At least two dozen Grand-Am Rolex Series teams are expected to get a head start on the 2010 season-opening Rolex 24 when they participate in a two-day test at Daytona International Speedway next week.
The test, scheduled 8-9 December, will be the first for competitors on the 2010 Pirelli tyres, and will feature the usual blend of new and established line-ups and technical pairings.
Already entered are ten Daytona Prototypes and 14 GT cars, with TRG having three cars listed alongside with two each from Team Sahlen, Michael Shank Racing and Spirit of Daytona Racing. The test will mark the debut of the Action Express Racing entry, with Terry Borcheller and Joao Barbosa set to drive the #9 Porsche Riley, which has forged a technical partnership with defending Rolex 24 champions Brumos Racing. Winners David Donohue and Darren Law move to the #59 Porsche Riley, where they will be joined by five-time Rolex 24 winner Hurley Haywood.
Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia were also part of the winning line-up for the 2009 Rolex 24, but will co-drive the #90 Boy Scouts of America Porsche Coyote. Spirit of Daytona will have a second Porsche Coyote at the test, the #09 for Rolex 24 Driver Challenge presented by Sunoco winner Derek Johnston and Guy Cosmo. Johnston, the champion of the British Radical series, won a seat in a Daytona Prototype for the Rolex 24, and the team he will join for the race will be determined after the test.
Three-time Rolex 24 winner Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will have two-time Daytona Prototype champion Scott Pruett in the #01 TELMEX Riley, which is expected to have BMW power at the test.
Other Daytona Prototypes entered include a two-car Ford Riley entry for Michael Shank Racing, with the #6 for Mark Patterson, Ricky Taylor and Michael Valiante, and the #60 for Oz Negri and John Pew; the #10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara for Brian Frisselle and 2005 Rolex 24 winners Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli; the #75 Krohn Racing Ford Lola of Nic Jonsson and Tracy Krohn; and the #77 Doran Racing Ford Dallara of Memo Gidley, Brad Jaeger and Michel Jourdain.
The test will mark the first appearance of perennial Grand-Am Continental Tyre Sports Car Challenge powerhouse Turner Motorsport in the Rolex Series. Bill Auberlen is set to test the team's #94 BMW M6, while also testing an M6 should be Miracle Sealants Team PR1, with Max Hyatt and Thomas Merrill in the #32 entry.
GT championship contender Stevenson Motorsports will debut its #97 Camaro GT, with returning drivers Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell, while four teams will test five Mazda RX-8s, including the #40 Dempsey Racing entry of Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster. Emil Assentato, Nick Longhi, Jeff Segal and Sylvain Tremblay will test the #69 SpeedSource FXDD entry, and Jordan Taylor and Jade Buford are in the #30 Racers Edge Motorsports IDEMITSU Racing Oil version. Finally, Team Sahlen will roll out its new Mazdas, the #42 for Will Nonnamaker and Joe Sahlen, and the #43 for Joe and Wayne Nonnamaker.
TRG leads a solid contingent of six Porsche GT3s with a three-car entry. Defending Rolex 24 GT winner Andy Lally is joined by Tim George Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly in the #67 Porsche GT3; Seth Neiman, Thomas Sadler, Mark Thomas and Johannes van Overbeek are in the #66; and Peter Bassett and David Fry in the #68.
Other teams fielding Porsches are Magnus Racing, with John Potter and Craig Stanton in the #44; ZMG, with Shane Lewis and Richard Zahn in the #17; and Guardian Angel Motorsports, with Bob Doyle, Tim Evans, Bruce Ledoux and David Quinlan in the #18.