Three-Day Test at Daytona International Speedway
‘Roar Before The Rolex 24,’ the final test session prior to this month’s 24-hour classic, starts Saturday
Teams from the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 will get a head start on the 2009 season Jan. 3-5 with three days of testing at Daytona International Speedway.
Known as the "Roar before the Rolex 24," the session is the lone scheduled testing at the speedway prior to the 47th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Jan. 24-25. All three days of the session are open to the public for $10 admission, which includes access to the infield, Sprint FANZONE and garage. Saturday's session also includes fan forums, including drivers from GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Banner Racing and Hyper Sport.
Saturday's schedule opens with Rolex Series practice at 9 a.m., and includes night practice running through 8 p.m. Sunday's schedule runs from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m., with Monday's activities running from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge will also test all three days in preparation for its Jan. 23 season-opening Fresh From Florida 200 at Daytona.
Nearly 50 entries have been received for the test, which will feature 19 Daytona Prototypes and 29 GT entries.
TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will have a pair of Lexus-powered Rileys in preparation for a potential fourth consecutive victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, including the No. 01 of defending series champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.
Five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Hurley Haywood is part of a two-car Brumos Racing entry, with Michael Shank Racing, Penske Racing and Krohn Racing also entering two cars. Other entries include 2007 co-champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, with three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson set to join them for the Rolex 24; 2005 Rolex 24 winners and series champions Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor; 1995 Rolex 24 winner Christophe Bouchot, for Level Five Motorsports; Childress-Howard Motorsports, making its Rolex 24 debut with three-time event winner Andy Wallace; and Spirit of Daytona Racing, featuring motorcycle champions Scott Russell, Jeff Ward and Jason Pridmore.
Several of the teams, including Ganassi, Penske and Shank, are also expected to announce their Rolex 24 driver lineups at the test.
TRG and Farnbacher Loles Racing both have five Porsche GT3s entered in the test to head the GT lineup. Defending Rolex 24 class winner SpeedSource will have a pair of Mazda RX-8s, while 2008 champions Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards share the No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R with Jan Magnussen.
The GT entry also includes three Corvettes and a pair of Ferrari 430s.