HAPPILY HEAD FOR ROUND 2 OF THE 2009 GRAND-AM ROLEX SPORTS CAR SERIES AT VIR
After a long, long time between races, it could fairly be said that rising star Dane Cameron and the Racers Edge Motorsports team is literally itchin' to go racing. And their next opportunity comes up this weekend at Round 2 of the 2009 Grand Am Rolex Sports Car series season, the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway.
Cameron, who won in an open-wheel car at VIR in 2007 on his way to the Star Mazda Championship, will co-drive four races in the #30 Racers Edge / Marquis Jet / Total Petroleum / Piloti Mazda RX-8 with a new teammate, Bryce Miller, a young Grand-Am veteran with a record of one victory and 20 top-10 finishes in 27 Rolex Series starts. Cameron also has some recent 'tin-top' experience at the challenging 17-turn, 3.27-mile circuit; he ran a 6-hour Koni Challenge race there at the end of the 2008 season. And his driver coaching duties for the championship-winning JDC Motorsports Star Mazda Championship team had him spending quality time at the circuit as late as last week.
"I'm very happy to be going racing again after such a long layoff, particularly with it being a sprint race instead of an endurance event like Daytona," says the rising star from Sonoma, California. "And although I'm sorry that my co-driver from Daytona, Doug Petersen, won't be sharing the car with me, I'm happy to share the driving with Bryce. We've tested together and he's fast and we like the car set up the same way and work well together. The track is long and fast with some technical sections, but overall it flows very well and is a real pleasure to drive. We ran the Grand-Am series test several weeks ago and were easily among the fastest of the GT cars, so I think we have a good chance of a strong finish at VIR."
In Round 1 of the 2009 season, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Racers Edge team persevered through electrical problems and a sudden illness that sidelined one of the drivers to become the second GT-Class Mazda RX-8 to cross the finish line after 647 laps and twice-around-the-clock. The team finished 13th in the GT class (24th overall) in a starting field of 49 cars. Cameron turned a lap of 1:50.290 (95.937 mph) on lap 210, a figure that stood as the fastest race lap until the closing stages of the event, and wound up as the second-fastest lap turned by a GT car during the entire 24 hours.
Cameron arrived at this point in his career via an accomplished climb up the open-wheel ladder. Driving for Genoa Racing in the ultra-competitive 2008 Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, Cameron started from the pole once and scored two podiums and five top-5 finishes, finishing seventh in the championship during his rookie season.
In 2007, he was both series champion and Rookie of the Year in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear with three wins, six pole positions, five podium finishes and two top-5s. In 2006, Cameron was the Rookie of the Year and finished second in the F2000 championship and, as a Team USA Scholarship driver, he won the 2006 Palmer Audi Winter Championship in Europe. In 2005, he was the SCCA Formula Jim Russell Series champion and Rookie of the Year. His karting career, beginning in 2000, was similarly successful, including the 2003 Jim Russell Karting 80cc Junior Shifter Championship and a 2004 finalist in the Red Bull Driver Search. Cameron's long-time personal sponsors include the Finlay Motorsports Driver Development Program, Lynx Racing, Rett.org, Nearburg Exploration and Sparco USA.
Racers Edge is a former Star Mazda team that won back-to-back championships in 2002 with Guy Cosmo and 2003 with Luis Schiavo before moving up to the Grand-Am series in 2007. Under the guidance of President, Team Manager (and former driver) Jon Mirachi, Racers Edge has established itself as one of the premier teams in North American road racing with substantial achievements in both open wheel racing and sports cars. In the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex GT series, Racers Edge led three races, scoring five top-5 and ten top-10 finishes. In 2008, racing the same Mazda RX-8 they will field this season, the team again led three races and scored three top-10 finishes.
This weekend is Round 2 of the 2009 season, the Bosch Engineering 250 at the 3.27-mile Virginia International Raceway, April 24-25. The race will be 250 miles or 2-hours 45-minutes, whichever comes first. Practice starts on Friday April 24, with the 15-minute GT qualifying session scheduled from 4 - 4:15 pm. The race is scheduled to take the green flag at 2:30 pm Saturday, April 25 and will be broadcast live on SPEED TV.