Star-Studded Line-Up Headlines Six Lexus-Powered Entries For Rolex 24
Calif. (Jan. 17, 2007) – With five 2006 Daytona Prototype race winners, four
recently crowned auto racing All-Americans and four Indianapolis 500 winners,
Lexus will sport a powerful line-up when six Lexus-powered Daytona Prototypes
take the track for the 2007 Rolex 24 at Daytona in the season opener for the
Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.
Last year’s race winners include series regulars Scott Pruett, Oswaldo
Negri and Mark Patterson, along with defending Rolex 24 champions Scott Dixon
and Dan Wheldon. Yet, the talent
extends far past Grand-Am success. In fact, the Lexus line-up alone might have the greatest line-up of
open-wheel drivers seen in
Leading the way will be a pair of established Lexus teams in Chip Ganassi Racing and Michael Shank Racing. Each will field a two-car team capable of winning the twice-around-the-clock extravaganza. They’ll be joined by two squads that will be new to the Lexus camp in 2007 in Southard Racing and AIM Autosport.
Chip Ganassi Racing is not only the winningest team in Daytona Prototype
history, but also the defending champion at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. This year’s two-car entry may be even
stronger with the addition of former F1 and CART star Juan Montoya, who will
team with Scott Pruett and Salvador Duran in the #01 Telmex/Target
Lexus-Riley. Pruett was a
first-team All-America selection after winning five races a year ago on his way
to second-place overall in the series. After six seasons racing in Formula One that included a win at the
prestigious Monaco Grand Prix, Montoya returns to the
The defending champion #02 Ganassi Lexus will feature Indy Racing League
stars Wheldon and
Negri and Patterson hold the distinction of winning the most recent Rolex Series event when they co-drove to victory in last year’s season finale in
The #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley is no less impressive with full-time drivers Ian James and Henri Zogaib being joined by Allmendinger, who was recently named a second-team All-American after winning five Champ Car events this past season and was in the MSR entry that finished second a year ago, as well as Tracy, who drove a number of Daytona Prototype events with the team last season.
While the Ganassi and Shank teams have been with Lexus since the manufacturer entered Grand-American competition in 2004, Southard Racing and AIM Autosport will be entering their first full seasons of competition with Lexus power.
After a pair of podium finishes in 2006, Southard Racing will be looking for its first Daytona Prototype victory this season. Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman are scheduled to drive the full season in the #3 Preformed Line Products Lexus-Riley. They will be joined by rising teen star Rahal, son of racing legend Bobby Rahal. The younger Rahal will move into the Champ Car ranks this season at just 18 years of age after winning a series-high five races in Atlantic competition last year.
AIM Autosport made one Grand-Am start in 2006, placing 21st at Daytona in their #61 Lexus-Riley. The Toronto-based team is back for the full season this year. Full-time pilot Mark Wilkins will lead the charge along with Burt and Brian Frisselle, both who have run with Lexus over the past two seasons, and two-time former Toyota Atlantic champion David Empringham. Wilkins has consistently run upfront in the open-wheel ladder series, while the Frisselle brothers, who will share the second seat in the car opposite Wilkins throughout the full 2007 campaign, earned a podium finish at last year’s season finale in an MSR Lexus-Riley.
Lexus earned seven victories including last season’s Rolex 24 on the way to its first-ever Manufacturer’s Championship in 2006. Overall, the luxury automaker has registered 15 wins and 21 pole positions in 40 Grand American Daytona Prototype events over the past three seasons. Lexus will focus its motorsports efforts exclusively on the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2007.
Credit: Lexus Motorsports Copy By: Flipside909
Credit: Lexus Motorsports
Copy By: Flipside909