INDIANAPOLIS (October 6, 2005) - Accomplished international road racer Stefan Johansson and 2002-2003 Rolex Series GT Champion Cort Wagner will put their no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley through its opening paces today as New Century...
INDIANAPOLIS (October 6, 2005) - Accomplished international road racer Stefan Johansson and 2002-2003 Rolex Series GT Champion Cort Wagner will put their no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley through its opening paces today as New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates guns for their first-ever Daytona Prototype victory when the Grand American series invades Virginia International Raceway for this Sunday's VIR 400 on the 3.27-mile natural terrain road course.
The New Century duo has a season-best finish of second at the 6 Hours of Mont-Tremblant earlier in Round 5, and will be looking to better that in the season's penultimate round after momentum carried the team to a 1-2 start in Watkins Glen behind teammates Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz in the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley sister car.
After starting a respectable seventh on the VIR grid last season, Wagner tangled with Oswaldo Negri's Daytona Prototype in an incident of highlight-reel proportions that eliminated both machines. Wagner was relegated to a disappointing 33rd place finish. But if enthusiasm has any correlation with victory, the Californian might just find himself on the top step of the podium Sunday after 250 miles.
"Virginia is a great track that just really rocks," said Wagner, who with Johansson stand one point out of fifth in the championship with 286 markers. "You better bring your mojo as this track really has it all. You've got super-fast esses and slow-speed technical corners, in addition to a long straight with threshold braking. You better have your setup spot on, or it's going to be a long race."
Johansson hasn't turned a lap at VIR, but with Wagner's experience and the 2004 polewinning performance of his teammates in the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley, he is optimistic about a podium finish.
"I feel we've been more competitive the past few races and things are starting to look up," said Johansson coming off his ninth top-10 with a sixth place result at The Glen. "The car has been getting better and I think we have a better idea of how to get the car up front and run with the lead pack. This race was wild last year in the rain, so we'll have to wait and see what happens."
Fans of New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates can catch the no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley in action at the VIR 400 Sunday, October 9th (LIVE, SPEED Channel, 1:00 pm ET) at Virginia International Raceway for the penultimate round of the Rolex Sports Car Series. Follow the team's progress throughout the race weekend by logging on to the Rolex Sports Car Series website at www.grandamerican.com <http://www.grandamerican.com/> for free live timing, and keep up with the team's successes throughout the 2005 season by logging onto the official website at www.chipganassiracing.com <http://www.chipganassiracing.com/> for news, features, photos and much more.