Privateer Mercedes SLK For ALMS?
That’s the story in yesterday’s Galveston Daily News, as Dan Pastorini, 56 year old ex pro-football player tells his local newspaper of plans to race a Mercedes SLK55 in the ALMS: now, exclusively to dsc, Pastorini himself puts some meat on the bones of this project:

“We’ve been putting together a team for the last year and a half,” said Pastorini.“Administaff is on board as a sponsor, and Jurgen Steiner is the crew chief, along with Renntech Motorsports with Mercedes Benz. We’re going to reintroduce Mercedes back into American road racing. It’s going to be built out of an SLK55, called an SLKGTR, built and designed by my crew chief Juergen Steiner and Hartmut Fehyl of RENNtech Performance.”

“We have also had extensive help with the aerodynamics from Erhard Melcher - from AMG Performance – Mercedes Performance in USA - He is the “M” in AMG and Auto Technica – Wind tunnel / Aerodynamics specialists with the University of Toronto Canada. We are planning a two car effort. We will run in the GT2 class with hopes of moving up to GT1 after the first season.

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“We feel this car will be very competitive if not dominant. We are focusing our efforts, naturally, in getting the sponsorship together first, but have had great interest mainly due to the reputation of Mercedes and reintroducing the company here in American road racing. We have the Team...We just need to put the money together to do it.”

The team, dp7 Racing, has already seen the light of day racing Pastorini’s Porsche 911GT3-RS, but the time it seems is right for a step up:

dailysportscar.com“We’ve been planning a two-car team with drivers Mike Davies (left) and another driver who we haven’t determined yet. Jurgen is on board with Renntech and we want to be ready for Sebring in mid-March. For sure by the Grand Prix here in Houston in May.”

After thirteen years in the NFL playing for teams such as the Houston Oilers, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Rams, Pastorini moved on to pursue a passion for speed and won his first national event at the NHRA Southern Nationals, before finishing 7th in the NHRA Championship Points. His best career-elapsed time was 5.18 seconds at 287 mph, and he became the third man to break the 270 mph barrier in a Top Fuel Dragster.

He also set four world records in Unlimited Drag Boat racing, and his boat, "The Quarterback Sneak," was the first to break the eight-second elapsed time barrier. He later broke the world E.T. record four times with speeds of 140mph.

Pastorini has raced in a number of IMSA-sanctioned races, including Phoenix, Daytona, Sebring and Texas World Speedway and drove a Pro Technik Porsche in the 2004 Porsche Club & SCCA Racing events.

dailysportscar.comJuergen Steiner is a board member of RENNtech Performance and an established racer in his own right in European Hillclimbing, and a successful crew chief in the NASCAR All-Pro Series.

Mike Davies’ racing career goes back to the mid 1980s when he was National champion in SCCA Sports Renault in only his second (and then again in his third!) ever season’s racing. This was followed by a spell as a factory Dodge GTU driver, and a 1991 Formula Atlantic season that saw him achieve 5 poles and 5 wins in 7 starts, on the way to 2nd place in the National Championship, despite having a six year old car. He was the 1992 “SCCA driver of the year” and won at least one Amateur National Championship or Pro National Championship each year between 1992 and 1997.

In 1998 he tried a WSC or two for size. After starting the year in the Olive Garden Porsche 993, he was then hired by the Dollahite Racing Team, co-driving with Bill Dollahite to 8th place in the points standings, after racing first in a Spice Chevrolet and then in the owner’s Ferrari 333SP. A fifth place at the 1998 Petit Le Mans (with Anthony Lazarro joining the regular pairing) was the highlight of a 2 year spell with the team..

In 2004 Mike won the SCCA Spec Racer National Championship and was presented with the SCCA “A.J. Foyt Driver of the Year” award. Mike has specialized in the Spec Car Classes, set up and super tuning to conditions as well as data acquisition, test driving and racecar engineering.

The Mercedes SLK55GTR would be a fine addition to the ALMS grid of course, and with Audi and Porsche looking set to be joined by a potential privateer BMW project too next season, it looks like the ‘Big Four’ German manufacturers might just possibly all be represented in a rejuvenated 2006 Series.

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