Grand AM » 30 January 2007
Grand-Am: GXP.Rs take second, fourth on debut.
Banner Racing enjoyed a strong debut performance with the new Pontiac GXP.R at the Rolex 24, claiming second and fourth places in the GT class on Sunday.
The #07 car of Paul Edwards, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim finished second in class at Daytona, persevering through the night's rain and cold to bring the brand new GXP.R home on the podium. The only flaw of the entire 24 hours was that the windscreen wiper did not work for the entire race, making the tricky wet conditions all the more difficult.
"It was hard work for 24 hours," Pilgrim exclaimed, "The car was really strong all day and night - in the sun and in the rain - but, during the night, it was unstable, although that may have been from the changing conditions. There were some wet patches that took a long time to dry, so we had to control ourselves behind the wheel - we didn't want to spin and go off."
Although the team eventually lost out to the unfancied Alegra Motorsports Porsche, team owner Leighton Reese was delighted by the GXP.R's performance, especially after partnering Tim Lewis and Johnny O'Connell to fourth in class.
"What a day," Reese smiled wanly, ""It has been a lot of work to get to the finish line here today. Pontiac, GM Racing, Pratt & Miller and my guys really came together to get these cars on the track early so we could go for a successful finish at the 24. We are well-positioned for the rest of the season, starting with a strong points base. I had a few moments in my driving stints, especially in the rain, but, overall, the car was easy to drive. We just need a little nitrous on the high bank!"
Racers Edge had an altogether tougher baptism with its #30 Pontiac, but overcame the various mechanical challenges to finish 28th.
"We had a tough go for the team's first 24 hour," driver Ross Smith agreed, "A broken driveshaft in qualifying and another one early in the race put us back early. Then we had a spin and had to get towed in for some more repairs. But we kept going and it was rewarding to make it to the finish."
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