· Daytona Prototype, GT, GS, and ST Records set on Continental Tires
Daytona Beach, FL (Jan. 28, 2011) - The statisticians were as busy as the drivers at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday after four different track records were established in the opening qualifying sessions of the 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season. The day marked the first official on-track action for Continental Tire, the new official tire of the Rolex Sports Car Series.
Running in the top Daytona Prototype class with the Continental ExtremeContact race tires, Jorg Bergmiester set a fast lap time of 1:40.099 seconds with a Porsche-powered Riley in the closing moments of the session after getting some encouragement from his Flying Lizards crew. "I was ready to come in, and the team told me to try again," Bergmeister said. "I went for it. I risked everything, and it worked out perfectly. I knew we have a great car and a great engine, but I was really surprised to win the pole - with the team running the DP for the first time. I was hoping to qualify in the top five."
The GT Class also saw history being made, as Dominik Farnbacher's Porsche posted a quick time of 1:48.781 to also set a new record in the GT Class.
"I am happy to start from the pole," Farnbacher said. "My lap was really good. The car was phenomenal. It was really good in the Horseshoe and really stable under braking into the Bus Stop. The only issue I had was with the brake bias. I was having some tire lock-up and the brake bias was not really helping. I had to brake a little earlier to stay safe and it worked out to having a pretty good lap."
There was still history to be made on the day, as the cars of the 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge took to the track to set the grid for Friday's GRAND-AM 200. Once again, the stopwatches were ablaze as new fast lap times were set in both the Street Tuner (ST) and Grand Sports (GS) Classes.
Rum Bum Racing's Nick Longhi, who won the final race of the 2010 season, started 2011 off on the right foot with his pole-winning time of 1:56.959-seconds, nearly three full seconds faster than the previous record. The Volkswagen GTI of Ryan Ellis also posted a record-setting effort with a time nearly two seconds quicker than the previous mark.
The Rolex 24 At Daytona race begins Continental Tire's expanded commitment to GRAND-AM Road Racing as it becomes the official tire of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. The GRAND-AM 200 will take the green flag on Friday at 1:30 PM ET, with SPEED delivering the race broadcast February 5th at 3:00 PM.
The 49th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona will be broadcast live on SPEED starting at 3:00 PM ET on Saturday, January 29.
The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is one of the most competitive professional road racing series in North America. The two easily distinguishable classes make the racing easy to follow, with the series featuring purpose-built Daytona Prototypes and the production-based GT division in which cars such as Porsches, Ferraris, Mustangs and Mazdas compete. The GRAND-AM Road Racing model has revolutionized racing with its electric battles at the front of the field and close finishes in virtually every race. The season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona is North America's premier sports car event and has become a "race of champions" featuring stars from NASCAR, IndyCar, F1, and international sports car series.
Continental Tire and GRAND-AM have conducted a series of testing throughout the 2010 season, allowing the development of the tire technology to enhance the level of competitive racing for their official Rolex Series racing debut at the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona.