DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 29, 1999) -- Veteran racer and academy award winning actor Paul Newman has officially entered the February 5-6 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Newman, who turns 75 in January, leads a team that will include both the oldest and ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 29, 1999) -- Veteran racer and academy award winning actor Paul Newman has officially entered the February 5-6 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Newman, who turns 75 in January, leads a team that will include both the oldest and youngest drivers for the 24-hour sports car race at Daytona International Speedway.
Newman will race for the Champion Gunner No. 75 Porsche 996 GT3R team along with 17-year-old Gunner Jeannette, Michael Lauer, 44, and Michael Brockman, 52. Brockman and Newman were teammates in the 1995 Rolex 24 At Daytona, when they captured the GT1 class victory and an overall third place finish in a Ford Mustang.
Gunner Jeannette may be the youngest driver in the world's premier sports car race, but he's no stranger to racing at Daytona. Gunner competed in November's Historic Sportscar Racing weekend at Daytona in a Porsche 935 and captured a first place finish in his class. The high school senior from California maintains a 4.0 grade point average while building his racing career. His dad, team manager Kevin Jeannette is excited about his team's entry and his son's opportunity to race alongside such veteran drivers.
"To come to Daytona with my 17-year old son and Paul Newman, I couldn't be more excited," said Jeannette. "Gunner and Paul have a real mentor-protege relationship. I'm also excited about the race's new sanctioning body, Grand Am. Grand Am welcomes the average sportsman with open arms and the France family has been doing this longer than anyone."
Jeannette, who restores racing Porsches, says that he, Brockman and Newman have talked for years about fielding a Porsche in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
"Paul, Brock and I decided if we ever got a car that would be cool to take to Daytona, we'd make it happen and get them on board. Paul is a real Porsche guy. He ran LeMans in a Porsche. Champion Porsche has a terrific opportunity to go to Daytona with these guys," he added.
The Champion Gunner team will join more than 50 other Rolex 24 At Daytona entries in testing January 6-8 at the Speedway. Cars will be on the track Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a night practice session from 6 to 8 p.m.; Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Grandstand access will be free and open to the public, with entry through DAYTONA USA, the "Ultimate Motorsports Attraction."
Tickets to the Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at www.daytonaintlspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway Ticket Office at (904) 253-7223.