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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."


Related Pictures

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Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. GRAND-AM Championship Weekend Presented by BMW at Lime Rock Park. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. Continental Tire Sports Car Festival. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Action. VisitFlorida.com Sports Car 250 at Road America. Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Starworks Motorsport BMW/Riley duo Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer celebrate their first Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory at Road America [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype (left) to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Alex Gurney and Jo Fogarty, drivers of the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP (right) finish in second place. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
John Edwards and Robin Liddell, drivers of the # 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R., race to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Grand Touring (GT) class of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Juan Pablo Montoya, Memo Rojas, Scott Pruett and Charlie Kimball, co-drivers of the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates TELMEX/Target Ford BMW Riley celebrate their win in victory lane at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 27, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Rolex Series action [Pic credit: Grand-Am]
Alex Popow and Sebastian Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Ford Riley, celebrate in Victory Lane after wininng the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Alex Popow and Sebastien Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Soloson Ford Riley, celebrate after winning the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winning #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley car is brought into victory lane after a gruelling 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona. [Picture Credit: Daytona International Speedway]
Action Express win the Rolex 24 [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Derek Johnston [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Vic Elford, the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona Grand Marshal (Photo credit: Motorsports Images and Archives)
The No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Porsche Coyote that will be tested by 2009 Radical European Masters Champion Derek Johnston at Virginia International Raceway
Max Angelelli and Brian Friselle win at Daytona [Pic credit: Grand Am Media]
Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty - GAINSCO Bob Stallings Racing Riley-Pontiac   [pic credit: Grand-Am]

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