Friday, January 30, 2009. Athens, GA. - At the circuit that will in 6 weeks play host to the season opener of the 2009 IMSA Lites Championship Presented by Frisby Performance Tire, Comprent Motor Sports (the reigning Lites 1 Team Champions) have...
Friday, January 30, 2009. Athens, GA. - At the circuit that will in 6 weeks play host to the season opener of the 2009 IMSA Lites Championship Presented by Frisby Performance Tire, Comprent Motor Sports (the reigning Lites 1 Team Champions) have completed their first pre-season test with their 2009 driver line-up.
Driving Florida's history rich 3.7 mile Sebring Road Course where Round's 1 and 2 will take place on 14-15 March during the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring week, were four drivers signed by Comprent for the 2009 Season.
American's Jonathan Gore (Franklin, TN), Charlie Sheers (Houston, TX) and Wayne Ducote (New Orleans, LA), were joined by Australian and 2008 IMSA Lites 2 Champion Tom Drewer (Adelaide, AUS) for the 2 day test in which Comprent fielded three Panoz Elan DP-02 prototype sports cars, powered by Mazda and using Hankook tyres provided by Frisby Performance Tire.
Jonathan, Charlie and Tom will spearhead the championship assault for Comprent while Wayne will join the team for selected races throughout the 2009 Season with his son David Ducote (New Orleans, LA).
The drivers completed a series of sessions over two days at the Official IMSA Winter Test without incident and Team Owner Kevin Kloepfer was excited by the progress and the promise shown for the season ahead.
"It has been fantastic to have our 2009 line-up here together and I'm ecstatic how well the team and drivers are already working together.
I was extremely happy with the speed Charlie and Jonathan showed and the way Tom has adapted to the Lites 1 car.
There is going to be a great dynamic in the team this year with Tom, Jonathan and Charlie all wanting the title. Last year we ran one car and had one Championship contender. This year we have three.
We have a fantastic team and a strong platform from last year, to develop on. I'm confident we'll have another Champion at the end of the year."
Comprent won the 2008 IMSA Lites 1 Championship convincingly, winning nine races with Jonathan Goring (Torrington, CT) at the helm.
Asked how he felt about the 2009 race year Charlie Sheers was positive and looking forward to the season.
"I'm extremely excited racing with Comprent, their knowledge of the car and their support staff makes it a top of the line race team. I hope I can keep up with their pace."
Tom Drewer was also pleased with how things are shaping up for the 2009.
"It's great to be back in America and I feel at home with Comprent. I know the competition is going to be tough, especially from within my own team. I don't know the car as well as the other guys. But, last year I didn't know the circuits and we won ten races so I know I can do it if I give it my all. I'm getting comfortable in the car and I know the speed will be there for the Sebring opener."
Comprent hopes Sebring will be a repeat of last year where it claimed the first two rounds of the Lites 1 season.
The next time IMSA Lites Presented by Frisby Performance Tire will roll out on the Florida circuit is Friday, March 13 for official practice preceding Saturday's Round 1 race and Sunday's Round 2, 1 hour 15 minute enduro.
Jonathan Gore, aged 25, looks set to make 2009 his year after his strong finish in 2008. Jonathan claimed 2nd at the Petit Le Mans race and finished 5th place on the Championship ladder in only his first season of IMSA Lites 1. He hopes with his move to Comprent this year comes the wins he's after.
The former Auburn student is no stranger to the winner's podium. Jonathan was a regular front-runner in the 2006 Skip Barber National Series and in 2005 was runner up in the Skip Barber Mid Western Regional Series 2005. His ties to Skip Barber remain strong. Jonathan is currently an instructor for the famous driving school.
Charlie Sheers joins Comprent Motor Sports after finishing 6th in the 2008 IMSA Lites Championship, an impressive feat given a series of mechanical failures that caused the Masters title to slip from his grasp. His podium finish at Lime Rock in 2008 shows his true talents though and Charlie is set to return to his winning form, and be serious Championship contender, in his quest to take the Masters title this year.
Charlie started racing motor-cross at the age of 12, in 1973 and continued until he was 18 years old. In 1998 he began racing cars in the SCCA's SRF series and became consecutive Southwest Division Champion in 2005 and 2006. 2006 also saw Charlie run selected Lites 3 races and in 2007 Charlie made the progression to Lites 1. When Charlie isn't racing cars he attends to his Real Estate Development company as well as his young family.
Tom Drewer, aged 23, is an up and coming Australian driver who in his first year of North American competition dominated IMSA Lites 2 in 2008, taking the Championship with 11 pole positions, 10 wins, setting 5 lap records, all on unfamiliar circuits. This gave Tom back-to-back Championships across the Pacific after he took the Australian Thundersports Sports Car Championship for West Race Cars in 2007.
Tom's driving duties were split in 2007 with seats in both the Fujitsu V8 and V8 Giant Supercar Series, the feeder categories to Australia's premier motor racing series, V8 Supercars. Tom made his transition to cars in 2002, driving Formula Vees and winning the FVASA Drivers' Championship, after a stellar karting career beginning at age 7 and once backed by triple World Champion Nikki Lauda's airline, Lauda-Air.
Australia's AutoAction magazine has named Tom 'Best Overseas Rookie' in their annual awards while prestigious Wheels magazine has put Tom in their 'Hot Half Dozen Watch List' for 2009. Given his pace amongst the Lites 1's last year including a 2nd overall in Utah, Comprent also think he's one to watch this year as he tries for their second consecutive Lites 1 Championship.