Contential Tire Challenge - Starworks Daytona Preview
THE PLOT: Starworks Motorsport will take the shackles off their herd of Mustangs at Daytona this weekend.
The Fort Lauderdale-based team will have four Venezuelan-backed Ford Mustangs in the stable. With support from Duncan Batteries and RS21 footwear, the team is hoping for a debut to remember when the action gets going in the Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge at the Florida track on Friday.
Starworks have saddled up some of the hottest driving talent around — with regular Grand-Am Rolex Sports Cars Series stars Ryan Dalziel, from Lanarkshire in Scotland, and Venezuelans Enzo Politcchio and Alex Popow joining current FIA GT1 champ Lucas Luhr. John Dalziel and Miguel Potolicchio will team up in the third car with Gianni Potlicchio and Maurizio Scala in the fourth car.
Starworks Motorsport are hoping to reap the benefits from a successful test at Daytona earlier this month, and aim to get the Duncan Batteries-backed Ford Mustangs first past the post when the checkered flag comes down on their first outing in the Continental Tires series.
THE QUOTES: GS team manager MARCUS HASELGROVE: “We have been very busy since the test. We will be running four Ford Mustang cars at Daytona.
“The test was very successful because we managed to cycle the drivers through new cars, we ran every session and worked on an improved set-up.
“Since the test all the cars have undergone a major heat shielding upgrade and a couple of different brake packages that are tailored to the drivers.
“We are, in effect, a completely new program within the Starworks organisation and have had a lot of extra work with race prep and building up our pit equipment.
“In addition to our Venezuelan sponsors we have added sponsorship from Motorola, NOS energy drink, TuranAir carbon air tanks, Slacker Inc. Motorsports apparel, OMP racewear and Oakley and we have many more in the pipeline to be announced before Barber.
“We know it’s going to be very competitive out there — there will be 70+ cars so we need to stay out of trouble. It is hard to say how the yellows will fall but we have a strong driver line-up with Ryan and Lucas supporting Enzo and Alex.
“Enzo and Alex were also both within a second of the best GS times at the test. That says a lot about their commitment and the Venezuelan support.”
Starworks driver RYAN DALZIEL: “I am excited to see how much progress has been made because we only got the cars a little over a month ago. We went to the test and made massive gains. I think we will have a very strong package. It may not happen straight away, but we will have a car that we can fight with at Daytona and we can build on that for the future.
“We were as high as the top six in the test and we felt we hadn’t much more than put fuel in it. I have had a blast driving it, but it is definitely more fun when you race them. I am really looking forward to getting to Daytona and putting on a good show for the guys.”
THE FACTS: Practice and qualifying for both the BMW Performance 200 and the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona will be held on Thursday, January 26.
The BMW Performance 200 starts at 1.30pm on Friday (January 27), and the Rolex 24 At Daytona starts at 3.30pm on Saturday (January 28).
All 24 hours of the Rolex 24 will be broadcast live or via internet streaming on SPEED television and speedtv.com. The BMW Performance 200 will be televised on SPEED television on Saturday, February 4.