Chip Ganassi Racing will again run a pair of Daytona Prototypes at the 2013 Grand Am Rolex 24 at Daytona, both driven by champions from a variety of motorsports disciplines.
“This race is always exciting for me. Because it is a 24-hour race, there are so many factors that go into having success,” said team owner Chip Ganassi in a press statement. “You need the drivers, the people, the equipment and the partners—but most importantly they all have to act as one team and that is where I think our strength lies. And having a little bit of luck on your side never hurts.
“It is not often when we can bring such a diverse group of drivers from NASCAR, IndyCar, Grand Am and ALMS together to compete in one race. It is a great kick off to our racing season.”
The Telmex-sponsored #01 Riley-BMW driven to multiple series championships by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas will of course be back, with NASCAR star Juan Pablo Montoya and IndyCar ace Charles Kimball co-driving.
Scott Pruett has won five Rolex Sports car Series championships, four with Rojas, and three in a row (2010–2012.) Pruett is also a member of the very rare group of four-time Rolex 24 winners; only Pruett and Pedro Rodriguez, Peter Gregg, Rolf Stommelen and Bob Wollek have won four times in the race’s fifty-year history.
Pruett and Rojas shared a Rolex 24 win in 2011, when the two Ganassi cars finished 1–2. Pruett and Juan Pablo Montoya shared back-to-back wins in 2007–08; Memo Rojas was a co-driver in the winning 2008 car. This will be Montoya’s seventh Rolex 24 start.
Charlie Kimball has never driven a Rolex race. He has spent the past decade driving formula cars in F3, F-Renault, A1GP, Indy Lights, and IndyCar.
Ganassi’s #02 car boasts an equally star-studded and varied line-up: multiple IndyCar champs Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon will share the driving with ALMS champ Joey Hand and NASCAR star Jamie McMurray.
Franchitti has seven Rolex 24 starts and one win on his record; he co-drove with Pruett, Rojas, and Montoya in 2008 and finished second with Dixon Montoya and McMurray in 2011. He is most famous for winning four consecutive IndyCar titles, but he has plenty of sports car experience—in 2007 he scored a P2 class win in the ALMS Sebring 12 Hours.
Two-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon has one win out of the nine Rolex 24s he has started; he and Franchitti have been a regular part of the #02 Ganassi team for quite a while. He also has a few seasons of prototype racing in ALMS under his belt, driving an LMP2 for De Ferran racing mostly.
Joey Hand is best known for driving BMWs in ALMS and DTM, but he has plenty of experience at Daytona with eight Rolex 24s including a win in 2011. Add to that two class wins at Sebring in seven starts and a third in class at Le Mans in 2011, and he is definitely an asset to Ganassi’s BMW-powered endurance racing team.Jamie McMurray has won the other big race at Daytona, NASCAR’s Daytona 500, but he has also been a regular with Ganassi’s #02 car on Daytona’s road course, with four starts and second-place finish.
The 51st running of the Grand Am Rolex 24 at Daytona kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. Tickets and information are available at Grand-Am.com.
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