Grand Am: Rolex 24 Preview
This weekend marks the start of the 2013 season for the Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototypes. The teams and drivers will start the season off with the grueling 24 Hours at Daytona. 2012 saw the Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype make its competition debut, which captured eight Daytona Prototype victories as well as the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Series Engine Manufacturers’ Championship. This season, Corvette looks to build on the strength achieved in 2012. This season the Rolex Sports Car Series will see six Corvette DP teams compete, including the newly established 8Star Motorsports, which will field the No. 3 Corvette DP. The team name is symbolic for the eight stars that adorn the Venezuelan flag. With a firm commitment on the Daytona Prototype title, Potolicchio has assembled an impressive lineup of drivers for his team’s debut race. Joining him at the wheel of the No. 3 Corvette DP are Stephane Sarrazin, Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Minassian and Pedro Lamy, all former factory drivers from the now-defunct Peugeot LMP1 program.
“It’s amazing what the team has done over the last ten weeks,” Potolicchio said. “We had an empty workshop until the car showed up just a few months ago and things started moving into place. We accomplished our first big goal by getting to Daytona for the Roar and we were able to learn a lot there and collect data before coming back here for the Rolex 24. “The lineup we have is just amazing. Having Anthony, Stephane, Nico and Pedro here with us adds a lot of endurance racing experience. That’s going to pay off in this race. I also think we have the best combination with Chevy, Corvette and the support of Pratt & Miller. Now being part of the Chevy family, we’re seeing all of the benefits of racing with them. We definitely have a car to win the race and it would be a dream start for our new team.”
8Star will join Action Express Racing, which fields two entries: the No. 5 and No. 9 Corvette DPs. Long-time Team Chevy partner Wayne Taylor Racing will field the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP. Filling out the Team Chevy Rolex DP roster are the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP. and the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP. The nr90 DP will be piloted by Richard Westbrook, Antonio Garcia, Ricky Taylor, and Oliver Gavin. Gavin is poised to capture Corvettes first overall victory at Daytona since 2001.
“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” says Gavin. “It’s going to be one of the best shots for overall victory that I’ve had. This team is well prepared, having had the car for a season now, and I am driving with three excellent drivers who have a lot of experience in this car. I feel confident we can take a victory. “We have strength in depth at SDR, but there are so many great line ups this year – in cars that have the speed and experience to win – that we’re going to need a very special day, but we’ll need to have luck on our side though. As with all endurance races, we have to stay out of trouble, out of the pits and be as consistent as possible. To win this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona you’ll have to work hard to get through the traffic and really earn the win. That just makes it more rewarding though.”
Fans at Daytona International Speedway for the Rolex 24 will also have the opportunity to experience the Team Chevy Racing Display, which was filled with show cars, production vehicles, Chevrolet Performance Parts crate engines, and parts and accessories. They are invited to participate in question-and-answer sessions with all Corvette DP drivers. “We’re excited to offer fans of the Rolex 24 a Chevy destination in the DIS infield,” said Maria Stenbom, Chevy Racing Motorsports Marketing Digital & Social/Manager, GRAND-AM. “The Team Chevy Racing Display will have something for everyone. Fans will have the opportunity to ask questions of drivers Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor and Richard Westbrook, Darren Law and Jon Fogarty, and spend time with one of our friendly product specialists and learn more about Chevy’s great vehicle lineup.
The 51st running of the Rolex 24-Hour will start at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 26 and conclude 24 hours later Sunday afternoon. Live coverage and links for this race can be found at http://www.corvettemotorsport.com/daytona24