In a unique twist on years past, the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank, will kick off the 2007 racing season at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course featuring separate races for Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype and Grand Touring (GT) classes.
Nineteen Daytona Prototypes will light up the June night as the exotic sports cars do battle on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn circuit during the traditional Saturday evening special. A Sunday mid-day contest is slated for twenty-seven high-performance, production-based GT machines.
“We're pleased to open the 46th season of racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series,” said Michelle Trueman Gajoch, president of TrueSports, Inc. “Their unique situation of high car counts has enabled us to run four races this year [Rolex Series and KONI Challenge Series] instead of the traditional two, affording our fans more weekend racing action and excitement than ever before.”
The hunt for championship points will be in full gear at Mid-Ohio as the first six Rolex Series events of the season have been five different Daytona Prototype winners. Leading the pack is the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley driver Scott Pruett who took victory in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona with co-drivers Salvador Duran and Juan Pablo Montoya. Pruett currently leads the driver point race in the Daytona Prototype class.
Hot on his tail is the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley combination of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, who are the only repeat winners thus far, taking Rounds 2 and 6 in Mexico and Watkins Glen respectively.
Individual victors this season are two-time Rolex Series GT champion Bill Auberlen and his No. 05 Luggage Express Team Sigalsport BMW Riley co-driver Matthew Alhadeff, Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley and the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship effort of defending Daytona Prototype champion Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long.
All five Daytona Prototype winning teams will be highly contested by a two-team Ohio contingent. Michael Shank Racing of Pataskala, will field two Lexus Riley Daytona Prototypes, while Southard Motorsports of Powell will field the No. 03 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype, also a Lexus Riley.
In GT action, No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Porsche GT3 driver Dirk Werner leads the GT championship standings heading into the weekend over No.07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R co-drivers Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards. Both teams will be challenged at Mid-Ohio by a host of proven GT front-runners. Leading the charge will be last year's Mid-Ohio winner Wolf Henzler of Tafel Racing, No. 70 SpeedSource/Mazdaspeed Mazda RX-8 co-drivers Sylvain Tremblay and Nick Ham, and Andy Lally and R.J. Valentine in the No.66 TRG Porsche GT3.
In addition to the Rolex Sports Car Series races, the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank will offer plenty of other racing action. The Triple Crown Tuner Challenge presented by Embarq will showcase the hottest tuner cars on and off the racetrack, while the KONI Challenge Series will field 72 cars also in a split format. Also on the schedule is BMW CCA Club Racing.