2010 Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge winner Ross Kaiser makes first visit to DIS
As Kaiser continues his preparation for the 49th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 29-30, the British racer took a tour of the “World Center of Racing” and rode as a passenger around the newly repaved track in a street car with veteran driver JC France.
Kaiser, the 2010 Radical UK Cup champion, posted the top point average among competitors in four major British racing series to win the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge and earn a funded seat in a Daytona Prototype for America’s premier sports car event.
“I’m just trying to take it all in,” Kaiser said. “It’s my first visit to Daytona. It’s such a huge place. The spectacle of racing here is absolutely fantastic. I’m just soaking up the atmosphere and seeing all the hard work that is going on getting ready for the Rolex 24.”
This is the second year that the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge has been contested in Europe. The competition, which last year awarded a driver’s seat in the Rolex 24 At Daytona to England’s Derek Johnston, is staged among racers in four high-caliber Sunoco-fueled race championships: the Avon Tyres British GT Championship; the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series; Radical UK Cup and SPEED Sports Prototype Series.
Kaiser earned the maximum amount of points in his season-ending events at Silverstone to help propel himself to the victory in the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge.
“It was getting pretty intense,” said Kasier, who was in a tight points battle with British F3 Series driver Jean-Eric Vergne. “It was a bit too exciting for my liking.”
For Kaiser, he believes the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge could be a career-changing opportunity.
“The package that they have put together back in the UK really gives someone like me a chance to further my career and put (myself) on the map in the U.S.,” Kaiser said. “It’s a dream come true.”
Kaiser, who will drive the No. 77 McDonald’s Ford/Dallara in the Rolex 24, recently tested the Daytona Prototype for the first time at Virginia International Raceway and is testing again this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The test sessions is helping him get use to the bigger and heavier Daytona Prototype as well as other nuances such as a sequential stick shift and the heat from car, all of which he is not accustomed to in his Radical UK machine.
He will have his first opportunity to turn competitive laps at Daytona International Speedway during the Roar Before The Rolex 24 on Jan. 7-9.
“We come back here for the Roar, which should be great. The driver lineup will be finalized. You really get to jell with the other drivers in the team and it’ll be the only chance I get to run here before the Rolex 24. I’m really looking forward to that test.”
Tickets for the 49th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as the Roar Before The Rolex 24 are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.