Daytona Beach, FL: The Spirit of Daytona Racing team has been a part of GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 competition since the inaugural season of the series in 1999. Despite their enviable record of 16 Rolex Series class victories and two team championships, many race fans are not aware of the team’s winning history. For 2010, the Spirit of Daytona team has brought a new level of commitment to the series, and fans and competitors alike have taken note of the change. Following setbacks at the season-opener Rolex 24, the #90 Porsche V-8 Coyote has come back stronger than ever. The 2nd and 3rd rounds of the season clearly show the Spirit of Daytona’s level of improvement, as they scored back-to-back top ten finishes. Their most recent race saw Antonio Garcia take 2nd place on the starting grid in a close contest for pole position, delivering the team’s best qualifying result to date in their DP competition.
Last year, the Spirit of Daytona scored a 10th place finish at VIR, campaigning their #09 Porsche Coyote. The #09 featured the older Coyote chassis style and a different team of drivers. This season with Garcia and co-driver Buddy Rice behind the wheel of the new generation Coyote, they expect to be even more competitive. While the team has traveled to VIR many times in the past, this season’s event will mark the debut race for both Rice and Garcia. The VIR 3.27 mile road course will not be a total unknown, however, as both drivers took the #90 on track there for testing late last season.
Rice explained, “We tested at VIR in October, but that was my first time on the course. I have never raced there before, so I’ll have to wait and see if it will be a good track for me or not. Being a new full-time driver to the Rolex Series this year is proving to be really exciting. Antonio and I are in the same situation so we will both have a lot of ‘firsts’ this season. The Spirit of Daytona team was a strong contender at Barber and the car is really starting to come around. Troy Flis and his crew, Pratt & Miller, the Lozano Brothers - they are all really doing a great job for us. We are making a lot of strides in the right direction and expect to make a good showing at VIR.”
The recent Rolex Series race at Barber Motorsports Park was the first competition of 2010 held on a true road course, and many believed it would be a good predictor of how the DP class might fare for the remainder of the season. The strong outing for Spirit of Daytona there indicates the level of competition that the #90 will bring to the Rolex Series the rest of the year. As Rice and Garcia take to the track at VIR for their debut race, they would like nothing better than to experience yet another ‘first’, by taking the #90 Spirit of Daytona to its first DP victory of 2010 there.
Round 4 of the Rolex Series will be held at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday, April 24th, 2010. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 12:00 PM ET, and will be broadcast live on SPEED TV.