rolex series has grown tremendously in the past year, and we're happy to be a part of its bright future. We look forward to our Daytona debut where some top-notch Lexus-powered teams are all capable of winning."

The lineup of Lexus-powered teams in 2004 will include Chip Ganassi Racing, with veteran sports car drivers Scott Pruett and Max Papis; Doran-Lista Racing, with Didier Theys and Fredy Lienhard; Cegwa Sport and Michael Shank Racing.

New to the Grand American circuit, the Ganassi team utilized the Toyota Indy V8 engine to earn the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series championship last year with Scott Dixon. The Cegwa and Doran-Lista teams will be competing for the second year in the series, while Michael Shank Racing will be making its Grand American debut in 2004 after successful years in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Series.

The Daytona Prototype Lexus V8 power plant is a 4.35-liter race-modified version of the production engine utilized in the LS, SC, and GS models. The 32-valve, DOHC, fuel-injected power plant features an aluminum block and cylinder heads while producing 500 horsepower at 8,000 rpm.

The Daytona Prototype Lexus V8 engines are built and developed by Toyota Racing Development (TRD), U.S.A. in its 45,000-square-foot Tustin, Calif., facility. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2004, TRD-prepared race engines have taken Toyota-powered teams to championships in the Indy Racing League, CART, IMSA, NASCAR Good's Dash, Import Drag Racing and off-road truck racing in the CORR, SCORE and MTEG Series.

Lexus is no stranger to Grand American competition. Team Lexus, with owner/driver Chuck Goldsborough, has been a consistent front-runner in the Grand-Am Cup ST class for the past three years. The team took the driver's title in 2002 and has re-signed for the 2004 season and beyond.

Lexus is the number-one selling luxury brand in the U.S. for four consecutive years in a row.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Didier Theys , Max Papis , Scott Dixon , Scott Pruett , Fredy Lienhard , Chuck Goldsborough , Chip Ganassi , Michael Shank , Mike Wells
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing