Reigning Rolex 24 at Daytona champion Antonio Garcia will return to Grand-Am circles this weekend, having been snapped up to drive the #09 Spirit of Daytona Coyote-Porsche in the Sahlen's Six Hours at Watkins Glen International.
The Spaniard has 16 career Rolex Series appearances to his credit - having made his debut at the Glen with Cheever Racing in 2007 - but will make only his second.start of 2009 when he teams up with Guy Cosmo and Scott Russell in the annual six-hour classic on the 3.4-mile road course. He will also remain with the squad for Sunday's open test at the same venue.
“We are happy to have Antonio joining us, both for the race on Saturday and for the test with the new Coyote on Sunday,” said Spirit of Daytona Racing team owner Troy Flis, “This Coyote-Porsche V8 package has been bullet-proof, and we are hoping that we can make the most of the long runs in the Six Hour. Obviously having a guy we can just plug into the effort like Antonio is going to be a boost for us all weekend long.”
In four Rolex Series starts at Watkins Glen, Garcia has two top ten finishes – both in the series' two-hour event on the shorter 2.45-mile course – with a best finish of sixth last season.
“I am looking forward to racing in the Rolex Series again next weekend, especially on a track like Watkins Glen,” the former F1 hopeful admitted, “The opportunity to experience a new chassis and motor package is one that I am excited about as a driver, and I'm optimistic that we can make good progress through the weekend.”
Garcia drove in three races in the Rolex Series in 2007, notching a season-best fourth at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal in only his second start. He was tabbed to pilot Eddie Cheever's #16 Crown Royal Cask No.16 Coyote in 2008, and was part of the closest finish in series history, when he fell just 0.064secs short of the chequered flag behind Canadian racer Mark Wilkins in Montreal. He returned to the series to share Rolex 24 victory with Brumos Racing co-drivers David Donohue, Darren Law and Buddy Rice, adding to winning runs at both the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours and 12 Hours of Sebring this past March.