VIR: MCM Racing preview

The 2009 racing season has really started to take shape for Team Owner Matt Connolly and his Grand Am Rolex Series GT team. Starting the season off with a multi-year agreement with new title sponsor Battery Tender, then came the new GT class...

The 2009 racing season has really started to take shape for Team Owner Matt Connolly and his Grand Am Rolex Series GT team. Starting the season off with a multi-year agreement with new title sponsor Battery Tender, then came the new GT class Porsche 997, and with the natural order of things is now happy to announce his world class talent behind the wheel.

In the #21 Battery Tender Pontiac GTO-R are some familiar faces to both Matt Connolly, and the Grand Am Series in drivers Romeo Kapudija and Ryan Phinny. Kapudija has been competing at a high level in North American Sports Cars for some time now from his stints in the American Le Mans Series, Koni Challenge and Grand Am Rolex Series in both Daytona Prototypes and GT class competition. Kapudija states; "Ryan clearly showed he can run up front in this car, and made a great transition last year from open wheel. I'm really looking forward to getting back to one of my favorite tracks at Virginia, and know that Ryan and I will get the most out of the GTO-R, Matt has put together a very good team behind us and that is giving us a great comfort level as we move into Round 2 of the '09 season". Ryan Phinny came onto the scene at the middle portion of last season in sharing the #21 GTO-R with then season driver Diego Alessi. Phinny ran in seven races with the team, leading several laps and finishing with five Top-5 finishes and three podiums. The #21 entry will carry the signage of sponsors Battery Tender, Find.com, Baja Cantina, and P1Groupe.com. States Phinny of the opportunity "I'm very happy to be back in the GTO-R for Matt again. I missed the Virginia round last season, and very much looking forward to continuing the success of last season with a very good team and car behind me. This is my first time driving with Romeo, but after seeing him drive at Daytona, am very confident that together we'll have that Pontiac running up front when we cross that finish line".

New to the team in the #31 South African Airways Porsche 997 GT3 Cup team entry are drivers Hennie Groenewald and Dion von Moltke. Both drivers carrying the South African flags next to their names will be a special draw to the series, the international media and the fans. Dion has tested with the team previously in their Pontiac and has put his toe in the Rolex Series water by running the 2008 New Jersey Motorsports Park round of the series in a Mazda RX-8 with fellow countryman Jordan Taylor, and again in this seasons' Rolex 24 hours of Daytona in the same car before making the switch over to the Porsche. Dion enthusiastically mentions; "This is a fantastic opportunity for me and everyone involved. I have been racing under the South African flag my whole career, and to be teamed with one of the most successful professional race car drivers in South African history and to be supporting a company such as South African Airways in the process is such an honor." Groenewald is a 3-time and reigning WesBank V8 Champion in his native South Africa. Hennie showed up at the recent Grand Am Series sanctioned test at Homestead-Miami Speedway as a virtual unknown in the paddock as he tested three different GT class cars over the two days. Groenewald left the circuit with everyone asking about him as he set the fastest time for the field and reset the track record. "After doing the test at Homestead in March with Matt Connolly's Battery Tender - MCM Racing team, it was very exciting news when I heard that we have confirmed the opportunity to race with the team in the Grand Am Rolex Series." Hennie continues; "I am also looking forward to be driving with my fellow countryman and extremely talented driver in Dion. I am sure between the two of us and including the expertise and level of commitment from Matt's team we can provide a competitive package". South African Airways (SAA) is South Africa's largest domestic and international carrier with hubs in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The #31 Porsche will also be supported by Battery Tender, Find.com, AIS Media, and P1Groupe.com.

-credit: mcmr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alessi Diego , Matt Connolly , Romeo Kapudija , Ryan Phinny , Dion von Moltke , Hennie Groenewald