View Full Version : Daytona 24-Hour Race - January 27-29

01-13-2012, 03:26 PM
Who's going? This year, the 50th Anniversay of our country's biggest sports car race, promises to be a great one. The track is an easy 11 hours from DC. No GPS needed. Go south on I-95, at exit 261 in Florida go east for 2 miles to Speedway on your right. Practice and qualifying for the Rolex Grand-Am 24-Hour race and Continental Tire Challenge race will be Thursday, more Grand-Am practice Friday and the CTC 2 1/2-hour race which starts at 1:30. Saturday includes more practice, a vintage race, and special anniversary activies before the 3:30pm race start. A four day ticket includes infield parking, garage and FanZone access, infield and any grandstand admission except those on pit road for the bargain price of $85.

The Daytona Prototype (DP) class will feature new chassis and bodies. The front of the Chevy-powered cars now look like Corvettes. The 14-car DP field will have three BMW-powered cars including the two Chip Ganassi Racing Rileys with BMW factory driver Joey hand partnering with Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, and Graham Rahal in #01. The 02 Ganassie car will be driven by Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti of IndyCar fame, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray of NASCAR.

The 44-car Grand Touring (GT) class has new-to-the-series entries of 3 Ferrari 458s and 2 Audi R8 GTs. There will be the usual assortment of Porsche GT3s, Mazda RX8s, Camaros (including one driven by Tommy Milner), a Mustang, a Viper, and the two Turner Motorsports BMW M3s. Number 93 will be driven by Michael Marsal, Dirk Mueller, Jorg Mueller, and Dirk Werner. The #94 will be driven by Bill Auberlen, Paul Dalla Lana, Billy Johnson, and Boris Said.

The always exciting Conti Tire Race has 35 entries in Grand-Sport (GS) incluing nine BMW M3s of Fall Line Motorsports, Racing, Turner Motorsports, Insight Racing, Rum Bum Racing, Automatic Racing, and Brass Monkey Racing. They will be competing against a raft of Mustang Boss 302Rs, Porsche 997s, Camaros, an Aston-Martin and an Audi S4.

The Street Turner (ST) class has 39 entries including a bunch of BMW 128s and 328s. James Clay's BimmerWorld team has retired their M3s, but will have three 328is in this race. Insight Racing decided not to re-build the ex-RRT 328 and will have a 128i, with Ashburn's Ryan Ellis as one of the drivers.

Say 'hi' if you see me there.

01-23-2012, 01:40 PM
James Clay on the decision to drop the M3 campaign:

Preparing for its third season in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, BimmerWorld will go back to basics in 2012 - concentrating on the Street Tuner Class in 2012 with a three-car effort.

After winning a pair of ST races and challenging for the championship in its 2010 rookie season, BimmerWorld branched out to field a pair of cars in both divisions last year. While the team placed sixth overall in the season-opening race at Daytona, it proved to be the best finish of the season, with BimmerWorld 12th and 15th in the final Grand Sport standings. The team also had its best ST result at Daytona, placing third, but managed to match that result only one more time during the campaign, finishing 11th and 14th in the final standings.

"The 2011 results just aren't really acceptable for us," team owner James Clay said. "We did get decent finishes in the GS cars at Daytona, but certainly our cars were better later in the year. The team really put a lot of effort and hard work getting up to speed in GS."

Clay said as the team was developing the car throughout the year, it was also putting together a big work list for the off season to do more testing and development on the GS car. At the same time, the ST team was putting together its own list.

"It came down to the decision where we were going to have massive programs for each class," Clay said. "It was going to cost big money for each. Financially, it didn't make sense to do both, just because of the level of commitment required. We chose the ST program to focus on."

For 2012, Clay returns to ST in the No. 80 BMW. The drivers are yet to be announced for the No. 81, while Seth Thomas will anchor the new No. 82. CRC Industries will be expanding their support as a partner for the 2012 team.

BimmerWorld started off in the SCCA World Challenge, winning five races between the 2007 and 2009 seasons.

The team came to the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge in 2010. Thomas and Bill Heumann won at Lime Rock Park and Mid-Ohio, and seemed headed to the ST title before the car sustained a driveline problem in the opening laps of the 2010 finale at Salt Lake City. The car was repaired and finished 20th, putting the two BimmerWorld drivers in a tie for the lead atop the final standings. The title came down to a triple-tiebreaker, with Compass360 Racing drivers Lawson Aschenbach and David Thilenius awarded the championship by virtue of finishing third in the season finale.

"We had it locked up late in the race," Clay recalled. "Then a car in front of the Compass360 dropped out of the race, and all of a sudden that gave them the finish they needed for the tie-breaker. It was wild."

Clay and Thomas co-drove in GS this past season, scoring their best finish at New Jersey Motorsports Park, where they placed seventh. Capestro-Dubets and Greg Liefooghe managed podium finishes at Daytona and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to lead the team's best efforts in ST.

BimmerWorld's renowned group of technicians and engineers will remain unchanged in 2012, giving Clay every reason to feel confident about the team's pursuit of the ST championship.

"We will have both our 2010 ST engineer Wayne Yawn and our 2011 ST engineer David Wagener leading the charge," he said. "They have very complimentary capabilities and the extra car will give us more opportunity to develop and blend ideas to produce a frontrunner. Additionally, our driver lineup is one that I am very proud of, with three cars that truly have the capability to win the championship. Race results definitely have a luck factor and having another ticket in the lottery is a good thing."

01-24-2012, 04:58 PM
Speed.com's GT Class preview:

The race will be shown on Speed Saturday from 3:30 to 11pm and again at 900am to the 3:30 conclusion. A 1 hour pre-race show is on at 2:30pm.