AUSTIN, Texas — A full field of 16 Daytona Prototypes is entered in the Grand-Am of The Americas, the first event for the Rolex Sports Car Series on the showcase 3.40-mile, 20-turn circuit. This includes four two-car teams, all of which are expected for the remainder of the 12-race season.
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas are off to a head start toward a fourth consecutive Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype championship, with the drivers of Chip Ganassi’s BMW/Riley winning the 2013 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.
It was Pruett’s fifth overall triumph in the 51st running of the American sports car classic — matching Grand Marshal Hurley Haywood’s record in the event – while Rojas won for the third time.
Juan Pablo Montoya and Charlie Kimball co-drove with Pruett and Rojas. It was Ganassi’s fifth Rolex 24 victory since first fielding a Rolex Series team in 2004. Pruett and Max Papis won the DP title in 2004 for Ganassi, while Pruett and Rojas won the 2008 championship before beginning their current title-winning streak in 2010.
Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will be looking for a “home state advantage.” The two-time DP champions (2007, 2009) co-drive the popular bright red No. 99 “Red Dragon” GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP, which is based in Lewisville, Texas.
The car is owned by Texan Bob Stallings, GAINSCO’s executive chairman of the Board.
Two other Rolex Series teams have strong ties to Texas.
Houston driver/owner Tracy Krohn’s Krohn Racing is set to make its first DP start of the season with Krohn and Nic Jonsson at the wheel of the No. 76. Both drivers raced in the Rolex 24, finishing 26th in GT in a TRG Porsche GT3.
In the GT ranks, Texans can cheer for Park Place Motorsports of Dallas. Co-owner Patrick Lindsey shares the No. 73 Porsche GT3 with American Porsche factory driver Patrick Long to lead the team’s three-car entry.
The new No. 71 Porsche features two Texans — Jason Hart of Flower Mound and John McCutchen of Dallas, while Mike Skeen and Mike Vess co-drive the No. 72. The team debuted as Horton Motorsports in 2012 — leading five races for 32 laps — and switched to the Park Place banner for 2013.
Michael Shank Racing recently expanded to a car-car operation, with Gustavo Yacaman and Antonio Pizzonia sharing the No. 6 Ford/Riley. Other two-car teams are Starworks Motorsport, Action Express Racing and Team Sahlen.
BTE Sport – a regular in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge – debuted in the DP class in the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team will return at Austin, with Emmanuel Anassis and Anthony Massari driving the No. 27 Ford/Riley. Another new for 2013 team – 8Star Motorsports – will have Stephane Sarrazin joining team owner Enzo Potolicchio in the No. 3 Motorola Corvette DP. Krohn Racing will compete in the DP ranks for the first time since the 2012 Rolex 24, with Nic Jonsson and Houston’s Tracy Krohn in the No. 76 DP.
Other single-car DP teams include TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Wayne Taylor Racing, Doran Racing, Spirit of Daytona and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing.