TORRANCE, Calif. (May 2, 2006) – If past success is any indicator, then the U.S. Sports Car Invitational at Laguna Seca Raceway should prove to be a very good weekend for the Lexus Daytona Prototype program when the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series hits the track May 5-7.
A year ago, Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz took home the victory in the #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley in the series’ first event on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course. The duo is off to another strong start for Ganassi Racing with two victories and four podium finishes this season. The pair will enter this weekend’s races in third-place in the series points chase. In addition to the Daytona Prototype triumph last season, Pruett also won at Laguna on his way to the 1986 IMSA GTO championship.
While it was Pruett and Diaz who came away with the victory at Laguna Seca in 2005, it’s fellow Lexus pilot Oswaldo Negri who owns the distinction of being the track record-holder after winning the pole last season with a lap of 1:24.787 (95.508 mph). Making that record even more impressive is the fact that it occurred in the first race for the #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley with Michael Shank Racing (MSR). With three top-six finishes this season, Negri and co-driver Mark Patterson are currently 10th in the driver points standings.
The third Lexus-powered entry has also enjoyed success at Laguna Seca as Mike Borkowski co-piloted his MSR entry to a fifth-place finish last season. Rookie Antoine Bessette will join Borkowski in the #6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing Lexus-Riley. The 24-year-old Canadian had an impressive test for the MSR team at Virginia International Raceway prior to the last event. In addition, he placed fourth overall in last year’s Toyota Atlantic Championship, winning at Toronto and Montreal on the way to registering nine top-five finishes.
Lexus maintains a slim one-point lead over Porsche in the Daytona Prototype Manufacturer’s Championship after six of 19 races. With three victories this season, Lexus-powered entries have won 11 races and 18 pole positions in 31 Rolex Series events since entering the series in 2004.
This Sunday’s U.S. Sports Car Invitational will be televised live on SPEED at 3 p.m. with a replay on Monday, May 8 at 12 p.m. Saturday’s schedule will feature the second of five full points-paying “Qualifying races” that will determine the starting positions for Sunday’s main event. The qualifying race will run at 4:00 p.m. (all times Eastern).
Lexus Daytona Prototype Performance Index
Race, Started/Finished #01 #02 #6 #39 #51 #60
Daytona 24 9/20 2/1 12/27 13/11 12/17 5/2
Mexico 1/1 – 13/3 – – –
Miami 4/3 – 13/18 – – 15/22
Long Beach 1/1 – 17/9 – – 15/5
Virginia – Qual. 1/22 – /10 – – /6
>Virginia 3/25 – 10/23 – – 6/13
Laguna – Qual.
Phoenix – Qual.
Watkins Glen 6-Hour
Mid-Ohio – Qual.
Barber – Qual.
Salt Lake City
2006 Lexus Daytona Prototype Laps Led (689 of 1070 possible)
#02 – 272
#01 – 263
#39 – 74
#60 – 47
#6 – 33
2006 Lexus Pole Positions (2) – Scott Pruett, Mexico, Luis Diaz, Long Beach
2006 Lexus Wins (3) – Dixon/Wheldon/Mears, Daytona; Pruett/Diaz, Mexico;
Diaz/Pruett, Long Beach
Credit: Lexus Motorsports