Long Beach: SunTrust Racing preview

SunTrust Team Spices It Up For Inaugural Long Beach Race Long Beach, California (April 4, 2006) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team is mixing things up for Round Four of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. For the inaugural...

SunTrust Team Spices It Up For Inaugural Long Beach Race

Long Beach, California (April 4, 2006) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team is mixing things up for Round Four of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. For the inaugural Grand American Daytona Prototype race at the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix weekend, pilots of the SunTrust car will be Max "The Ax" Angelelli and guest driver Jan Magnussen. SunTrust Pontiac Riley car owner/driver Wayne Taylor will get out the driver's seat and move to the perch over pit lane.

"You are always working to try and make everything better and faster in racing," said Taylor, who has won three sports car championships. "Bringing Jan on board for Long Beach will be a good addition. Jan is extremely fast and he and Max have driven together before at Le Mans. I think it will be a really good combination for this race."

"Jan is a great driver," said Bill Riley, who spearheads the racing efforts of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley. "I've worked with him before. He and Max should be a pretty lethal combination."

"I am really looking forward to this," said the 33-year-old Dane Jan Magnussen. "With Max, it will be a really strong team. It is hard to predict any race, especially with this being so new to Grand American. I have a feeling though that we are going to be strong. We won't get much track time, which is particularly a minus to me, but I think we'll do great."

This weekend's Long Beach race is the first for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series on the 1.968-mile street circuit, and the first Daytona Prototype class street race in the sanctioning body's six-year history.

"I am sure the race will be great," said Max "The Ax" Angelelli, who is racing double-duty between the Texas IROC race and Long Beach this weekend. "Grand American Daytona Prototypes always put together a great show for the fans. There is no doubt that we'll have a great race and that it will be very exciting. Knowing there is no chance for mistakes on this circuit, it will be even better."

"Long Beach has always been a very big event in racing," said Taylor who was born in South Africa and now calls Altamonte Spring, Florida his home. "I think it is fantastic that we have been asked to come race here. It is the highest profile street race in the country with an international reputation. As the first street race, it's going to be new and pretty exciting. The most difficult thing will be finding places to pass cars. I think it will be a very good event."

"Long Beach has always been one of the main road races in America and to have Daytona Prototypes race there for the first time is really special," added Riley. "It is the first street race for these cars and that will be interesting. Sometimes street races are really smooth and sometimes really rough. One way or another, I think this one could be a rough one with driver contact, spinning people out, drivers looking for places to pass. It is going to be tough for drivers to keep cool and be patient."

'"It is a great venue," added Angelelli, who previously teamed with Magnussen in 1999 in a Panoz for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. "I have never been to Long Beach. I always heard about the race and knew Alex Zanardi had some enthusiastic races there with the Ganassi team. People compare Long Beach to Monte Carlo. I have wanted a chance to race at Long Beach so I can say that I have raced at the most important street races in the world. I'm pretty excited to go there."

Max "The Ax" has a whirlwind schedule this week as he tests the IROC race cars at the Texas Motor Speedway on Monday and Tuesday before flying out to Long Beach on Wednesday and Thursday to walk the track and get a feel for the new circuit, practice pit stops with guest teammate Jan Magnussen and brief with the SunTrust team. Angelelli will fly back to Fort Worth, Texas for Round Two of the four-race IROC Series held at 6:00 p.m. CDT on Friday evening, April 7. Promptly after the IROC race, Angelelli will fly back to California to be ready for the 90-minute Grand American DP race on Saturday, April 8 at 4:00 p.m. PDT.

-suntrustracing.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Alex Zanardi , Wayne Taylor