For more information: Linda Mansfield E-mail: lindamansfield@CompuServe.com Schroeder to Drive in Rolex 24 At Daytona Jan. 31-Feb. 1 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 11 - Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) KOOL/Toyota Atlantic star Jeret Schroeder...
For more information: Linda Mansfield E-mail: lindamansfield@CompuServe.com
Schroeder to Drive in Rolex 24 At Daytona Jan. 31-Feb. 1
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 11 - Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) KOOL/Toyota Atlantic star Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., will team up with Tom Volk of Toledo, Ohio; six-time Indy 500 competitor Lyn St. James of Indianapolis; and one other yet-to-be-named driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona Int'l Speedway Jan. 31-Feb. 1. The drivers will compete in Volk's TRV Motorsports/Supreme Exhaust Systems Chevy Kudzu No. 95 in the Can-Am class.
In preparation for the event the trio participated in a three-day test at Daytona Jan. 9-11, which was Schroeder's first experience on Daytona's high banks.
"We got plenty of track time, and I feel comfortable in the car," Schroeder said on Sunday night following the final practice session of the weekend. "I've never done anything even close to this before, but I like it so far.
"TRV Motorsports is a good bunch of guys, and they work hard," he added. "Tom Volk is a really nice guy and he really knows what's going on with the car. He has a lot of experience at Daytona, and I'm just looking forward to getting back in the car on race day."
Schroeder said his main goal of the test session was to simply get comfortable in the car, which reached straightaway speeds of approximately 190 mph.
The team participated in two practice sessions on Friday, recording top laps of 111.237 and 113.463 mph. They went even faster on Saturday, and their best session of the weekend occurred on Saturday morning when they were clocked at an average speed of 114.874 mph. In other daylight sessions that day they had top laps of 114.793 mph and 114.167 mph, and their fastest lap in a special night session was 114.171 mph. On Sunday their fastest laps were at 113.202 mph and 112.730 mph. They were ninth-fastest in their division in their best session. Their car has much less horsepower than the fastest cars in their class, the Ferrari 333SPs of France's Yannick Dalmes and Italy's Max Papis. Dalmas unofficially broke the Can-Am track record on Sunday with an average speed of 128.664 mph around the 3.56-mile road course.
The whole scene is different than anything Schroeder has ever experienced. In addition to his two years in the Atlantic series, he has competed in two Indy Racing League (IRL) Indy car races, and he was the 1995 U.S. Formula Ford 2000 national champion.
"It's a lot heavier car than I'm used to, and you can't do the same thing with these cars as you can with Atlantic cars," Schroeder added. "You can't throw them into a corner or anything; you have to just try to carry a constant speed through the turns and be smooth. It looks a little like a Sports 2000 car; it doesn't have a roof. It has a V8 engine in it, which is good. The Ferraris are a lot faster, but our goal is just to finish the race."
Schroeder said he spun the yellow-and-black car once on the first day of testing. "I was experimenting, and it just bit me," he said. "It had a little bit of push and the rear just came out on me. I didn't hit the wall or anything so it was OK. I just kept going. When you're new to something like this, you just have to find out what these things can and can't do."
Schroeder said that both Volk and St. James were very helpful, and he's looking forward to competing as their teammate. "Lyn is a very bright lady," he said. "She was very happy and good spirited, and she's really a hands-on driver. She stays up with what's going on with the team all the time. I'm really looking forward to driving with her. Both she and Tom are giving me feedback of what it's going to be like, and I'm really looking forward to learning from both of them."
St. James won the GTO division in this event in 1987 and 1990. She was teamed with Tom Gloy, Bill Elliott and Scott Pruett in the 1987 effort, and with Robby Gordon, Calvin Fish and Robert Lappalainen in a Mercury Cougar in 1990.
Stars from all over racing are entered in the event. Some of the other big names entered include Arie Luyendyk, Ernie Irvan, John Paul Jr., Derek Bell, Hurley Haywood, Jim Downing, Brian Redman, Vincenzo Sospiri, Ron Fellows, Raul Boesel, Scott Pruett, Boris Said, Dorsey Schroeder, Butch Leitzinger, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Danny Sullivan, Paul Newman and Jason Priestley, to name just a few.
The 36th annual race is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31. Along with LeMans and Monaco, it is considered to be among the greatest road races in the world. This year the event is sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing and its subsidiary, the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC). It was formerly sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Assn. (IMSA).