GRAND-AM visits the historic Road Atlanta circuit for the first time on Saturday, April 20, with a pair of races featuring the Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.The Rolex Series will compete in a two-hour, 45-minute race, at 4:30 p.m. ET (SPEED, live). The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will hold a two-hour, 30-minute race, starting at 11:30 a.m. (SPEED, April 27, 2 p.m. ET).Many GRAND-AM drivers are familiar with the ultra-quick 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit and the unique challenges it presents for drivers and teams.It's difficult, it's tough, said Daytona Prototype points co-leader Scott Pruett, who drives the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley and is returning to race at Road Atlanta for the first time in several years. It's one of those places where it's going to take a good balance of the race car to kind of get down through the esses and then obviously trying to blend how much downforce you run for drag down the back straight.
Im excited to get there, and it's been a lot of years, but we can hardly wait to get on track on Thursday.It's going to be very challenging because of the racetrack layout, added No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP driver Max Angelelli, who also has considerable previous experience at Road Atlanta. You have slow speed corners and a very long straight. It's going to be a little bit like Circuit of The Americas where teams will take different paths; more downforce, then you have to pay consequences on the long straight, or less downforce and you pay consequences on the slow corners. DP Title Fight Brewing Among Three Leading Rolex Series WinnersThrough the first three rounds of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season, three Daytona Prototype teams have established themselves as early championship favorites. Each with one win this season, these three teamsseparated by a mere five pointsrepresent the three winningest organizations in DP class history.
In one corner, the defending championsTELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. With a win from the pole in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas established themselves early on as title favorites. Winners of the last three DP championships, Pruett (39 wins) and Rojas (26 wins) are also the leading winners in class history. Pruett is the lone five-time Rolex Series champion while Rojas four titles are second on the all-time list. Chip Ganassi Racing has won six of the 10 total DP class championships.In the other corner, the challengersGAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing. Wayne Taylor Racing and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing finished 1-2 last weekend at Barber Motorsports Park and are second and third all-time, respectively, in DP team victories points behind series-leading Chip Ganassi Racing (93-91), while Wayne Taylor Racing sits five points out of the top spot (93-88).Combined, these three teams have accounted for 78 victories, 192 podiums, 85 poles and nine of the 10 championships in DP history.Cameron Promotes This Weekends Race At Road Atlanta With Special Lap at Braves GameMajor League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day earlier this week by having all of its players wear the No. 42 to salute the man who broke the sports color barrier 66 years ago.
GRAND-AM joined in the festivities at Atlantas Turner Field Tuesday night, with Team Sahlen driver Dane Cameron taking the No. 42 BMW/Riley Daytona Prototype for a lap around the field in the seventh inning of the Braves game against the Kansas City Royals.Prior to the game, Cameron signed autographs at a Road Atlanta display outside the ballpark, while the red, yellow and black DP was staged in the parking lot.It was really neat and must have made for some awesome photos, Cameron said. It was pretty wild being in front of the gate waiting to go on the field. Ive never been that close on a Major League Baseball field like that before. Just having the car sitting there waiting to go out was very special, that doesnt happen every day.Cameron did a slow parade lap around the field, revving the engine repeatedly for the enthusiastic crowd.Everyone seemed to be on their feet and everyone seemed to like it, he said. Hopefully well see them out at Road Atlanta this weekend.Rolex Series, Etc.Rolex 24 Winner Donohue Returns To BGB For Road Altanta: David Donohue earned a victory in with Napleton Racing in the Rolex Series GX class debut in the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona.Donohue will return to the class this weekend at Road Atlanta, co-driving the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman with GX points leader Dr. Jim Norman. Norman is undefeated in three GX races, winning the Rolex 24 with Napleton and taking victories at Circuit of The Americas and Barber Motorsports Park with BGB.Donohue was a regular in the Daytona Prototype ranks from 2003 through 2012 with Brumos Racing and Action Express Racing, winning four racesincluding the 2009 Rolex 24and eight poles.Action Express Lineup Change: Action Express Racing has shuffled its driver lineup for the Grand Prix of Atlanta. Joao Barbosa moves from the teams No. 9 Corvette DP to join Christian Fittipaldi, while Brian Frisselle moves from the No. 5 to join his brother, Burt Frisselle.
Action Express Racing also shuffled its lineup prior to last years race at Detroit Belle Isle, and the team responded with a 1-2 finish.Notes: John McCutchen returns to GT competition, driving with Park Place Motorsports in conjunction with Godstone Ranch and the American Heart Association. Jason Hart will co-drive the No. 71 Porsche GT3.With team regular and Austin winner Bill Auberlen competing in Saturdays American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron race at Long Beach, Calif., Billy Johnson will co-drive the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 with Paul Dalla Lana.Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge regular Andrew Carbonell will co-drive the No. 00 Visit Florida Racing/Speedsource Mazda6 with Joel Miller. Carbonell made his GX class debut with Freedom Autosport at the Rolex 24, finishing fifth. Corporate Corner Pacing the field during this weekends inaugural GRAND-AM races at Road Atlanta will be the 580-horsepower Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The same Camaro will also pace the Chevrolet GRAND-AM Detroit 200 in June. Microsoft Visual Studio has signed on to sponsor the inaugural GRAND-AM race weekend at Road Atlanta. Saturdays headlining race for the Rolex Series is the Visual Studio Ultimate Grand Prix of Atlanta. The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race on Saturday morning is the PricewaterhouseCoopers 250. PwC joins the weekend activities through Visual Studios Team to Win themed activation.
Real Deal Holyfield To Back Berg Racing Porsche; Smith To DebutEvander The Real Deal Holyfield will have a rooting interest when he attends Saturdays PricewaterhouseCoopers 250.
Holyfields Real Deal BBQ Sauce will co-sponsor the No. 40 Berg Racing Porsche Boxster co-driven by John Weisberg and Jonathan Smith.
Holyfield was boxings lone five-time world heavyweight champion, with his record including victories over George Foreman, Larry Holmes and two triumphs over Mike Tyson. Accompanying him to the race will be Henry Tillman, who won the gold medal in the heavyweight division in the 1984 Olympics.
Smith, who will be making his GRAND-AM debut in the event, is a graduate of NASCARs Drive for Diversity program and a competitor in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. The 26-year-old native of Beacon Falls, Conn., scored a fifth-place finish at Iowa Speedway in his second K&N Pro Series East race in 2007, and finished 11th in the 2009 championship.Weisberg is the owner and team principal of Berg Racing, based in Webster, N.Y. The two-time IMSA Lites champion (2009-10) is in his second year of Continental Sports Car Challenge competition, occasionally co-driving with his wife, Dinah Weisberg.