Fresh from a class victory and an overall podium finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Rand Racing is stepping up its 2002 program. The team will field two cars in the SportsRacing Prototype II (SRPII) class of the Rolex Sports Car Series sanctioned...
Fresh from a class victory and an overall podium finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Rand Racing is stepping up its 2002 program. The team will field two cars in the SportsRacing Prototype II (SRPII) class of the Rolex Sports Car Series sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing Association, and it will enter selected races in the Le Mans Prototype 675 (LMP675) class of the American Le Mans Series.
Niclas Jönsson of Sweden will join the team as co-driver with team owner Bill Rand of Plano, Tex., in the No. 7 Nissan-powered Rand Racing Lola. Anthony Lazzaro of Acworth, Ga., and Terry Borcheller of Phoenix will continue in the No. 8 Lola, and German Ralf Kelleners will drive in selected races. Both cars will be prepared by Risi Competizione.
The new Rand Racing team is 2-for-2 in sports-car racing starts to date, having won the SRPII class in both the Rolex Series 2001 finale and the 2002 season-opener, the 24-hour race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
"Nic will be a great addition to our team," Rand said. "He is a good person and a championship-caliber driver. Adding him to our second car, together with our drivers we had at Daytona, makes Rand Racing and Risi the most formidable SRPII team to compete yet. How can you argue with names like Lazzaro, Borcheller, Kelleners and now Jönsson?"
Jönsson will get some seat time during practice for the March 2 Rolex Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He will make his first start with the team at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on March 23.
"I'm delighted to be offered the opportunity to race in such a professional and competitive program with Rand Racing and Risi Competizione," he said. "This is definitely one of the most up-and-coming teams. I don't think I could have asked for anything better. It's going to be a blast to race with Bill Rand, Anthony Lazzaro, Terry Borcheller and Ralf Kelleners, who are some of the best drivers in the business. I'm really looking forward to the season."
Jönsson has raced and tested prototype sports cars since 1992, in addition to his career in open-wheel Formula and Indy cars. He said he enjoyed driving a Grand Touring (GT) car for the past two seasons, but he's ready to get back behind the wheel of a prototype car.
"Everybody in racing wants to drive the big cars and my background is in open cars, so I'm excited to be back in a prototype again," he said. "That's where the toughest, closest and most competitive racing is today."
Rand welcomes the challenge. "I have very high goals for this team," he explained. "Our first two races are just the beginning. We will go after a driver championship along with a team championship. Those are two very difficult things to accomplish, but if we continue to work together as a team, I believe they are both obtainable."