View Full Version : Rolex Grand-Am Preview

01-19-2009, 06:41 PM
The Rolex Grand-Am Series will kick off this weekend with their biggest event of the year - the Daytona 24-Hour Race. It starts at 3:30 pm Saturday. Current entries show 20 Daytona Prototypes and 31 GT cars. That is down from last year, probably a sign of the current economy.

The DPs appear similar, and most are Riley chassis, although there are a few Lolas, Dallars, and Crawfords in the mix. Except for the Porsches, the engines are all 5-liter V8s. There are 7 Fords, 5 Porsches, 3 BMWs, 3 Pontiacs, and 2 Lexus. Pontiac is a principal sponsor of Grand-Am, but several teams have abandoned them for Fords and BMWs. The BMWs are based on the E39 M5 units. Each car has two co-drivers in the shorter Rolex events, but most will add one to three drivers for the grueling 24-Hour.

Two BMW-powered teams in 2008 had some shining moments, but both the Rum Bum/Sigalsport and Samax teams are gone for now. The three new BMW teams and their drivers are:
#22 Alegra Motorsports with Ryan Dalziel (Scotland), Carlos de Quesada (Florida), Chapman Ducote (Florida), Jean-Francois Dumoulin (Quebec), and Tomas Enge (Czech Republic)

#45 Victory Junction/Orbit Racing with Dannen Manning (Indianapolis), Leo Hindery Jr (Kentucky), Kyle Petty (North Carolina) and Bill Lester (Atlanta)

#55 LevelFive Motorsports with Christophe Bouchut (France), Scott Tucker (Kansas), and Ed Zabinski (Atlanta)

The GT class features "production-based" cars. The with except of the Porsche GT3s, that is a big lie. These are tube-framed cars with chassis built by Riley, Crawford, Pratt & Whitney, etc. Entries include 17 Porsches, 4 Pontiacs, 4 Mazda RX8s, 2 Ferrari 430s, and 1 Mustang GT. The BMW M6 that ran a few events last year is not entered.

Their is a long break before the second event in the Rolex Grand-Am Series. It will be a 250-mile race VIR on April 25.

The television coverage of the 24-Hour is as follows:

Saturday 2pm Speed TV 2008 Season Review
Saturday 3 pm Fox Pre-race and first hour
Saturday 4:30pm to 10:00pm Speed TV Race coverage
Sunday 7:00am to 4:00pm Speed TV Race coverage

01-19-2009, 09:44 PM
No RumBum :( I'll have to pull for the Orbit team with Darren Manning and poor Kyle Petty.

I guess I'll miss a few hours of the coverage while attending the Annual Meeting.

01-22-2009, 10:59 PM
. . .and Koni Challenge:

Woodcliff Lake, NJ - January 19, 2009... BMW of North America, LLC today announced its contingency program for teams racing BMW and BMW powered cars in the 2009 KONI Challenge Series and Rolex Sports Car Series of the Grand American Road Racing Association.
BMW teams in the KONI Challenge Series Grand Touring (GS) and Sports Tuner (ST) classes will be awarded $4000 for 1st, $3000 2nd, $2000 3rd, $1000 4th and $500 5th. A BMW winner of the Driver's Championship will be awarded $2000.

A total of nine GS class BMW M3s have been entered by Automatic Racing, Fall-Line Motorsports, Kinetic Motorsports and Turner Motorsport in the January 23rd KONI Challenge Fresh From Florida 200. Fall-Line Motorsports and Kinetic Motorsports will debut the first 2009 V8-powered, E92 M3s to KONI Challenge competition. Four BMW 3 Series and one BMW Z4 are entered in the ST class.

As recently as 2007 BMW teams won five of six KONI Challenge titles with a sweep of the GS Manufacturer, Drivers and Team Championships, as well as the ST Drivers and Team Championships.

In both the Daytona Prototype and GT classes of the Rolex Series the award to BMW teams will be $5000 for 1st, $4000 for 2nd, $3000 for third, $2000 for 4th and $1000 for 5th. A BMW powered driver winning the Driver's Championship will be awarded $3000.

Three teams have entered BMW powered Riley Daytona Prototypes in the 47th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona. They set the third and fourth fastest times of the 21-car field at the January 3-5 official test. The No. 55 Edata Solutions/Supercar Life Racing LevelFive Motorsports BMW Riley of Christophe Bouchut, Scott Tucker and Ed Zabinski set the third fastest overall time. The No. 22 Alegra Motorsports Gatorade/Today MD BMW Riley of Thomas Enge, Carlos de Quesada, Jean-Francois Dumoulin and Ryan Dalziel finished the test with the fourth fastest time.

In addition to BMW of North America's contingency program eligible BMW drivers may share in part of the international BMW Sports Trophy 2009. Awarded to support the efforts of private BMW racers throughout the world, the BMW Sports Trophy was first presented in the 1960's. More information can be found at www.bmw-motorsport.com.

The KONI Challenge Fresh From Florida 200 takes the green flag at 1:45 p.m. ET on Friday, January 23. The 2009 Rolex Sports Car Series opens with the 47th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 24th at 3:30 p.m. Live television coverage will begin at 3:00 p.m. ET on FOX and continue on SPEED Channel from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., beginning again at 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.