Last season, as the Spirit of Daytona traveled north of the border to Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, their focus was on development and preparing their new #90 Porsche V-8 Coyote for what was about to be its third competition. Now, one year later, they will return with an entirely different set of expectations. Last year’s Montreal race saw the #90 car take an 11th place finish, which was the best result for the new car of the four races it entered in 2009. This season, in a year that has seen Spirit of Daytona earn nine consecutive top ten results, including three top fives, 11th place would be a definite disappointment.
The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 held its debut competition at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007, and now, in 2010, Rolex Series teams are more familiar with the unique logistical challenges the track presents. The 15 turn/2.7 mile track, located out on an island in the St. Lawrence River, has limited access and no public parking. As a result, most Rolex Series teams must travel to and from the track by subway. With configuration that puts pit road one mile from the paddock area, travel back to transporters is a lengthy process. Working on a condensed schedule in a race weekend shared with NASCAR, the one day of practice allotted for the Rolex Series will keep the teams on pit road for most of the day, reducing opportunities to make changes and making it critical that cars come off the trucks race-ready.
While some extra planning may be necessary to succeed at Montreal, Spirit of Daytona has good reason to believe their team enjoys some added advantages there. In addition to arriving fresh from their third top five of the year, Spirit of Daytona has a driver whose previous experience at Montreal could prove invaluable. Antonio Garcia scored a strong 4th place finish at the inaugural Rolex Series race in 2007. He followed that up with a 2nd place podium finish for the Cheever Racing Coyote in 2008. Garcia’s added insight into proper setup of a Coyote at Montreal and the team’s momentum, when added to the obvious talent of co-driver Buddy Rice, could be the perfect combination to bring the Spirit of Daytona #90 a long-awaited DP win.
Following their most recent race, Garcia commented on the continued progress the team has made throughout the season, saying, “The car is getting faster and faster and we are taking steps forward every time we race. As we get near the end of this season, I feel we will be able to fight for more than just another podium - there is no reason we can’t see Spirit of Daytona #90 earn our first win.” Rice and Garcia will be looking to score another season-best result at Montreal for 2010 and the entire Spirit of Daytona team is confident of their ability to do just that.
The Montreal 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will be held on Saturday, August 28th subject to a two-hour time limit. The green flag set to drop at 2:15 PM ET and is scheduled for live broadcast on SPEED TV beginning at 2:00 PM ET.