Rolex Roundup 2006-03-30

Rolex Roundup -- March 30, 2006 News, Notes & Quotes from the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 30, 2006) -- In a program featuring leaders of various sports car racing...

Rolex Roundup -- March 30, 2006
News, Notes & Quotes from the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 30, 2006) -- In a program featuring leaders of various sports car racing series, Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson will participate in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) 2006 World Congress on Monday, April 3 in Detroit.

Edmondson will speak to Grand American's position on the use of technology in both the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve and the Grand-Am Cup Series. Edmondson and the other series representatives will discuss the ways in which participating manufacturers utilize production-based products and the marketing exposure those manufacturers receive.

The program is titled "Play! Innovate! Fast! Can Racing Partnerships Change to Accelerate Innovation?" The panel discussion will be moderated by RACER Magazine Founder and Pfanner Communications President & CEO Paul Pfanner.


The hallmark of Rolex Series competition has long been close competition in the Daytona Prototype category. Over the past few years, Daytona Prototype races have featured many close finishes among a wide variety of engine and chassis combinations. In fact, each of the last two races has seen eight of the top 10 cars use combinations of different chassis and engines.

In an effort to bolster the competition even further, Grand American has prescribed new minimum weight limits, which will be effective when the Rolex Series makes its first visit to Long Beach next weekend for Round 4 of the 14-race series. Race cars using engines with a displacement smaller than 3.99 liters--such as the Porsche GT3 R Flat 6--must now weigh a minimum of 2,225 pounds, an increase of 75 pounds over the previous minimum.

Likewise, Daytona Prototypes using two-valve engines with a displacement of 4.51 to 5.0 liters--like the Pontiac 5.0-liter V8--have seen a minimum weight reduction of 25 pounds to 2,250. Additionally, the Porsche GT3R Flat 6 will now be subject to a 9,000 RPM limit.

In the GT class, a revision has been made to weight rules for Chevrolet Corvettes. Whereas all Corvettes were originally subject to a minimum weight of 2,700 pounds, Corvettes with little or no modification (Prep 1) will now have a minimum weight of 2,600 pounds. Corvettes with modified production or tube-frame chassis will still have a 2,700-pound minimum weight. The Corvette weight limits will be in place for the Rolex Series GT class Round 4 at Virginia International Raceway on the weekend of April 21-23.


When the Grand-Am Cup Series reconvenes for Round 2 of the 10-race championship at Virginia International Raceway, the entry list will feature 99 cars between the Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) classes. In GS, 54 cars have been entered, with 45 entries for the ST class.

Among the 54 GS entries, 20 are Porsches (996s, 997s and Carreras), including Tafel Racing's No. 175 Rembrandt Charms Porsche 996 with co-drivers Eric Lux and Charles Espenlaub, who won the season-opening Grand-Am Cup 200 at Daytona International Speedway in January. There are 17 current or previous generation Ford Mustangs, 10 BMW M3s, a handful of Pontiac GTOs, Nissan 350Zs, as well as one Cadillac CTS-V and one Pontiac Firebird.

In the ST category, there will be 13 Acuras (RSXs, TSXs and Integras), 11 Mazdas (10 RX-8s and one Mazda 6), nine BMWs (Z4s and 330s) and five Chevrolet Cobalts. There will also be three Mini Coopers in the field, as well as one Audi A4, one Dodge SRT4 one Nissan Sentra, and the No. 92 HART Honda Accord that John Schmitt and Dave Roush co-drove to the ST class victory in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January. The 99 entries are a Grand-Am Cup Series record.


As part of Tuesday's Toyota Pro/Celebrity Press Day at the historic Long Beach street circuit, Bill Margraf earned the distinction of being the first person to drive a Daytona Prototype on a street course. Despite rainy conditions and in front of a massive media turnout, Margraf did two demonstration runs in the Pickett Racing Pontiac Riley.

The car carried the livery of the No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley--which is co-driven by Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld--in deference to the fact that the car was previously used for Lowe's Fernandez Racing promotional activities. Last year, the car carried No. 31 and participated in several promotional activities in addition to selected races. Margraf, an accomplished driver in his own right, is assisting the Pickett team as it prepares to go Rolex Series racing later this year.

Owing to the wet course conditions, Margraf did not approach top speeds. The Grand American Challenge of Long Beach--the first-ever Daytona Prototype street race--is slated for Saturday, April 8.


A strong contingent of U.S. military will be on hand at next week's Grand American Challenge of Long Beach. Grand American will be hosting Lieutenant Colonel Raymond "Buzz" Toth and his son. Col. Toth is the squadron commander of the 411th Flight Test Squadron, which is home of the F-22 Raptor, the Air Force's newest operational fighter in its arsenal of global air supremacy aircraft.

Several teams, including Howard-Boss Motorsports, GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing, Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports and Brumos Racing have also committed to hosting guests from nearby Edwards Air Force Base. The guests are members of the United States Air Force Test Pilot School, which requires pilots to have bravery and flying skills of the highest order. The pilots also must have considerable scientific and engineering knowledge, critical and reasoned judgment and advanced managerial skills. The officers are intrigued by the auto racing world and its many parallels to flying and testing supersonic jets.


The Print Network (TPN), a Southern California-based design, print and distribution shop, has been servicing many aspects of Grand American Road Racing since the end of 2004. TPN is "the preferred print supplier" of both the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve and the Grand-Am Cup Series.

Heading into the Grand American Challenge of Long Beach, TPN looks to extend its services to everyone in the Grand American family. From the printing of media collateral to the shipment of hero cards, TPN does it all. Current TPN clients include Lowe's/Fernandez Racing, SunTrust Racing, Hoosier Racing Tire and Spirit of Daytona Racing.


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Charles Espenlaub , John Schmitt , Eric Lux , Alex Job
Teams HART , Alex Job Racing