Mexico City: SunTrust Racing preview

Defending SunTrust Champions Go for the Gold in Mexico Mexico City, Mexico (February 27, 2006) -- Coming back to Mexico City to race in Round Two of the 14-race Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will be a happy experience for the No. 10...

Defending SunTrust Champions Go for the Gold in Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico (February 27, 2006) -- Coming back to Mexico City to race in Round Two of the 14-race Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will be a happy experience for the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team. Memories of clinching the 2005 Daytona Prototype Drivers and Team Championships here last November still lingers.

"Obviously, I have only great memories of Mexico," said Max "The Ax" Angelelli, 2005 Co-Driver Champion, along with car owner/driver Wayne Taylor. "Last year we won the championship and went away with the title in our pocket. I still have that good feeling from Mexico."

The SunTrust Pontiac Riley team finished second last November in a tight race on the 2.786-mile, 17-turn Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City. The SunTrust car only had to complete one lap to clinch the 2005 Grand American Daytona Prototype Team Championship and each driver a single lap to take the Driver's Championship.

This year the race was bumped up to the second of the season and will take place on the 2.5-mile configuration to accommodate the NASCAR Busch race the same weekend.

"It's exciting to go to this track in more of its original configuration," said Bill Riley, owner of Riley Technologies who spearheads the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley effort. "The last corner, coming out of the straightaway, is really challenging. It is a big 180 degree turn and really fast."

"I like the track," added the Italian Angelelli. "I've never been on the NASCAR layout, but most of it is what we used last year and I know I liked that. I'm going there because I want to win the race. We need to win in order to keep the championship fight open. I am going to Mexico with that goal."

After a disappointing Rolex 24 At Daytona finish, where the team had to withdraw after four hours, following a massive collision with a GT car, the SunTrust team is determined to have a better result in Mexico. After many, many man-hours to rebuild the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Mk.XI, it is basically a new car.

"We started off doing a standard repair, but as we got into it further and further, we found more damage. There wasn't much left of the original car," added Riley, whose shop is based in Indianapolis, Indiana. "We already had a new car going into Daytona with all the latest upgrades and now we have another new car for Mexico."

With the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season only recently begun, the championship chase has a long way to go. Going back to Mexico to race in front of the thousands of enthusiastic fans is part of the highlight of racing at the historic circuit.

"I think going back this time, we will not be under the pressure we were last fall. We're looking forward to it and having some fun," said Wayne Taylor of Altamonte Springs, Florida. "We really enjoy the fans. They are real sports car enthusiasts and so many good fans and good crowds make it exciting."

"I really like the Mexican fans," added Max "The Ax" Angelelli, from Bologna, Italy and Monte Carlo, Monaco. "They show how much they love motorsports. I feel their respect is great and I am happy to try to make it another successful event in Mexico. I also like the city because it is similar to Italy. For me, it is like doing a race somewhere in Italy, so I feel at home."

-str

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Wayne Taylor