Marino Franchitti Joins Chip Ganassi Racing to contest Daytona 24 Hours The three-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winning team, Chip Ganassi Racing Felix Sabates, are again contesting the prestigious Rolex 24 at Daytona and Marino Franchitti has ...
Marino Franchitti Joins Chip Ganassi Racing to contest Daytona 24 Hours
The three-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winning team, Chip Ganassi Racing Felix Sabates, are again contesting the prestigious Rolex 24 at Daytona and Marino Franchitti has been selected to join the driver line-up.
CGRFS have entered two BMW Riley Daytona Prototype cars for the 49th running of the event. Marino will share the #01 car with three top line co-drivers, Scott Pruett, who holds a record eight Rolex 24 wins (1987/88, 1992/93/94, 2002/07/08), Memo Rojas, the first Mexican to win a major championship when partnering Pruett he took the 2008 Grand-Am title and Justin Wilson, the current IZOD IndyCar driver.
The second car, #02 CGRFS BMW Riley, will be driven by the two Team Target IndyCar pilots, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, and the two Team Target NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, Juan Pablo Montoya and James McMurray.
Chip Ganassi, team owner, commented "We have been fortunate to have experienced a lot of success in the Grand-Am series over the last six years. That success stems from a number of factors like having great drivers behind the wheel, taking great equipment to the track, having great people in the shop and finding great partners. I am pleased to say that once again we will have all of that".
This year, with the departure of Lexus from the Grand-Am Series, the team switched to BMW power. The V8 powerplants are built by California based engine tuner Dinan which has won Grand-Am events in the past.
The Rolex 24 Hours will be run at the end of this month, 30/31st January, but the last three days have been dedicated to testing for the teams entered for the 24 Hour event. Eight timed sessions were run during official testing at the Daytona International Speedway in the "Roar before the Rolex 24". However, very cold conditions prevailed for all three days with snow actually falling yesterday resulting in several small snowmen springing up around the circuit!
Despite the bad weather, both #01 and #02 CGRFS BMW Rileys were able to take to the track and complete some valuable running time with both cars finishing in the top 8 in all but one session. The #01 car finishing at the top of the times in the third session bodes well for the race.
After the three days Marino commented: "It was a very successful test for the Telmex/Target Chip Ganassi racing team and having not driven since October, it was fun to get back behind the wheel. Even though we had very un-Florida like weather we made
the best of the track time we had to get through our programme and that should stand us in good stead come the race. After working closely with the team and my team mates, it's easy to see why this team has won so many Rolex 24hrs and hopefully the 01 or 02 car can add to the tally in a couple of weeks."