Angelelli, Brian Frisselle Seek Montreal 200 'Hat Trick' Defending Montreal 200 winners Max Angelelli (No. 10 SunTrust Ford/Riley) and Brian Frisselle (No. 6 The Inn on Norris Lake's Ford Dallara) return to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve driving ...
Angelelli, Brian Frisselle Seek Montreal 200 'Hat Trick'
Defending Montreal 200 winners Max Angelelli (No. 10 SunTrust Ford/Riley) and Brian Frisselle (No. 6 The Inn on Norris Lake's Ford Dallara) return to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve driving different cars with different co-drivers, but both look to score a GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype hat trick at the famed Canadian road circuit.
Angelelli and Frisselle won the 2009 event in with SunTrust Racing. Angelelli returns in that car, joined by Ricky Taylor; the pair are third in the DP points standings with one win and nine top 10s, and a chance still to take the title. Angelelli also won the race in 2007 with Jan Magnussen.
The team's gamble to stay out on rain tires paid off last year. In an event that featured inclement weather at times, it became a guessing game as to race on slicks or rain tires. Midway through the race, several teams - albeit the No. 10 team - switched to slicks on a rapidly drying track, but were forced back in when the skies opened. The end result - a minute-plus victory.
Frisselle and Vancouver, B.C., driver Michael Valiante have endured an up-and-down 2010 , but Montreal could change that. Frisselle has won back-to-back Montreal races, including 2008, when co-driver Mark Wilkins (No. 61 Pacific Mobile/BioSign Ford/Riley) came from fourth to first on the final lap to give himself, Frisselle and Canadian-based AIM Autosport, a first-time victory. In fact, the 0.064-second margin of victory over Antonio Garcia (No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Porsche/Coyote) was the closest in Rolex Series history.
Pruett, Rojas Look To Secure Title, Give Ganassi Record 8th Victory
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas (No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley) could wrap up their second championship in three seasons at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and add several milestones as well.
To clinch the title, the pair need only to leave the Canadian facility with a 35-point advantage to clinch the championship. They lead Ryan Dalziel (No. 8 Corsa Car Care BMW/Riley) by 26 points (302-276) and Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor by 30 (302-272).
An eighth victory this weekend would break a record they tied earlier this month at Watkins Glen International. Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty (No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley) in 2007 won seven races en route to the DP title. Among Pruett and Rojas's seven wins were a pair of three-race winning streaks, also tying a series record.
Pruett and Rojas can match another milestone with their 10th podium of the season. Angelelli and Wayne Taylor accomplished that in 2005, en route to the DP title.
The Ganassi team has led nine races, with Pruett pacing nine races for 486 laps and Rojas eight races for 139 circuits. The No. 01 has led 687 of the 1,846 laps completed this season. The lone blemish on the team's record was a last-place finish, 13th, at Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day, when Rojas was involved in an incident in the first turn on the opening lap.
Montreal Native Tremblay Enjoying Success Wearing Many Hats In 2010 GT Competition
Sylvain Tremblay (No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8) has been a man wearing many hats - and a helmet - this season, and the Montreal native is enjoying success with all of them.
When he puts on his helmet and straps into the No. 70, he races for the victory. And it shows. Tremblay is currently second in the Rolex Series GT championship, trailing Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal (No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8) by four points (290-286). Tremblay and regular co-driver Jonathan Bomarito have two victories this season, including the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Wearing his team owner hat, his SpeedSource squad is dominating the Rolex Series GT championship. Assentato and Segal's No. 69 leads Tremblay and Bomarito's No. 70 by four points (290-286). A third car, co-piloted by Adam Christodoulou and John Edwards (No. 68 MazdaSpeed Mazda RX-8), sits fifth with 244 points, despite missing the season opener.
As a car builder, Tremblay oversees the preparation of all eight Mazda RX-8s that compete fulltime in the Rolex Series. Four of the cars have won six races this season, helping Mazda to a healthy 57-point lead (334-277) over Chevrolet in the GT manufacturer point standings.
James Gue and Leh Keen (No. 41 Global Diving Solutions Mazda RX-8) scored the first victory for a SpeedSource "customer car" - also the first triumph for Dempsey Racing. Team Sahlen and Racers Edge Motorsports also compete with SpeedSource-prepared Mazdas.
Liddell, Davis Seek 3rd Straight For Stevenson, 1st For Camaro
Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell (No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Camaro) will be looking for a familiar accomplishment with new equipment in Saturday's Montreal 200.
The pair are looking for their third straight victory at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, after wheeling a Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R to victory the past two seasons. Now, Montreal would be the perfect location for the pair to score the first victory for the Chevrolet Camaro in Rolex Series GT competition.
"The entire Stevenson team has worked real hard all year to develop this car," Davis said. "We've made a lot of progress, and we're excited to be going back to Montreal, where we've had victories the last two years. We're looking forward to doing our best, because we feel we can get that car up to the top of the podium by the end of the season."
Davis and Liddell have five top-five finishes this season and are sixth in the GT standings. Their best finishes were second in the Grand Prix of Miami and third in the Crown Royal 200 at Daytona International Speedway.
Montreal Home To Close Finishes
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has been the home to some of the closest finishes in the history of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, and with seven of the 10 races this season sporting margins of victory under five seconds, one should expect another close on Saturday.
The 2007 race came down to a fight between eventual winner Max Angelelli (No. 10 SunTrust Ford/Dallara) and Marc Goossens, who caught Angelelli in the closing laps but could not get by, instead settling for second place, only 0.461 seconds behind after two-and-a-half hours.
In 2008, Canadian Mark Wilkins (No. 61 Pacific Mobile/BioSign Ford/Riley) jumped from third to first in the final 100 yards of the race to beat Antonio Garcia (No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Porsche/Coyote) by 0.064 seconds, the closest finish in series history.
DP Modifications Planned For 2011, Turbos Possible In 2012; Dempsey To Return In Montreal 200
Looking to the future, GRAND-AM Road Racing is looking at modifications to its premier Daytona Prototype class for the 2011 season, leading to a potential redesign of the car for 2012.
Changes being considered for 2011 competition include use of a spec carbon clutch; a paddle shift option for teams using Pro-Am drivers; and changes to the rear wing that may involve new endplates plus the addition of a trailing-edge flap.
The DP debuted as the premier class of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at the 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Specifications remained relatively unchanged through the first five seasons, with chassis manufacturers allowed to submit updates or transfer their licenses for 2008 competition. Currently, four chassis manufacturers are active in DP competition: Riley, Dallara, Lola and Coyote.
The next major changes to the DP platform will be in 2012. Proposed modifications include narrowing and lowering the driver compartment; changes to the car's splitter/front underwing while enhancing the front crush structure; and the introduction of OEM-branded bodies along with the constructor-branded cars.
GRAND-AM is also studying engine packages with the possible introduction of turbocharged competition beginning in 2012 or '13.
It is expected that the current generation of Daytona Prototypes will be eligible to compete alongside the new bodies in 2012 and beyond. Efforts will be made to equate the performance levels, although priority will be given to the new bodies to enhance the pace of transition and to add value to new OEM investment.
The goal for the new DP cars is to maintain top speeds in racing conditions at or near 200 mph. To control peak speed at Daytona, minimum limits may be placed on wing angle and other means may be used to achieve that goal.
Dempsey Expects Montreal Return: Patrick Dempsey (No. 40 Visit Florida Mazda RX-8) is expected to return to Rolex Series competition at Montreal after a busy summer with a variety of film projects have kept him away from races. Dempsey last raced in April at Virginia International Raceway after opening the season with three straight top-10 finishes co-driving with Joe Foster. Since then, Charles Espenlaub has filled in, finishing a best of sixth at Mid-Ohio. Dempsey Racing scored its first Rolex Series victory in the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen International, with James Gue and Leh Keen (No. 41 Global Diving Solutions Mazda RX-8) winning. Dempsey scored his best finish of 2008 at Montreal, ninth place.
Said Set For Double Duty: Boris Said (No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette) will be doing double duty this weekend. In addition to his regular Rolex Series ride with Marsh Motorsports, the popular driver will compete in Sunday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race, driving the No. 11 AccuDoc Toyota.
GS Motorsports Makes Rolex Debut: Andrew Danyliw of Toronto and Jamie Holtom of Ottawa (No. 27 GS Motorsports Corvette) will give GS Motorsports an all-Canadian lineup.
The team regularly competes in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, fielding a Chevrolet Cobalt in the Street Tuner class. GS Motorsports will be the only Canadian team in the Rolex Series GT class this weekend; AIM Autosport is the only Canadian DP team entered.
Utah 250 To Wrap Up 2010 Rolex Series Season
Following the Montreal 200, only one race remains on the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Series schedule - the Utah 250 on Saturday, Sept. 11 at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City.
The two-hour, 45-minute race takes the green flag at noon (MT), and will be televised live on SPEED and broadcast live on MRN.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will follow with its concluding race of the 2010 campaign at 4:45 p.m. MT. Practice and qualifying for both events will be held on Friday, Sept. 10. The Salt Lake City 200 will be a two-hour race.
This will be the fifth visit for the Rolex Series at the venue, and the fourth time the event also served as the season finale.
While the 4.486-mile, 24-turn road course was used in the past, this will mark the first Rolex Series race on the 3.048-mile outer course.
Three teams scored their first DP victory at Miller - the Michael Shank Racing's No. 60 Lexus/Riley and No. 6 Ford/Riley, and the Riley-Matthews Motorsports No. 91 Pontiac/Riley.
Only one time have the race winners gone on to win the DP championship. Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty (No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley) won the title last season after a dominating victory at Miller.
After the race, Rolex Series competitors will travel to Las Vegas for the Rolex Champions Banquet presented by SunTrust on Monday, Sept. 13, at the Aria Resort and Casino.
Recognition for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge champions will be on Saturday, Oct. 9, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.