Team Sahlen, competing for the first time in the Daytona Prototype class at the Grand Am Rolex 24 at Daytona, has signed up a solid roster of famous racers for its two-car Daytona assault in January.
Team Sahlen is stepping up after two successful seasons in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class. For 2013 the team will run a pair of BMW-powered Riley chassis, debuting at the Rolex 24 in January.
Sahlen regulars Joe Sahlen, Will, Joe and Wayne Nonnemaker, Dane Cameron and endurance ace Simon Pagenaud had already been announced as drivers. Joining them will be American Le Mans Series team-mates Bruno Junquiera and Tomy Drissi.
Besides racing on and off in IndyCar for eight seasons, including six Indy 500 starts and a full season in 200, Junquiera has spent 2011 and 2012 driving for Paul Gentilozzi’s Rocketsports Racing in ALMS. The 36-year-old Brazilian piloted RSRs’ GTE Jaguar in 2011 and its LMPC Oreca in 2012, earning a win and three podiums in the PC.
Junquiera has three starts at Sebring, two at Petit Le Mans and a single race in a Rolex DP, at the Six Hours of Watkins Glen in 2009.
“This will be Team Sahlen’s first time in the Daytona Prototype class, and I hope to be able to make a contribution to their efforts to compete against the very best in sports car racing as we take on this twice around the clock event,” said Junqueira in a press release.
“Racing alongside fellow open-wheel veterans Simon Pagenaud and Dane Cameron will provide a very stable platform that we can work towards having both entries up front in the race. Also, I have raced with Tomy in the past and we always get along quite well. It should be fun times indeed.”
Tomy Drissi has eight season’s experience in ALMS, driving everything from P1s to GT2s. Drissi drove two races in a GT Porsche for Sahlen in 2005, then seven more in Paul Gentilozzi’s Crawford-Ford DP in 2006. He has never driven at Daytona, but after five Sebring 12 Hours and five Petit Le Mans starts, he definitely understands endurance racing.
“I remember our adventures together way back in 2005 with their Porsches,” Drissi said. “It’s my ideal of a perfect race team; a professional group with the right amount of family atmosphere thrown in to make it fun.
“The Rolex24 At Daytona is one of the premier endurance events in the world, and to be able compete in this event within the Daytona Prototype class with a chance to win overall is a dream come true.”
“We are looking forward to the addition of Tomy and Bruno to our already strong driver lineup,” said Sahlen’s Team Manager Jay Chapman. “Tomy has proven to be very adaptable over his career in wide variety of machinery. Bruno has proven in the past to not only be fast, but very knowledgeable in how to manage a long endurance event, such as the Rolex 24.
“The focus by the whole crew has been to make a real splash in our introduction to the Daytona Prototype Class. We have been working doubly hard to reach this point, and now having Tomy and Bruno as the final two additions to our driver lineup will give more impetus to that quest.”
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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