CGR DRIVERS READY FOR ROLEX 24
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is ready for the Rolex 24 at Daytona Roar Before the Rolex 24
January 6, 2013 By: Adam Sinclair
Chip Ganassi racing drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, left, Dario Franchitti, second from left, and Jamie McMurray, right, share a laugh during preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 5, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida
When you think about the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car series, most people's first thought is seeing lead driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, Scott Pruett, saying hi to his family at home. This weekend, the organization returned to the birthplace of speed, the Daytona International Speedway, to prepare for the Rolex 24 At Daytona later this month. The six-time and reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Cars Series Champions (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012) and four-time Rolex 24 At Daytona Winners (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011) Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) completed three days of testing at Daytona International Speedway in the Roar before the Rolex 24, and are hopeful for another championship season in 2013.
The No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley piloted by Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Juan Pablo Montoya and Charlie Kimball finished the test fourth overall with a 1:42:463, while the No. 02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley of Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Jamie McMurray and Joey Hand finished fifth with a time of 1:42:598 . The No.6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley with Cumming, Valiante, Goncalvez, and Yacaman topped the charts with a 1:42:058.
Montoya was happy to be reunited with Pruett in the No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley for the upcoming Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona. The duo won back-to-back races in 2007 and 2008.
“This has really been a great experience," stated Charlie Kimball, driver of the No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley. "Chip (Ganassi) has put together a great group of individuals from three different series and I’m learning a lot from all of them. I’ve gotten quite a bit of time in the car and I’ve had to get used to a lot of things; like getting use to a roof, driving at a new track and even driving at night. I haven’t driven at night since my go-karting days. The guys (Memo, Scott and Juan) have been great in helping me and it’s a testament to the group of drivers Chip has put together. I’m really looking forward to being a part of and contributing to the Rolex 24 At Daytona.”
Kimball, driver of the No. 83 car for Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series, made his GRAND-AM debut during the three-day test session..
Teams tested in rainy conditions on the first day of the test session, followed by a 12-hour day on Saturday that finished off with teams running under the lights.
“We had a good couple of days testing," added Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley. "It’s always fun to get in these cars. It was a first for me to get in the car while it was raining but I turned some quick laps (on Friday) and we ended up on top of the leaderboard that session. What a different experience that is, but still fun. We’ve got a great driver line-up and what a diverse group it is. We all learn something from each other and the race should be really exciting. I’m looking forward to it.”
On the final day of testing, the No. 02 opted to run the morning session but sat out the afternoon practice as they were hoping to get track time in the rain in the No. 02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley, which never happened.
The 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season opens with the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 26- 27 (LIVE on SPEED).
Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 25 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world. Today his teams include three in the IZOD IndyCar Series, two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and one Daytona Prototype in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. Overall his teams have 15 championships and 150 victories, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400 and four Rolex 24 At Daytonas. Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Brownsburg, Ind. and Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Penn.
For more information log onto chipganassiracing.com.