Grand Am – Miami Grand Prix – Preview
3.00 pm start on Saturday for Round 2 of the Rolex Series, at Homestead-Miami
Speedway. With 12 races to go after this one, it’s set for
the longest GA season so far. As Scott Pruett puts it, “there
really are no similarities with Daytona.”
This is going
to be a flat-out blast for two and three quarter hours – at
least while the yellow flags aren’t flying. “It’s
going to be 100% every lap,” reckons Brian Frisselle in the
#8 Rx.com Doran, “so it should be pretty exciting for me as
DP numbers total
22, joined by 26 GT cars, 18 of them Porsches.
no sign of any Multimatics in the line-up, or the Picchio, so the
Chase provides the variety in the DP Class – which principally
comprises nine Rileys, four Dorans, two Fabcars and six Crawfords.
Rileys have taken 12 of 13 pole positions since entering the series
last year, but that’s partly a factor of Max Angelelli historically
not starting the SunTrust Riley, and Andy Wallace not starting the
CITGO Crawford. With 2004 Champion Pruett partnered by Luis Diaz,
perhaps the #01 car will also play the (non)qualifying game: Diaz
to start the race?
Wagner or Stefan Johansson will successfully go for the pole, or
maybe the #66 Krohn Racing / TRG Riley? Papis and Bergmeister look
as strong as any pairing in the race – along with Borcheller
/ Fittipaldi, McDowell / Gidley, Gollin / Bobbi and Donohue / Law.
the field since the Rolex 24 are the #07 Spirit of Daytona Crawford
(joining the #09) for Bob Ward and Roberto Moreno, the #25 Westernesse
Racing Crawford for Chad McQueen / Dominic Cicero / John Bender
(in full Gulf look-alike livery, not the carbon look of the test
days), and the Southard Riley (replacing the Cegwa Fabcar), Shane
Lewis having his first chance in a top-line car.
even better that I will be debuting the car in front of local fans
and friends at Homestead,” says the popular Lewis. “I’ll
get to turn the first ever laps in the car at a track I’ve
come to call home. Very cool!”
as Papis against Magnussen last year? Unfortunately, there’s
no Jan Magnussen this time, the #4 Doran not entered – neither
are the third Ganassi Riley, the #20 Crawford, the third Brumos
Fabcar, the two Multimatics, the Robinson Riley, the Newman Crawford
and the Picchio.
took advantage of the ‘warfare’ going on ahead of him
to win R2 in 2004. Can he continue to make up for his partner’s
relative lack of pace (in #2, not Daytona's desperately unlucky
the drivers not expected to be a factor later in the season, the
top points scorers after Daytona look like this:
Angelelli / Wayne Taylor 35
3 Butch Leitzinger / EF-R 32
5 Andy Wallace 30
6 Stefan Johansson / Cort Wagner 28
8 Matteo Bobbi / Fabrizio Gollin 26
10 Luis Diaz / Scott Pruett 24
12 David Donohue / Darren Law 23
14 Jorg Bergmeister / Max Papis 21
16 Nic Jonsson / Tracy Krohn 20
GT sees four
PTG BMWs taking on the 18 Porsches. RJ Valentine and Kelly Collins
will share the #17 F1 Air M3, and Justin Marks and Tom Milner will
co-drive the #16 car. Bill Auberlen and Joey hand drive #21, Chris
Gleason and Ian James the #22.
run a five-lug wheel fixing on our 2003 Speed World Challenge M3s
and never experienced a problem,” comments Tom Milner Snr.,
of the problems experienced at the Rolex 24. “We did not think
this season’s rule change requiring the move from centerlock
wheels would cause an issue. Unfortunately, there was no way to
identify the wheel studs as a problem until they failed.
been a very busy three weeks since Daytona. The start of a BMW Team
PTG M3 is a BMW-supplied bare chassis and roll-cage, not a large
check for a turn-key racing car. Of course, that gives us great
control of the finished product, but the hours required to finish
the new M3s, plus repairing and readying the No. 21 and 22 cars,
required a 110% effort from every member of our staff. We began
the run for the championship last season at Miami and we will have
to do the same thing this year.”
The likely GT
rivals are the following 911s:
#36 TPC Randy Pobst / Miachael Levitas
#65 Auto Gallery / TRG Marc Bunting / Andy Lally
and the reunited Craig Stanton and David Murry, in the #80 Synergy
Racing Porsche. They won the SGS Class here a year ago. Are they
both driving the #81 Synergy car too?
and Brad Coleman are still together, two-thirds of the 16 year olds
squad at the Rolex 24, but in #64 now.
how to be smooth and consistent at Daytona,” commented Colin
Braun. “I know that is always a good thing and will help me
now that I can focus on going quick at Homestead.” Are these
two going to be genuine contenders soon?
Team boss Kevin
Buckler has been very busy since Daytona (read… Kevin Buckler
has been very busy since the day he was born). One week after the
Rolex 24, his staff moved to new, 17,000 sq. ft. premises, at Petaluma,
California. This huge facility houses the team's professional race
shop, club racing shop, a triple bay to accommodate race transporters,
corporate and team offices, shipping and receiving, Adobe Road Wines
cellar and tasting room, a fitness room and the Princess Room, a
play area designed for he and Debra Buckler’s three daughters.
fourth in class at this Miami event last year, but isn't listed
to drive this week. Perhaps he's finally tired? Sorry, Ed's
mistake: the #66 The Racer's Group Porsche was third in GT last