Having completed no fewer than six days of running at Daytona International Speedway during the winter, PR1 Motorsports will get set for its debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona as the 2009 Grand Am Rolex Series season kicks off this weekend.
The team made its debut in the series last year with a pair of top-ten finishes in seven starts with the #32 Pontiac GXP.R, but will be facing the challenge of the round the clock event for the first time.
Mike Forest, Thomas Merrill, Jeff Westphal and Al Salvo will share driving duties while Patrick Barrett is also on the team's roster and will get his chance if needed as a replacement.
“We've gained a lot of experience driving at Daytona over the winter,” Forest said. “It's very unique, with respects to the requirements from a driving point of view, a set-up point of view on the Miracle Sealants Pontiac GXP.R, and making sure the car can last the entire 24 hours. But we gained a lot of experience, and that's going to help during the race.
“It's pretty exciting knowing that the Rolex 24 at Daytona is our first 24 hour race, and there are so many more variables to think about during the race. That's part of the challenge, and hopefully that will highlight some of the strengths we have here at PR1.
“Our goal for the Rolex 24 is to put together a top five effort. I think that would be really big as Daytona rookies, and once you get into the top five anything can happen. The key to that is consistency, staying out of trouble and running consistent, fast laps.”
Despite an average driver's age of just 25 years old, team owner Bobby Oergel said he was confident that the team's strengths will shine in the endurance race format, with the focus firmly on fighting for the win.
“As a team, we're very familiar with each of our drivers from when they were with us in the open-wheel program,” he said. “And while obviously we would have liked to have been at the top of the time charts during testing, this race is about consistent laps and good pit stops.
“If we can do those things, keep the Miracle Sealants Pontiac GXP.R clean, and avoid trouble, we'll end up near the front.”