- Cole Scrogham - G&W And Picchio At Daytona and Beyond
Gary Horrocks caught up with
Cole Scrogham to find out what really happened to
the Picchio DP2 BMW at the Rolex 24 – and to
delve into plans for the balance of the year.
your general impressions from the 2003 running of the Rolex
most competitive 24hr race in history. Any car that entered
the race had a legitimate shot at the overall win, which is
unheard of since the days of the 550 Spyders at LeMans. There
was no team there without a shot, and congratulations to the
Racer’s Group, they ran with no problems and had the
Did the lower
than usual turnout, car wise, surprise you?
some ways yes, I thought that more teams would realize that
the overall win at Daytona was within their grasp and want
to give it a shot…especially knowing that the Daytona
Prototypes would be questionable in terms of their longevity.
We knew that a podium finish in the Daytona Prototype class
was within our reach, no matter the circumstances, if we could
just tough it out - and that is just what we did.
were several factors this year, I think that that general perception
of the Europeans was that Daytona was in some way off limits
to them in the GT cars, and were scared away by the newness
of the top class. There is also a perception that the new class
is not going to work, so the teams that usually participate
either have not bought into the concept yet, or are waiting
to see if the new cars are for real - and is Grand-Am going
to do whatever it takes to see this through?
Daytona Prototypes will have to be built into a successful
program; this will take time and perseverance. Ultimately,
I believe in the concept, we will just have to see where the
long term takes us.”
the problems, were you surprised to finish on the DP podium?
at all. Daytona is all about just hanging around to the finish,
waking up the next morning to see if you have anything to race
with to the end. With all of the setbacks we had during the
week, we were happy enough with the result, but our ultimate
goal is to win races with the Picchio DP2 and provide a marketable
program to sell, service and sponsor the cars.”
You had some
bodywork problems. Was this all due to the improper latching
of the door, which caused the rear bodywork to come off, or
was this something that was waiting to happen?
we thought that to be the case, but the end result was a self-inflicted
wound. This car has an advantage in top speed over the other
entries, so we decided to take maximum advantage of the top
speed. To do this, we let the rear of the car drop, Winston
Cup style, to keep the wing out of the air and maximize the
speed. In doing this, we allowed the rear ride height to drop
so low in the banking that the right rear of the car literally
bottomed, and the bodywork forced the door open. When the door
opens, the rear deck becomes a big parachute. We only found
out what was happening after it was too late: the chassis and
side pods are so sturdy that they showed relatively little
abrasion and the drivers assumed the bottoming they heard was
from the nose of the car. So we learned another lesson that
weekend the hard way.”
issues did you fight during the race?
good news for us was that during the entire week we had but
one mechanical failure - the left front upright was replaced
during one of the stops as the wheel nut galled on the threads.
The other issues were mostly driver induced, two incidents
that led to lengthy repairs to the nose and crash box area.
We did have an overheating issue in the engine control unit
early on, an axle boot leaked grease and had to be replaced,
and the fuel fill mechanism stuck during one of the stops and
had to be replaced. All of these items were purchased from
outside vendors and typical of the glitches that make 24 hour
races a challenge. The only other issue we had was that all
of the guys were just so tired, they literally pulled an all-nighter
once we took the car out of the track to work on it on Friday,
before the race start.”
off slow, but came on as the race progressed. How well could
you have done with out those problems?
the race easily. But that is why they run the race, it is not
to the swift. The old adage goes, slow and steady wins the
race, unless you are racing fast and steady.
ran the third fastest race lap, in the middle of the night,
on medium compound tires. I think we have something for them
when we come back here. The biggest issue to overcome now is
funding. We have support from USI Insurance and Financial Services
and the Valley Group, and are looking for more partners in
became somewhat of an extended test session for you. What did
rather keep that to myself for now. Let’s just say we
have some areas of significant improvement that we hope to
implement in the near future.”
What is the
status of the Maserati powered Picchio?
program is progressing and it looks like things are coming
together, but I can't discuss the details of the relationship
right now. It all boils down to presenting a finished product
that will represent the manufacturer in a positive way. That
will take more time.”
Will we be
seeing the SRPII Picchio again?
Roadster is scheduled to run the season with Steve and Danny
Marshall and Shawn Bayliff sharing the driving duties.”
your plans for the remainder of the year (sponsorship and drivers)?
And does the low entry total for Miami concern you at all,
or is this something that should be expected with all of the
rule changes that Grand Am has instituted this year?
would say that Sebring has more to do with the turnout than
anything else, although Homestead and Phoenix tend to be a
bit light from past experience anyway. But I am of course concerned
with the low turnout. I keep hoping that Grand Am is going
to help subsidize some of the racing until the new rules stabilize
the field, but so far the IRL approach is not happening. Until
there are enough cars that are accepted as mainstream and can
be raced without third world country budgets, the turnout is
going to be low in my opinion. The teams cannot continue to
finance the development of the series.
have a contract with Darren Law to run all of the races that
G&W is involved with in 2003. He is capable of running
the short races (250 miles is just half of a proper Winston
Cup car, right?) by himself or with a suitable co-driver, and
we will be looking for partners with Darren at the longer venues.
Our cooperation with USI Insurance and Financial Services means
that we have, for the first time, a genuine opportunity for
businesses or individuals to get their name out and enjoy the
sport, while taking no money out of their pockets. The only
requirement is to do business with USI and they will use the
normal commissions to fund the team. It is a great opportunity.”
make a comeback?
Woody was not performing up to his potential so he has been
given the axe.”