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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'06 race season begins at Daytona
January 05, 2006

DAYTONA BEACH -- Let the man-made thunder begin.

Starting at 9 a.m. today with Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup testing on Daytona International Speedway's 3.56-mile road course, the 2006 automobile race season begins in earnest at one of the world's most-recognized motorsports venues.

With testing and racing running nearly non-stop through the Feb. 19 Daytona 500, more than 120 sportscar teams hit the pavement through Saturday during the Speedway's oldest annually scheduled group test. A two-day break will precede Nextel Cup testing, which begins Tuesday, Jan. 9.

The Rolex Series' Daytona Prototype and Grand Touring classes on hand alone account for a respective 33 and 42 cars -- totaling 13 cars more than the 62 fielded for the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

With an average of seven-members per team backing them, more than 100 drivers from nearly every motorsports arena will be here for the test.

"For most race car drivers, the best test he can face is not how fast he might go as much as what he does when racing against another fast driver," 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona winning co-driver Wayne Taylor of Altamonte Springs said as the teams set up Wednesday at DIS.

"In the Rolex 24 they not only get to test themselves against those whom they regularly race, but against the best from many other racing series, too.

"Though more than 50 championship-winning drivers contested last year, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if even more show up this year."

Taylor's 2005 Rolex 24 teammates, Emanuel Collard and full-season co-driver Max Angelelli, will again be a part of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac-Riley DP team.Joining them this year is Ryan Briscoe, who in 2005 was a part of Chip Ganassi Racing's Indy Racing League team and a Toyota Formula One team test driver before that.

Resurgent in its effort this year is Porsche -- for which only Brumos Racing's Nos. 58 and 59 cars have borne the standard previously -- which will also power the No. 7 Doran of Synergy Racing and the No. 23 Crawford of Tavares-based Alex Job Racing.

"It's a blast to drive," driver Burt Friselle said of his Doran. "In three seasons this is the third power plant I've had in a DP and it's the best so far."

Longtime Porsche favorite son and five-time Rolex 24 winner Hurley Haywood -- again teamed for 2006 in the No. 59 Porsche-Fabcar with Daytona's J.C. France -- welcomes the increased presence.

"I think a lot of teams realize the Porsche program is a good one," Haywood said. "Porsche also probably realizes it'll have a better chance to win with more cars out there."

Though the Spirit of Daytona's Pontiac Crawford won't be at this week's test -- choosing instead to ready it for the race itself -- the team will debut its new Crane Cams-sponsored Pontiac GTO Grand-Am Cup car.

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Today-Saturday: Grand Am Rolex 24 At Daytona

Jan. 9-11: Nextel Cup (odd owner's points)

Jan. 13-15: Trucks

Jan. 16-18: Nextel Cup (even owner's points)

Jan. 20-22: Busch Series

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Press release from GTODaytona


Welcome to GTOforum and feel free to post all press releases,

This is a press release about the Spirit of Daytona Grand-Am Cup GTO. Thursday the GTO turned some of the fastest laps times of the Grand-Am Cup practice session at the Daytona International Speedwayn the GS Series.

Spirit of Daytona Heats up Grand-Am Cup Practice Sessions in GTO

As the morning sun started to heat up the track at the Daytona International Speedway, the brand new Spirit of Daytona #9 GTO set the track on fire. Marc-Antoine Camirand drove the #9 GTO through its first official Grand-Am Cup sanctioned practice session and posted lap times in the top-five. Other drivers testing the #9 GTO throughout the weekend include; co-owner and 2005 season teammate Doug Goad, Craig Conway, and Mike Weinberg. All four drivers have worked with, team-manager/co-owner, Troy Flis in the past. Craig Conway was one of the winning co-drivers during the Spirit of Daytona’s Rolex 24 Hour victory in 2002. Mike Weinberg raced with Flis throughout the 2003 Grand-Am Cup series in the #02 Corvette. And Camirand raced with Flis in the second half of the 2005 Rolex series in the #09 Daytona Prototype.

With their combined track experience in over 20 different race cars, all four drivers agree that the GTO is one of the best cars on the track today. Flis and crew have put numerous hours of development into the GTO and have spent many late nights at the shop perfecting the car’s setup. With all the planning and research put into the GTO, the team is not surprised to see the car posting top-10 lap times.

Camirand drove the GTO during the first practice session on Thursday in the late morning. He was impressed with the GTO’s performance and loved its handling. He had the opportunity to test the GTO during two previous practice sessions at Roebling Road in Savannah, Georgia over the off-season. “ I can feel the improvement that the GTO has gone through since the last time I got behind the wheel. And today I am just having a blast driving the car around the banking. The car is smaller than the Cadillac I competed in during the Grand-Am Cup Series last season which allows for better braking,” said Camirand.

Mike Weinberg, who has over four years of racing experience with Flis, climbed out of the GTO impressed with the car’s overall balance. “ Let me put it this way,” said Weinberg, “ if we are capable as drivers then the car will run upfront. The GTO is a forgiving car and has excellent handling. I was expecting it to drive like the Firebird but it is a different experience.”

Spirit of Daytona will be campaigning three Pontiac GTOs in the Grand Am Cup GS series in 2006.
For more information on Spirit of Daytona visit: [b]www.spiritofdaytona.com[/b]
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