Road America Thursday pit notes

Thursday was a promoter's test day at Road America, with many of the Grand America Road Racing Association teams on hand for a full day of unofficial practice. Jon Field is unveiling a brand-new Lola this weekend. The car, still in basic black,...

Thursday was a promoter's test day at Road America, with many of the Grand America Road Racing Association teams on hand for a full day of unofficial practice.

Jon Field is unveiling a brand-new Lola this weekend. The car, still in basic black, is powered by a Judd V-10 engine. Lola factory driver Oliver Gavin will co-drive with Field (Rick Sutherland was entered). "We've had a little bit of teething problems so far today," said Gavin. "It's a brand-new car, and it takes a day like today to get it sorted out. We'll be ready for practice tomorrow." Clint Field, son of Jon, will be driving the No. 93 in the American Cities Racing League for Team Philadelphia.

With the race distance set at 500 miles -- longest on the Grand-Am schedule after the Rolex 24 At Daytona -- many of the Grand-Am teams are adding a third driver.

Tom Volk will have a new third driver, joining himself and Jeret Schroeder. Giorgio Vinella is the champion of the Italian Formula 3000 series, and currently is a test driver for the Minardi Formula One team. He will arrive at the track on Friday.The team also entered a fourth driver, Barry Waddell.

Larry Oberto and Ryan Hampton, seeking their sixth consecutive SportsRacer Lights victory, will be assisted by ex-Can-Am driver Paul Macey.

Hurley Haywood will co-drive the No. 74 Informix R&S Judd with George Robinson and Jack Baldwin.

Philip Creighton Motorsports was never able to determine the cause of their engine misfire on the No. 8 Ford Lola B2K10 which prevented them from competing in the Paul Revere 250. The team replaced the engine and most of the electrical system, and reported the car was running strong in Thursday's session. Scheduled Daytona starter Butch Leitzinger will return to join Scott Schubot, with Henry Camferdam the third driver this weekend.

New in the Grand-Am paddock is the No. 08 Team Banshee, which will be driven by Tony Ave and Ernie Lader. The car is powered by a Ford Cobra engine.

Irv Hoerr, winner at Phoenix and second at Miami driving for the Informix R&S Judd team, will help RVO Motorsports team in its Grand-Am debut. Co-drivers will be Werner Frank and Roger Schramm. Hoerr's brother, Scott Hoerr, will be in action this weekend, driving the No. 53 Dodge Viper for Team Amick/Grant-A-Wish in the Motorola Cup series. Team owner David Amick is prepared start the No. 50 Viper (with Joe Varde finishing), and then will relieve Hoerr.

Also new on the Grand-Am scene is Paul Gentilozzi's HomeLink Jaguar. Gentlozzi is the 1998 and 1999 Trans-Am champion, and is currently second in the points behind Brian Simo.

The four European SportsRacer Lights cars that competed in the Paul Revere 250 will be in action at Road America. The Redman Bright team will have regular drivers Peter Owen and Mark Smithson in the No. 68 Pilbeam MP84 Nissan. Chuck Goldsborough and Mark Bunting will be joined by Michael Lauer in the No 69 factory Pilbeam entry, which will have a new gearbox this weekend. "We are new to the scene over here," said Mike Pilbeam, builder of the European cars. "This team was put together a bit quickly. I have been very impressed with the Grand-Am. All of the officials and other teams have been brilliant in their cooperation. Raffaele Tampolli Engineering will field a pair of Alfa Romeo-powered Tampolli RTA99s. Nicolas Loven will be rejoined by B.J. Zacharias in the No. 51, which was the top Sports Racer World Cup finisher at Daytona. Bernardo Sa'Nogueira will be paired with Miami's Johan Hertzog in the No. 52. "The American cars are very fast," said Loven. "This track should be a little more even. We'd know a little better how we are against the American cars if they came over and ran a few races in Europe."

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Brian Simo , Tony Ave , Jon Field , Paul Gentilozzi , Jack Baldwin , Hurley Haywood , Oliver Gavin , Chuck Goldsborough , Clint Field , Ryan Hampton , Larry Oberto , Richard Sutherland , Henry Camferdam , David Amick , Joe Varde , Peter Owen , Roger Schramm , Barry Waddell