After nearly two months away from the track, the drivers and teams of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series are itching to get back into action at Saturday's GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
At the top of the Daytona Prototype standings following the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona are some familiar faces, beginning with 2004 Rolex Series co-Champ Scott Pruett and his season-long teammate Memo Rojas in the #01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley. Rojas and Pruett lead the championship standings after their win at Daytona, Pruett's third overall win in the endurance classic.
Hot on their heels entering round two of the season are the defending champions, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, in the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley. Homestead-Miami Speedway was one of the few black marks on the 2007 season for the team after an eleventh-place finish, with a top finish in front of the team's key sponsor a priority at this year's GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami.
The two-car effort from Michael Shank Racing figures to be in the mix this weekend, including Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson in the #6 Ford Riley and Ian James and John Pew in the #60 Ford Riley machine. The team swept the front row at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and led throughout the race before mechanical difficulties and bad luck dropped each car back in the pack. Negri has since topped the time charts at February's test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Defending race champions Sigalsport return to the scene of its lone Rolex Series victory with an entirely new look for the #7 Rum Bum BMW Riley. Matt Plumb and Gene Sigal replace Bill Auberlen and Matt Alhadeff behind the wheel of the #7 machine to defend the team title around the 2.3-mile infield road course. Auberlen, with co-driver Joey Hand, will try to repeat behind the wheel of the #23 Alex Job Racing Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Porsche Crawford in Saturday's matinee.
“New” will be a theme for the GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami, as a number of Daytona Prototypes have a new look beginning this weekend.
Dallara makes its debut as a chassis manufacturer in the Rolex Series this weekend. Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante will pilot the #10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara following a runner-up finish for the team a season ago in South Florida. Memo Gidley and Brad Jaeger will pilot the #77 Doran Racing Kodak Ford Dallara as a second Dallara entry at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Lola also joins the fray for its first race after a winter of testing the new machine with two cars from Krohn Racing. Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta will pilot the #76 Pontiac Lola with Eric van de Poele and Tracy Krohn entered in the #75 machine.
The Cheever Group-built Coyotes will return to the track after making their debut during the most difficult race on the schedule, the Rolex 24. In addition to the #16 Cheever Racing Crown Royal Cask #16 Pontiac Coyote piloted by Matteo Bobbi and Antonio Garcia, the #09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche Coyote driven by Guy Cosmo, Marc-Antoine Camirand and Leonard d'Aston has been converted from the old FABCAR chassis to the new Coyote.