Vision Racing enters Daytona 24, names drivers
LAST MINUTE EFFORT HAS VISION RACING COMPETING AGAIN IN GRAND AMERICAN ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA ANDRETTI, CARPENTER, FOYT, GEORGE AND MEIRA TO SHARE DRIVING DUTIES IN TEAM'S SECOND GRAND-AM RACE INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 18, 2008) -- In spite of ...
LAST MINUTE EFFORT HAS VISION RACING COMPETING AGAIN IN GRAND AMERICAN ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
ANDRETTI, CARPENTER, FOYT, GEORGE AND MEIRA TO SHARE DRIVING DUTIES IN TEAM'S SECOND GRAND-AM RACE
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 18, 2008) -- In spite of finding themselves behind the ideal timeline for preparation, Vision Racing will make its second appearance in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. Signed drivers John Andretti, Ed Carpenter, A.J. Foyt IV and Vitor Meira will join team owner, Tony George, behind the wheel of the No. 03 Vision Racing Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The decision by team principals to compete in this year's event came just earlier this month, leaving the team with very little time to mobilize a crew, prepare a competitive racecar, establish a driver lineup and make any other provisions necessary to race. But make no mistake, the top-tier IndyCar Series team is eager to give this Grand Am event another try as a previous trip to Daytona in last January's affair is on their side.
In last year's twice-around-the-clock event at Daytona, they finished 17th amongst fellow Daytona Prototypes and 29th overall. Tomas Scheckter qualified the team's entry in the 19th spot.
Team principal, Tony George, said, "Last year's race was a success for the team in many ways, but coming up just short in the end left us hungry to give it another try this year. Not only that, but the Rolex 24 provides our team and drivers a nice opportunity to get back in the mindset of racing before we go testing in preparation for the IndyCar season."
Last year as the team drove through the night and into the dawn, they continued to push hard, overcoming spins, bumping and plenty of traffic on the 3.56-mile road course. Unfortunately, with just 30 minutes remaining in the race, the engine expired and thus, knocked the team out of the competition.
Given the rush to pull this year's Rolex 24 program together, the team missed out on valuable track time for testing earlier in the month. Thus, a test at Moroso Motorsports Park in Jupiter, Fla. was quickly organized for this Sunday and Monday, Jan. 20-21. From there it's on to Daytona for the 46th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona for practice, which is set to begin on Jan. 24th.
Carpenter is keyed up and ready to take care of unfinished business at Daytona. He said, "I'm excited. I wish we had gotten it together a little sooner, so we could go test a bit more, but we have 24 hours to race. I know the guys will put together a good car like they did last year, and hopefully, we can run the last 30 minutes that we weren't able to do last year."
The team's 2008 Rolex 24 driver lineup also has them poised for better results this year as well. While this will be the second time Carpenter, Foyt and George will compete in the event, their teammate in Andretti is a great pick up as he teamed with the late Bob Wollek and Derek Bell to win the 1989 Rolex 24 at Daytona in a Porsche 962.
In spite of this being Meira's first Rolex 24 at Daytona, he is no stranger to endurance racing either. Meira is a former class winner (class winner, 3rd overall, 2002) at the 1000 miles of Interlagos endurance race in Brazil and finished (third place overall, second in class) in P1 for Highcroft Racing at the Petit LeMans in 2006.
While the event offers a tune-up for the full-time IndyCar drivers, Carpenter, Foyt and Meira, and Sprint Cup driver, Andretti, it will serve as the first time in a racecar for George, since last year.
And prior to last year's race, George was last seen driving competitively in 2001 for the "Chili Bowl" and USAC midget races. While George has made his legacy in motorsports as the CEO and owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, founder of the Indy Racing League, and owner of Vision Racing, he also had tenure as a professional driver.
"It's a great experience," George said about driving in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. "I love to race and this event allows me the opportunity to do that, as well as enjoy working in a different capacity with the team."
In spite of the collective racing experience and success amongst the Vision Racing driving core, all five drivers understand that success in Grand Am racing at Daytona doesn't come easy. That is especially the case this season as timing alone as put them "behind the eight ball."
George commented, "We are confident the team, however, will put together a reliable race car that can be raced, in concert with developing a better race strategy for this year's event based on our experience in the 2007 Rolex 24."
Derek Bell returns to the driver's seat
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