VIR: Matt Connolly Motorsports preview

Compelling Lineup in No. 21 Car Leads Matt Connolly BMW Effort The No. 21 BMW of Towson/Matt Connolly Motorsports BMW M3 will lead the way in the Grand American Rolex series for the Connolly BMW effort. Driver Joey Hand will be joined in the ...

Compelling Lineup in No. 21 Car Leads Matt Connolly BMW Effort

The No. 21 BMW of Towson/Matt Connolly Motorsports BMW M3 will lead the way in the Grand American Rolex series for the Connolly BMW effort. Driver Joey Hand will be joined in the driver's seat by Chris Gleason, and Jeff Altenburg at this weekend's VIR 400. The No. 21 BMW will enter the Grand Touring (GT) class during Sunday's race at VIRginia International Raceway. This is the first Grand American Rolex season for the Matt Connolly Motorsports BMWs, and team owner Matt Connolly is very impressed with his team's lineup for the weekend.

"I'm very excited about having Joey Hand, Chris Gleason, and Jeff Altenburg in the car. It's clearly a group with a lot of BMW experience and wins in Rolex GT Racing. It's great to have a powerful line up like this. We will do extremely well," stated Connolly.

This level of BMW experience calls for an important partner for the race weekend. BMW of Towson, a family owned and operated in BMW dealership will be joining the team as a sponsor for the weekend's festivities. Owned by the Cohen family and located in Towson, Maryland, the dealership features the largest selection of BMW M3's in the Baltimore/Washington/Virginia area. Owner Marc Cohen sees this as an excellent way to get his dealership involved in Grand American Road Racing and an exciting BMW team.

"We look for unique cars and specialize in the M cars, that's why this is so great. We are excited to be affiliated with racing," stated Cohen.

Connolly added in his enthusiasm for the partnership, "I'm excited that we are able to bring in a dealer that is able to help promote the BMW brand. It's a great 'vehicle' to get awareness out on the performance of an M3."

The No. 21 car has quite a history in the world of BMW's and in the past had opportunity to prove the performance abilities of the M3. The car, previously owned and prepared by former Grand American team PTG Motorsports, was sold to Connolly in late 2005. Connolly bought two cars from PTG and will enter both in the VIR 400.

The second Matt Connolly Motorsports car, the No.24 BMW M3, will be making its first appearance since the January Daytona race. Connolly will take his spot in the No. 24 driver's seat with co-driver Adam Pecorari. Pecorari will join Matt Connolly Motorsports for the second time this season.

In the No. 21 car, all drivers will join Connolly's team for the first time but Gleason and Hand may experience a case of dejà vu. In 2005, Gleason and Hand were co-drivers in a PTG car before the team moved their efforts to another series at the beginning of the 2006 season. Hand feels that his familiarity of the cars will benefit the team greatly this weekend.

"I'm excited to be in the old cars that I ran in Grand Am last year. I have a good idea of what the cars will and should do. I am very excited to be with Chris Gleason again and I am looking forward to helping the program overall. I think if we can stay on the lead lap, we could be podium contenders. That excites me, I'm always looking for new trophies and I am always looking to win," states Hand.

Just like Hand, Jeff Altenburg is very excited to be in the seat of a car with such a strong racing background.

"I'm pretty pumped up about driving this GT BMW with its PTG history and Matt Connolly Motorsports now fielding it. I'm glad for the support of a local business such as BMW of Towson and I hope to show well this weekend at VIR. I've been friends with Matt and Chris for years and I look forward to working with Joey. Thanks to my good friend Chuck Joffe, who got the introductions started, we should have a fun weekend! " states Altenburg.

Altenburg and Hand are not alone in their excitement for the weekend. The car's third driver Chris Gleason, who co-drives a BMW with Bill Auberlen in the Grand-Am Cup series, is looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a GT BMW.

"When you bring together guys like Joey Hand and Jeff Altenburg, then combine that with Matt Connolly and the car, I think we have a terrific opportunity. VIR is a wonderful track. I think the track is suited for the M3. It has a lot of quick transitions, and braking is very important," states Gleason.

-mcm

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Chris Gleason , Jeff Altenburg , Adam Pecorari , Matt Connolly