Nov 17 | Rolex Series, Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Kick Off Two-Day Test

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One day after its unveiling, the Corvette Daytona Prototype took its first laps at Daytona to highlight the opening of a two-day GRAND-AM test for the Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.

Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- One day after its unveiling, the Corvette Daytona Prototype took its first laps at Daytona International Speedway to highlight the opening of a two-day GRAND-AM test for the Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Testing for both series concludes Thursday, with cars on track from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Antonio Garcia and Oliver Gavin piloted the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette, one of six Daytona Prototypes to participate in preparation for the 50th anniversary running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, which opens the 2012 Rolex Series season on Jan. 28-29.

The lone incident of the day saw Enzo Potolicchio spin and impact a barrier near the chicane in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley. He was unhurt while the car sustained splitter and nose damage. The car is expected to be repaired for Thursday’s session.

Four production-based Rolex Series GT cars also participated. In addition, 20 cars from the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge cars also tested.

The Surprises
-- European stars Lucas Luhr and J.K. Vernay both joined Starworks Motorsport for the test, sharing the team’s No. 2 Ford/Riley with Alex Popow. Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio are back in the No. 8 Ford/Riley that won the 2011 season-ending race at Mid-Ohio.
-- Brian Johnson, lead singer for AC/DC, tested 50+ Racing/Predator’s No. 50 BMW/Riley, joined by Byron DeFoor and former Rolex 24 winners Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Jim Pace and Carlos de Queseda.
-- Skateboard legend Bucky Lasek and Grammy Award-winning music producer Jim Jonsin debuted Rebel Rock Racing’s GRAND-AM team, which will compete in the 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Jonsin and Lasek tested the team’s No. 08 Porsche GT3, while Jon Miller joined Gary and Mark Jensen in the team’s No. 07 Porsche.
-- Chris Knox, champion of the British Mini Challenge Cup, tested the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro – his first time behind the wheel of a race car in the United States.

The Quotes:
-- "This is just the first day, so we have to take it step by step. This week is all about learning as many details about the car as possible and getting it ready for the December test. It's all just a learning process at this point. The car doesn't really feel that much different than last year. Basically 80 percent of what we had last year is on this car. The difference is there is a lot more room for improvement now. Last year I think we hit our ceiling, we got everything out of that car that we could. Once we learn this new car I think we'll be much faster everywhere.” Antonio Garcia, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP.

“It’s nice to be out there in the company of giants. I’ve been running in vintage racing, but this is the pointy end of racing. I’m very committed and determined to do well – I don’t want to let our boys down.” Brian Johnson, AC/DC lead singer and driver of the No. 50 50+ Racing/Predator BMW/Riley

“This is my first time here and my first time in this car. It’s pretty cool to drive. It doesn’t have as much downforce as my Indy Lights car – kind of like a giant go-kart, with a lot more horsepower. I had a good time out there, and my lap times were pretty good.” JK Vernay, No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley

“I think I take my willingness to walk that line; being aware of my surroundings and being able to push the limits; I’m used to skating, so I’m used to executing tricks very precisely. Taking tricks – and turning them into turns – is easy stuff for me. Testing here is learning about being competitive and not making rookie mistakes. That’s why I’ve done a lot of club racing that’s got me to this level. I’m looking forward to getting out and mixing it up with the boys.” Bucky Lasek, No. 08 Rebel Rock Racing Porsche GT3, on the transition from X-Games skateboarding champion to running in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge

“We’re working on refining every little thing we can. We’re trying to make sure we stay on top of the game. That’s why team owner Louis Bacardi is here. We’re doing things at this test we would have no time to do during a race weekend.” Nick Longhi, No. 13 Rum Bum Racing BMW M3, winner of the last two runnings of the GRAND-AM 200 at Daytona.

“We brought two identical Subarus here because having double the cars, means double the testing and double the track time. We can go with polar opposites of each other on the setups, and learn what works best for when we come back here in January.” Brett Spaude, No. 35/135 Subaru Road Racing Team Subaru WRX-STI

Coming Up:
The two-day test wraps up on Thursday. The Rolex Series will have three one-hour sessions, while the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will have three 45-minute outings. The next activity for the Rolex Series will be a two-day test at Daytona International Speedway on Dec. 6-7.  The 2012 Rolex Series opens with the Jan 28-29 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. There will also be the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 5-8.

Nov 16 | 1970 Rolex 24 Overall Champion No. 2 Gulf Porsche 917 Joins the 50th Anniversary Display

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The No. 2 Gulf Porsche 917, which captured the overall victory in the 1970 Rolex 24, will join the display of Rolex 24 At Daytona championship cars at the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 on Jan. 28-29.

1970 Gulf Porsche

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The No. 2 light blue and orange Gulf Porsche 917 fielded by John Wyer, which captured the overall victory in the 1970 Rolex 24 At Daytona, will join the display of overall Rolex 24 At Daytona championship cars to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the twice-around-the-clock challenge on Jan. 28-29.

Driven by Pedro Rodriguez of Mexico, Leo Kinnunen of Finland and Englishman Brian Redman, the No. 2 John Wyer Gulf Porsche 917 dominated the 1970 Rolex 24 At Daytona winning by 45 laps over its sister car, the No. 1 Gulf Porsche 917.

Rodriguez, who scored his third of four Rolex 24 victories in 1970, won his first at the 24-hour distance. He was behind the wheel when the No. 2 Gulf Porsche 917 took the lead two hours and 35 minutes into the race and never looked back.

Redman holds the unusual distinction of driving on both the first and second place cars. Redman and Jo Siffert teamed up to drive the No. 1 Gulf Porsche 917. But the No. 2 Gulf Porsche crew was having difficulty communicating with Kinnunen and Redman filled in for a shift.

The No. 2 Gulf Porsche 917 joins the field of historic championship cars in the display:
• The No. 96 Arciero Racing Lotus-Climax 19B  from the inaugural Rolex 24 (then known as the Daytona Continental) in 1962
• 1966 Rolex 24-winning No. 98 Ford GT Mark II
• 1968 Rolex 24-winning Porsche 907
• 1969 Rolex24-winning No. 6 Lola T70 Chevrolet
• 1977 Rolex 24-winning No. 43 Porsche 911 RSR
• 1981 Rolex 24-winning No. 9 Bob Garretson’s Style Auto Porsche 935
• 1982 Rolex 24-winning No. 18 JLP Porsche 935
• The Preston Henn Porsches from the 1983 and 1985 Rolex 24s
• 1993 Rolex 24-winning No. 98 Eagle GTP

Additional cars will be announced as they are secured to be part of this one-of-a-kind display.

The Rolex 24 At Daytona, the kick-off event to Speedweeks 2012 as well as the international motorsports calendar, showcases the world’s best drivers competing against each other lap after lap for 24 hours on Daytona International Speedway’s challenging and demanding 3.56-mile road course.

Tickets for the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona are on sale online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

Nov 15 | NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Teams Test at Daytona International Speedway

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Seven drivers took part in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test session in an effort to evaluate and prepare aerodynamic baseline packages for Speedweeks 2012 and the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Seven drivers took part in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test session on Tuesday at historic Daytona International Speedway in an effort to evaluate and prepare aerodynamic baseline packages for January’s Preseason Thunder testing sessions as well as Speedweeks 2012 and the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26.

Teams that took part in the test included Hendrick Motorsports (two cars with drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Aric Almirola); Roush Fenway Racing (two cars with drivers David Ragan and Marcos Ambrose); Joe Gibbs Racing (one car with driver Joey Logano), Michael Waltrip Racing (one car with driver Martin Truex Jr.) and NEMCO Motorsports (one car with driver Joe Nemechek).

After the track was dried following morning rain showers, teams took to the track at 11:45 a.m. The initial restrictor plate size was 29/32 inch and the initial spoiler size was 4 ½ inches tall, 63 inches wide, which was the same spoiler size for last July’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona.

By day’s end, the size of the rear spoiler had been reduced to 3 inches tall by 62 inches wide. The smaller spoiler results in less down force and drag, but still allows the cars to maintain high speeds yet still under control.

“We’re pleased to host NASCAR for the one-day test as they continue to work on key elements for racing here at Daytona International Speedway,” Track President Joie Chitwood III said. “This test session was another important step for NASCAR as they develop the aerodynamic package for Speedweeks 2012 and the 54th annual Daytona 500. We will continue to work together leading into the 2012 season.”

Said Earnhardt Jr.: “I still feel positive about finding a solution. I felt like when we came down here it was going to take more than one day of testing to get there. This is part of the work. This is part of the work that has got to get done. Whether we find a solution or not today, we know a lot of things about what we learned today and we’re better off than we were yesterday.

“I didn’t anticipate coming down here and finding the magical solution. I just knew we needed to come down here and get some work done and figure out what we can while we’re here. This is an important thing to do. We also got an opportunity to work on our fuel injection. That’s all going really well. We’re going to be better off and smarter than what we were before we got here today. Hopefully that helps us and gives us an opportunity going forward with NASCAR and their engineering staff to come up with a solution.”

“There’s no doubt they’ll figure it out and I think what they’re trying to figure out is how they want to get to the end result,” said Truex Jr., driver of the No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota. “I think they know what they want and if they know what they want, they’ll figure out how to get it. They’re smart enough to know how these cars work.  So, I think right now it’s just a matter of going through a few steps to see if the changes that they’re thinking of doing will do exactly what they think they will.”

Testing will continue at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday and Thursday as approximately 40 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge entries will turn laps on the 3.56-mile road course in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29 and the GRAND-AM 200 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race on Jan. 27.

Among the GRAND-AM teams expected to be testing include Predator Performance/50+ Racing and AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson, Spirit of Daytona, Michael Shank Racing, Brumos Porsche, Stevenson Motorsports, Rum Bum Racing and Rebel Rock Racing.

A section of the Oldfield Grandstands will be open free to the public with access available through the lobby of the Daytona International Speedway ticket office.

For information and tickets on all Daytona International Speedway events, go online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by call 1-800-PITSHOP.

Nov 15 | DIS, PRS Guitars Partner to Deliver Top-Notch Entertainment and a Unique Trophy for the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona

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DIS and Paul Reed Smith Guitars (PRS Guitars) have partnered to bring top-notch entertainment to the historic 50th Rolex 24 as well as add another incentive to win the prestigious twice-around-the-clock challenge.

50th PRS Guitar

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona International Speedway and Paul Reed Smith Guitars (PRS Guitars) have joined forces to bring top-notch entertainment to the historic 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as add another incentive for teams to win the prestigious twice-around-the-clock challenge on Jan. 28-29.

Through a partnership with the “World Center of Racing,” Daytona International Speedway and PRS Guitars will showcase three different concerts during the two-day Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season-opening event to the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season.

Guitar sensation Orianthi, whose solo debut album “Believe” featured the hit singles “According to You” and “Shut Up and Kiss Me,” will take to the Entertainment Stage in the Sprint FANZONE on Saturday night, Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. British blues guitar singer Davy Knowles will perform on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 11 a.m.

In addition, the overall winning team from the North America’s premier sports car race will be presented with a specially designed, limited edition 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona PRS Private Stock guitar in Gatorade Victory Lane.

The Private Stock guitar will be wrapped in 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona livery and will have a rosewood fingerboard, mahogany back and sides and a figured maple top with matching headstock veneer.

Sports car fans will also have a rare opportunity to win their own specially designed 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona PRS Private Stock guitar through a special promotion with PRS Guitars and Guitar Aficionado magazine, which will award two VIP experiences to the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The VIP Experiences include:
• 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona PRS Private Stock guitar signed by past winners of the Rolex 24
• All-access credentials for the Rolex 24 At Daytona
• Hot lap rides around Daytona International Speedway in a passenger vehicle with four-time Rolex 24 champion Scott Pruett
• One Magnum of Pruett’s 50th anniversary commemorative Rolex 24 At Daytona Syrah
• VIP suite access during the Rolex 24
• Visit in the starter stand during the Rolex 24 and a private behind the scenes tour of the race control, TV operations, garage area and a team transporter
• Access to Gatorade Victory Lane for the post-race victory celebration

For more information and how enter the contest, visit www.GuitarAficionado.com/PRSGrandAm

The Rolex 24 At Daytona, the kick-off event to Speedweeks 2012 as well as the international motorsports calendar, showcases the world’s best drivers competing against each other lap after lap for 24 hours on Daytona International Speedway’s challenging and demanding 3.56-mile road course.

Tickets for the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona are on sale online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

Nov 15 | Chevrolet Unveils 2012 Corvette Daytona Prototype

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Chevrolet unveiled its 2012 Corvette Daytona Prototype at Daytona International Speedway. The Corvette Daytona Prototype will make its competitive debut in the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 January 28-29.

Chevrolet Corvette

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chevrolet unveiled its 2012 Corvette Daytona Prototype at Daytona International Speedway. The Corvette Daytona Prototype will make its competitive debut in the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29.

“Racing and performance are the founding principles of Chevrolet, and bringing the Corvette Daytona Prototype to GRAND-AM is a tremendous opportunity,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “The opportunity for innovation is what makes the Daytona Prototype Class such a good fit for Chevrolet. Sports car and endurance racing is an outstanding platform for manufacturers like us to test and learn. The design of this race car incorporates iconic Corvette styling cues and will be immediately recognized by sports car enthusiasts and fans of GRAND-AM Road Racing. We are excited to see the Corvette DP compete in the legendary Rolex 24 at Daytona next January.”

The new Corvette Daytona Prototype will participate in a GRAND-AM test at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday, November 16.

“GRAND-AM’s new Daytona Prototype concept is aimed at allowing manufacturers to showcase their brand in an exciting, cutting-edge fashion,” said GRAND-AM President Tom Bledsoe. “Chevrolet, with its new Corvette DP, has done just that. The anticipation of seeing this new Daytona Prototype compete is building each and every day. This announcement has immediate and far-reaching implications, with the potential to change the face of sports car racing.”

Four teams will campaign the Corvette Daytona Prototype in 2012: No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing; No. 10 SunTrust Racing; No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing; and the No.’s 5 and 9 Action Express Racing teams.

“The 2012 Corvette Daytona Prototype was developed by a multi-faceted effort involving Chevrolet, Corvette Designers, Pratt & Miller and GRAND-AM, and Chevrolet also worked closely with chassis builders Riley, Coyote and Dallara,” said Mark Kent, GM Racing Director. “The IMSA GTP Corvette Prototype campaigned by Hendrick Motorsports in the '80s was the inspiration for this new Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype. And, like the GTP Corvettes, the new Corvette Daytona Prototype contains numerous styling cues from the street version of the Chevrolet Corvette.”

Corvette has a long, storied history of racing-related feats in Daytona. Zora Arkus-Duntov – the Father of the Corvette and chief engineer working on the Corvette in the ’50s and ’60s – set a flying-mile speed record of more than 150 miles per hour in a Corvette on Daytona Beach, one of a number of record runs on the beach for him. When Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959, Arkus-Duntov turned the fastest laps – 155 miles per hour – in a Corvette SS.

More recently, in 2001, a Corvette driven by Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, Chris Kneifel and Franck Freon was the overall winner in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Another Corvette finished fourth that year, with Dale Earnhardt Sr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins.

Tickets for the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Nov 14 | Daytona International Speedway Expands Hotel Program for Speedweeks 2012 and the 54th DAYTONA 500

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Daytona International Speedway announced an expanded promotion with special hotel rates to help lower the costs for fans who plan to attend Speedweeks and the 2012 DAYTONA 500.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Continuing its commitment to ensure fans have an enjoyable and affordable race experience, Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III today announced an expanded promotion to help lower the costs for fans who plan to attend Speedweeks and the 2012 DAYTONA 500, with special hotel rates available through February 22nd, 2012.

Beginning November 14 through December 31, 2011, fans are eligible to save at least 20 percent off the standard rate for hotels located in the Daytona Beach region and surrounding areas.  From January 1, 2012 through February 22, 2012, fans can save at least 10 percent off standard room rates. 

At least 20 hotels are participating in the program so far and more can be added in the future.  They are all located within 35 miles of the Speedway in Daytona Beach, western Volusia County, Seminole and Flagler counties.  Fans can visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/hotels to find a list of participating hotels along with contact information for reservations. 

“We continue to work very closely with our local and regional hotel partners to provide our fans and guests with the best rates possible,” said Chitwood.  “We want to thank those hotels who continue to participate in this important program and welcome additional hotels to join.  Our fans are the most loyal and passionate in all of sports.  By working together, we will ensure our guests have a memorable and positive experience when they visit our community.”

This offer is made possible through a partnership between Daytona International Speedway and the Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Seminole Convention and Visitors Bureau,  the West Volusia Tourism Bureau and the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce. 
Hotels interested in participating in this program can contact the Speedway for more information.

Tickets for the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26 as well as other Speedweeks 2012 events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP

New for the 2012 Daytona 500 is special youth pricing.  Children 12 and under will receive 50 percent off all Superstretch grandstand seats for the Daytona 500 with the purchase of an adult ticket.  The special offer is available while supplies last.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway’s social media channels on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

 

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