Series-Leading TRG Pontiac GTO.Rs Return To V.I.R. Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series GT Class Leaders Return to Site of 2005 Third-place Finish; Pontiac Looks for First Daytona Prototype Win DETROIT - Pontiac's Rolex Series GT class ...
Series-Leading TRG Pontiac GTO.Rs Return To V.I.R.
Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series GT Class Leaders Return to Site of 2005 Third-place Finish; Pontiac Looks for First Daytona Prototype Win
DETROIT - Pontiac's Rolex Series GT class leaders, the #64 and #65 TRG Pontiac GTO.Rs, will again rejoin the series at Virginia International Raceway this weekend. Pontiac's two production-based race cars - which were absent along with the entire GT class from the Daytona Prototype (DP)-only format at the previous race at Long Beach - hope to increase their lead in the GT class after Sunday's 400 kilometer race at legendary V.I.R. Since their last race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in late March, Pontiac has led the GT class in manufacturers points (102 to Porsche's 97) and team points (the #64 car leads with 88 points and its sister car, #65 is second with 84). Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins, drivers of the #64 car, also lead in driver points with #65 teammates Andy Lally and Marc Bunting in second (with co-driver R. J. Valentine in ninth - Valentine only drives part-time and did not drive at Mexico City).
"I've raced here at V.I.R. several times, most recently with the Rolex Series last year," said Kelly Collins. "Last year I competed against the GTO.Rs in a BMW. I've had the chance to get to know the race track a little bit - it's not suited for two classes. It will be crowded and there won't be many places to pass. Otherwise it is a great track.
"I think the one race we really deserved to win was Daytona," said Collins of the 24-hour race where suspension problems took them from the lead and allowed them only a 13th-place finish. "Not to overlook our achievements this season, but in a lot of respects we've gotten lucky (to be leading the GT class). We have a good car and Paul has been great, but we can't get over-confident. Anytime you get too confident you leave yourself open for failure, basically. We'll keep our head down and try to do the best we can."
With two fourth-place finishes so far this season, the team of #4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford is poised to give Pontiac another strong finish, especially since the team likes to develop and test their Crawford race cars at this track. Because of its close proximity to the team's headquarters (located only three hours away in Denver N.C.), this track has been one of the primary sites for their cars to log test miles. Co-driver Andy Wallace, this year pairing with Butch Leitzinger, scored two podium finishes here - second and third - and looks to better both.
The upcoming race at V.I.R. will, like the previous event at Long Beach, differ from the normal Rolex Series race format. Instead of DPs only, however, the race features both classes but qualifying sessions are replaced by short 50-mile races (one per class). The grids for the qualifying races are set by practice times and the results of the qualifying races will set the race grid. Both race and qualifying race results are eligible for points in the series standings.
"I'm looking forward to the qualifying race - it's only 30 minutes long and I'll be able to drive as hard as I can the whole time," said Andy Lally, co-driver of the #65 TRG GTO.R. "This year the competition has increased and it will be interesting to see what the Porsche 997s bring to the table. If it rains this year - and I hear it probably will - we have a good rain car again this year so we're hoping to at least match our third-place finish from last year. In the dry we're in good shape too."