Grand Am Rolex - Junqueira, Drisi Complete Team Sahlen Lineup For Rolex 24
DAYTONA BEACH, Jan. 1, 2013: Team Sahlen completed its lineup for the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona with the addition of open-wheel star Bruno Junqueira and endurance racing veteran Tomy Drissi.
The pair will join Simon Pagenaud, Joe Sahlen, Joe Nonnamaker, Will Nonnamaker and Wayne Nonnamaker in the Ohio-based debut in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype ranks, running a pair of BMW-powered Rileys.Junqueira and Drissi are coming off a strong run in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, winning at Mosport Park. Junqueira went on to finish third in the Prototype Challenge driver championship.
Junqueira won seven races and captured 10 poles in major open-wheel competition, finishing second in the championship three times from 2002 through 2004. He won the pole for the 2002 Indianapolis 500, and finished fifth in the classic in 2001 (with Chip Ganassi Racing) and 2004 (Newman/Haas Racing). He was the 1997 South America F3 Champion, then followed that up with the 2000 Formula 3000 Championship.
“This will be Team Sahlen’s first time in the Daytona Prototype class, and I hope to be able to make a contribution to their efforts to compete against the very best in sports car racing as we take on this twice around the clock event,” said Junqueira, who finished 11th in his lone DP race in the 2009 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. “Racing alongside fellow open wheel veterans Simon Pagenaud and Dane Cameron will provide a very stable platform that we can work towards having both entries up front in the race. Also, I have raced with Tomy in the past and we always get along quite well. It should be fun times indeed.”
This event will mark a return for Drissi to the Team Sahlen camp, having driven with the team in two Rolex Series GT races in 2005.
“I remember our adventures together way back in 2005 with their Porsches,” Drissi said. “ It’s my ideal of a perfect race team; a professional group with the right amount of family atmosphere thrown in to make it fun. The Rolex24 At Daytona is one of the premier endurance events in the world, and to be able compete in this event within the Daytona Prototype class with a chance to win overall is a dream come true.”
Drissi’s resume includes a wide range of motorsports experiences. This has included Grand American ROLEX & Continental Tire Series, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series, SCCA World Challenge, ALMS and vintage competition. During the 2011 and 2102 seasons he placed his focus in the American LeMans Series presented byTequila Patrón,. This resulted in 3 victories (inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Mosport Park), as well as seven podiums in 15 races. Drissi is most commonly associated with the SCCA Trans-Am Series, making a splash with 1999 Rookie of the Year honors, then following that up a decade later with the 2009 driver’s championship.
“We are looking forward to the addition of Tomy and Bruno to our already strong driver lineup,” said Sahlen’s Team Manager Jay Chapman. “Tomy has proven to be very adaptable over his career in wide variety of machinery. Bruno has proven in the past to not only be fast, but very knowledgeable in how to manage a long endurance event, such as the Rolex 24. The focus by the whole crew has been to make a real splash in our introduction to the Daytona Prototype Class. We have been working doubly hard to reach this point, and now having Tomy and Bruno as the final two additions to our driver lineup will give more impetus to that quest.”