Pontiac Grand-Am Teams Ready For VIR Natural Road Course GT and DP Cars to Run Separate Races Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) and GT teams are ready for their first natural road course race of the season to be run at Virginia International...
Pontiac Grand-Am Teams Ready For VIR Natural Road Course
GT and DP Cars to Run Separate Races
Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) and GT teams are ready for their first natural road course race of the season to be run at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) on April 28 and 29. Round four of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve will witness separate GT and DP races.
Ten Pontiac powered race teams, comprising seven Daytona Prototypes (DP) and three GT cars will compete in separate two-hour-and-thirty-minute races, GT on Saturday and DP on Sunday. The VIR road course is located on the border of North Carolina and Virginia and is made up of 17-turns and runs 3.27-miles in length.
Pontiac DP teams will attempt to keep the perfect Pontiac pole streak intact this weekend. The No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley started on the pole at Daytona. The No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley took the pole in Mexico City and the SunTrust entry kept the streak going at Homestead.
Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney have their own streak going with three front row starting positions on the season. The team from Texas would like to add another win to their record on the season, having bested the field at Mexico City for their very first victory.
"The pace of the car has been really good so far this season," Fogarty said. "We have been able to get that little bit extra from it in qualifying to start on the front row in the first three races. VIR was tough for us last year. We were racing a borrowed car after we wrote ours off at Long Beach. We went down a lap early and then got a penalty. The track is one of my favorites, it has a nice combination of turns and some really nice fast stuff. It will be nice to get back to a natural road course."
Tracy Krohn is looking forward to getting his No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley back to VIR. The Texan's teammates Max Papis and Colin Braun are currently fourth in DP points.
"I think VIR is a great track," Krohn said. "I always look forward to going there and it will be nice to get to a natural road course after two modified ovals. The high speed esses are a good barometer for the way the car is setup. If you can go through there flat comfortably, that is good, but you may also be running too much downforce which can hurt you down the straights. You want to be flat through there with a touch of fear."
Noted sportscar racer Justin Bell will join the DP ranks as a full time driver partnering Roger Schramm in the No. 12 RVO Motorsports Pontiac Riley.
"I raced with Roger and Bill Lester at Daytona," said Bell. "They came back and wanted me to do the rest of the year starting at VIR. I will be finishing out the season with the team. I am very pleased, it has been a strange last three years, since Trans Am disappeared. I missed the Grand-Am boat, it set sail with out me, so it is nice to be back with a full time program. I have been to VIR in Trans-Am and finished second there, so I am continuing my season on familiar ground."
Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards will be looking to maximize the handling of their Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R around the twists and turns of VIR.
"Banner Racing and the engineering team have improved the setup every race in regard to cornering," Collins said. "We just can't hang down the straight. So behind the wheel we do the best that we can. The track's high speed turns will suit the cars ability, the long straight doesn't right now."
Leighton Reese in the No. 06 Pontiac GXP.R is expecting a strong battle in the GT race at VIR.
"VIR has got a lot of turns," Reese commented. "I am comparing it to Mexico City a little bit. The car likes big, broad, fast turns, but we tend to lose ground down the straights. The cars handle fantastic and they are a pleasure to drive. There are 12 fast Porsches out there and the Mazda has come a long way and they now have the support for the effort and they are going fast. The competition in the GT class is real strong right now, we want to be a part of the fight at the front."
Jon Mirachi, No. 30 GXP.R Racers Edge team owner, has had the opportunity to test since Homestead and has sportscar hot shoe James Gue behind the wheel for VIR. Gue will partner Canadian Mark Pavan at VIR.
"We are happy to have been able to secure James Gue for VIR," Mirachi said. "James is a talented and experienced young driver who is also very quick. Following the race event at Homestead, we went to VIR and had an extremely successful test. The test really increases our level of confidence going into the event for both Pontiac Rolex GT teams, Racers Edge Motorsports and Banner Racing, as both GXP.R drivers Paul Edwards and Mark Pavan participated in the test."
The GT race from VIR will be run on Saturday, April 28th.
-credit: gm racing