Defending SunTrust Racing Team Looks for a Repeat at Rolex 24 At Daytona Daytona, Florida (January 23, 2006) -- Looking to repeat their 2005 victory against a loaded Grand American field, the No. 10 SunTrust race team is eager to return to...
Defending SunTrust Racing Team Looks for a Repeat at Rolex 24 At Daytona
Daytona, Florida (January 23, 2006) -- Looking to repeat their 2005 victory against a loaded Grand American field, the No. 10 SunTrust race team is eager to return to Daytona International Speedway for the 44th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 28-29, 2006.
In 2005, the SunTrust team began their remarkable five-win championship season with an impressive victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and went on to win the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Team and Driver's Championships. Now, with a fourth driver in the lineup for Daytona and a new car, the SunTrust team is looking to repeat that success to jump-start their 2006 championship campaign. Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and Emmanuel Collard return to the cockpit and the 24-year-old Ryan Briscoe joins the trio for the Daytona endurance classic
"We've built a new car for this year's 24 Hour," said Wayne Taylor, owner/driver of the SunTrust Pontiac Riley Mk.XI. "We have literally the entire team we had here last year -- the same people, the same car package, the same drivers -- although we've added a fourth driver with Ryan."
"I'm really optimistic. We know we have a good, solid package," said Max Angelelli, who was nicknamed 'Max the Ax' in 2004 Grand American competition for his ability to slice through traffic. "It will hopefully be easier for us compared to other teams because we've already won the race, so we know basically how to do it. However, there's a new challenge, a new year, a lot more drivers and a lot more teams."
With arguably one of the most talented driver line-ups in recent history of the 24-hour event, the benefits of having a fourth driver are undeniable.
b^0x001cIt's very important because if you are out in a position where you have to push a lot, you'll be very tired," explained experienced endurance racer, Manu Collard. "It's good to have a fourth driver, especially like Ryan, because what can happen is you can get down in an endurance race and with only three drivers to push, and maybe one is ill, you won't have enough. So, to get him in the car is really important for our team."
Briscoe raced in the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona for Chip Ganassi Racing, finishing seventh, in his first endurance race. Additionally, he was 19th of 38 in his rookie season of IRL competition, also for Chip Ganassi Racing, despite missing three races following a major accident.
"The race itself, the 24 Hour, is a very famous race and known all over the world. To be able to take part in it in the top class with the best team is a real special thing," said the young Australian Ryan Briscoe. "It's definitely a positive to come onboard with the winning team. There's pressure to keep up the performance and consistency, but that's absolutely what I'm here to do. So it's great to be a part of that sort of an organization."
The new SunTrust Pontiac Riley that Briscoe and his teammates will be driving has been outfitted with 75 lbs. of ballast, as off-season rule changes required numerous Daytona Prototypes be outfitted with added weight. These changes might play a factor in such a difficult race.
"The testing went quite well with the new rules that add this extra weight. It makes the car a bit more difficult and challenging for us," said Angelelli, who recorded seven fastest laps in the 2005 Grand American series. "Because it was just testing, I'm curious to see how the car is and things are during the race with everyone out there."
"It's going to be hard to top last year, but I know our team is ready to try," said Craig Kelly, Corporate Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of SunTrust Banks, Inc. "A 24-hour race is a long event, which allows for plenty of action. Anything can happen, but we know we have a winning package with Wayne, Max and Emmanuel, and adding Ryan will only enhance the team effort. I'm ready for a great race."
The 44th annual running of the twice-around-the-clock endurance race, which will get the green flag at noon, will be televised for 13 hours on the Speed Channel. The broadcast will be as follows: Saturday, January 28th from 12:00 noon -- 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. -- 11:00 p.m., and Sunday, January 29 from 8:00 a.m. -- 12:00 noon. SunTrust Banks, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, is one of the nation's largest banking organizations, serving a broad range of consumer, commercial, corporate and institutional clients. As of December 31, 2005, SunTrust had total assets of $179.7 billion and total deposits of $122.0 billion. The Company operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states and a full array of technology-based, 24-hour delivery channels. The Company also serves customers in selected markets nationally. Its primary businesses include deposit, credit, trust and investment services. Through various subsidiaries the Company provides credit cards, mortgage banking, insurance, brokerage, equipment leasing and capital markets services. SunTrust's Internet address is suntrust.com.