DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Fresh from winning the inaugural 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona Driver Challenge presented by Sunoco, British champion Derek Johnston will test a Daytona Prototype on Nov. 3-4 at Virginia International Raceway to begin his preparation to drive in the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Johnston won a coveted driver's seat in America's premier sports car race by scoring the highest average point total among registered drivers competing in the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series, the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, the Radical UK Cup and the SPEED sports prototype series in 2009. Johnston, a 47-year-old resident of Nottingham, has won the Radical UK Cup the past two years, in addition to winning Radical's European Masters championship.
Johnston had the highest average score, based on race finishes, pole positions and fastest race laps. As a result, he will have a funded seat in a Daytona Prototype at the Jan. 30-31 Rolex 24 At Daytona, the opening round of the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 and the kick-off event on the international motorsports schedule. He also will test at Daytona on Dec. 8-9, 2009, and Jan. 8-10, 2010.
First, Johnston will test the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Porsche Coyote in the VIR session, working with GRAND-AM Rolex Series veteran Guy Cosmo. The Daytona Beach-based team will also have its No. 90 Porsche Coyote at the session.
"We will give him the opportunity to run many laps to see how he likes it," said team owner Troy Flis. "I think the Daytona Prototype will be a real good fit for him, coming from racing the Radical prototype, because both cars are similar. I think it's a real cool deal for Derek. He should get up to speed quickly, he just needs to get used to the greater weight of the Daytona Prototype."
Prior to traveling to Virginia, Johnston will visit Daytona Beach, where Cosmo will take him around the famed Speedway in a passenger car.
"I can't wait to get to drive a Daytona Prototype," Johnston said. "I've been watching plenty of videos, and it looks awesome. I just found out about testing at Virginia, so I'll be watching plenty of videos of that circuit. I can't wait. I hope it's like Rockingham in the U.K., because I'm quite good at Rockingham. This is a phenomenal opportunity, and I can't wait to get there and see the car and meet the teams."
"The Roar Before the Rolex 24" test is set for Jan. 8-10, 2010 at Daytona International Speedway, when spectators are invited to watch competitors in the Rolex Series and GRAND-AM KONI Sports Car Challenge prepare for the 2010 season. Rolex Series competitors will also test at Daytona on Dec. 8-9, 2009.
Tickets for the 48th anniversary of the Rolex 24 are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.