GRAND-AM CONTINENTAL TIRE CHALLENGE HEADS TO ROAR BEFORE THE 24 AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY Three-day test features former champions, veterans and new cars DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 6, 2010) - Nearly 60 cars and more than a hundred drivers...
GRAND-AM CONTINENTAL TIRE CHALLENGE HEADS TO ROAR BEFORE THE 24 AT
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Three-day test features former champions, veterans and new cars
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 6, 2010) - Nearly 60 cars and more than a hundred drivers between the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) classes will participate in the three-day Roar Before The 24 this Friday through Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.
The event will help competitors prepare for the first of 10 rounds during the 2010 season, the Fresh From Florida 200 at the 3.56-mile, 12-turn track.
Reigning GS champion Ken Wilden, fastest during two of three test days last season, will drive in one of three Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GTs, while ST team titlist Compass360 Racing will field three cars during the test, which will feature 36 GS and 22 ST cars.
Wilden will drive with two-time defending Ford Racing Mustang Challenge champion Andrew Caddell, but the three-car Rehagen Racing effort is only one of several Mustang teams. Among the top Mustang teams is Multimatic Motorsports, which won the 2005 Continental Tire Challenge championship, with 2008 co-champions Scott Maxwell and Joe Foster in one car and Gunnar Jeannette and Frankie Montecalvo in another. Both cars are expected to compete for the full season. Multimatic last competed in the Continental Tire Challenge fulltime in 2005.
ROUSH Performance, known last season as Horsepower Ranch, brings Jack Roush Jr. and Billy Johnson in the No. 61 Ford Mustang GT; the team is part of the Roush-Fenway Racing organization. Jim Click Racing and CMA Motorsports also have two Mustangs entered each.
The 2009 season finale at Virginia International Raceway was the first for the new Chevrolet Camaro, which was piloted by David Donohue and Jeff Bucknum. For the test, six Camaros, one piloted by Bucknum and Stevenson Motorsports co-driver Matt Bell, are entered. A second Stevenson Camaro and two each from Momentum Racing Group and TC Motorsports are set to battle the Mustangs, which finished 1-2 in points last season.
TPN/Blackforest Racing, now owned by Tom Nastasi, returns in 2010, albeit with a two-car Dodge Challenger effort.
Several new models will compete at Daytona in the GS class. BGB Motorsports will field two Porsche Caymans in addition to a Porsche 997. APR Motorsport, which won an ST class high four races in 2009, has an Audi S4 entered for Ian Baas and team co-owner Stephen Hooks, while 2009 ST runner-up Subaru Road Racing Team moves up to GS with a Subaru Impreza WRX STI with Andrew Aquilante and Bret Spaude.
Turner Motorsport, which won the 2009 Fresh From Florida 200, brings back two BMW M3s for the test, while Fall-Line Motorsports brings three and Kinetic Motorsports and Automatic Racing two each and Rum Bum Racing, a new team, one car. TRG will also bring one Porsche 997, while Ranger Sports Racing has two Porsche 997s entered.
In ST, Compass360 has three Honda Civic Sis scheduled to participate in the test after second- and third-place finishes in the race last year. Veterans Lawson Aschenbach - who co-won at Daytona last season with another team - and Ryan Eversley are among eight drivers testing the cars.
Like GS, several new ST cars will see action this season, including one model at the test. Freedom Autosport, which won twice last season in Mazda MX-5s, has a pair of MAZDASPEED3s, while Team Sahlen switches to a MAZDASPEED3 from a Mazda RX-8. A Mazda RX-8 will be fielded by Pirate Motorsports.
Though not new, the BMW 328i will be represented by a new team to the series. BimmerWorld fields a two-car effort for this weekend, joining the veteran BMW 330i teams of Next Generation Motorsports and V-Pack Motorsport. Two RSR Motorsports Mini Coopers, now prepped by Automatic Racing, are also entered.
Volkswagen will be represented with two GTI MK6s from APR Motorsport (among those is 2009 MESCO Building For The Future Rookie of the Year Josh Hurley) and two Jetta GLIs from Irish Mike's Racing, while single-car efforts come from GS Motorsports (Chevrolet Cobalt), LRT Racing (Honda Civic Si) and Prey Racing (Porsche Boxster). Jamie Holtom, the 2008 ST champion, will drive a full season with GS Motorsports of Ontario.
The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 will also participate in the Roar Before The 24, with 38 cars entered.
Spectators are welcome for all three days of testing. Tickets for the Roar Before the Rolex 24 cost $10 each day and give fans access to the infield, Sprint FANZONE and garage. Saturday's schedule includes photo opportunities in Gatorade Victory Lane, a tech talk, pit stop demonstration and interactive fan forums with drivers including Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster, Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, two-time Rolex 24 class winner Lyn St. James and five-time Rolex 24 winner Hurley Haywood.
Live timing and scoring, along with regular notes, quotes and updates, will be posted on www.GRAND-AM.com and www.twitter.com/CT_Challenge throughout the test.