SunTrust Race Team Ready to Ring in 2006 Grand American Racing Season at Daytona Daytona Beach, Florida (January 4, 2006) -- After coming off a championship season in 2005, where they won the Driver's and Team championship in Grand American ...
SunTrust Race Team Ready to Ring in 2006 Grand American Racing Season at Daytona
Daytona Beach, Florida (January 4, 2006) -- After coming off a championship season in 2005, where they won the Driver's and Team championship in Grand American Daytona Prototype competition, the SunTrust race team is ready to ring in the 2006 race season this week at the Daytona Test Days.
The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team driving duo of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli are not able to relish their Driver Champions honors long, as the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season gets underway in early January in preparation for the 44th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, scheduled for January 28-29.
Joining the popular pair will be co-driver Emmanuel Collard, who was part of the SunTrust trio who won the 2005 running of the twice-around-the-clock enduro. The three sports car endurance aces, along with the experienced Riley Technologies-led team, proved to the rest of the racing community that endurance racing experience was the key to winning the 24-hour race.
This year, the trio will add a fourth driver to the line-up, the young and very talented Ryan Briscoe. The 23-year-old Australia native will be making his second Rolex 24 At Daytona appearance, having competed last year with the Chip Ganassi Racing team, whom also hired him for the 2005 season in the Indy Racing League. For Briscoe, it will be an opportunity to race both with his mentors and his managers, as Angelelli and Taylor represent Briscoe as his management team.
"Starting the season at Daytona is always enjoyable for me," said SunTrust car owner/driver Taylor. "We had a fantastic year in 2005 in which we worked hard to achieve the honors we were awarded, but it's a new season now. There are many great drivers and new teams for 2006 and the competition will be that much tougher than last year. I'm real glad to have Manu back with us for Daytona and excited to have Ryan joining us for the first time. He's a great young talent."
"This is a special opportunity for me to come and race with Max and Wayne," said Briscoe, who now lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. "They have been managing me, helping steer my career and have taught me a lot. To be able to race an endurance event like the 24 Hours of Daytona with them and Emmanuel, especially as the defending champions, is a real honor."
The SunTrust driving team will be piloting a new Pontiac Riley Mk.XI this week at Daytona, built after the Mexico City finale last year. No major changes have been made to the car, except for an increase in weight, as stipulated by a rules change. The team just completed a shake down of the new Riley chassis number 21 at Roebling Road in Savannah, Georgia before coming to Daytona. The 2005 winning chassis number 8 is now becoming a show car for SunTrust Bank.
"We've worked hard in the off-season building the new car," said Bill Riley, owner of Riley Technologies and spearheads the running of the SunTrust Pontiac Riley team. "We did a shakedown at Savannah to see how the systems work, then came to Daytona and we'll see how we stack up."
"Coming back to Daytona to defend our win and the championship will be difficult because there are so many good teams and drivers expected to race," said Max "The Axe" Angelelli, who recorded seven fastest race laps and one pole position in 2005. "The Daytona test will help to show us more about the preparedness of these teams, but they will likely not show all their cards. I'm glad to be back with Wayne and have Manu and Ryan with us."
"I'm really happy to come back. Last year we had a very good race. For sure this year it will be very competitive. There are many good teams this year and it will make it very interesting for the race," said Frenchman Emmanuel Collard about defending his victory last year. "It is good news that we have Ryan joining us because it will help to make less work on the drivers with four of us and that will be nice."
The SunTrust team's successes in 2005 included becoming the winningest Daytona Prototype team in the six-year history of Grand American Road Racing with a total of eight victories over two years. Additionally, the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley Mk.XI completed every lap available for competition during the 2005 season, an incredible mark of 2,050 laps, proving their consistency. They won five races, finished on the podium ten times, had three poles and seven fastest laps and never finished below sixth position.