Special Motorsports Event - Wright Motorsports Completes Successful Daytona Test
BATAVIA, Jan. 13, 2013: Wright Motorsports of Batavia, Ohio and Snow Racing of Pleasant Grove, Utah, have combined forces for a history-making entry in the 51st Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Jan. 24-27.
The entry marks the first time a mother and son will compete in this storied race, as Melanie Snow and her 17-year-old son Madison are two of five drivers of the Wright Motorsports/Snow Racing Porsche GT3 Cup No. 62 sponsored by Universal Industrial Sales (UIS) and Bilstein Shocks. Headquartered in Lindon, Utah, UIS is among the largest suppliers of overhead sign structures and fabricated highway products in the country.The other three drivers in the very strong line-up are veteran Porsche factory driver Sascha Maassen, 43, of Lontzen, Belgium; Porsche junior driver Klaus Bachler, 21, of Unzmarkt, Austria, who has been competing in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup; and top Porsche driver and instructor Marco Seefried of Wemding, Germany, 36. He’ll compete in two 24-hour races this month, as he is driving a Porsche 911 in the 24 Hours at Dubai Autodrome at press time.
Wright Motorsports/Snow Racing’s white, red and black Porsche is currently one of 36 entries in the Grand Touring (GT) class for the Rolex 24.
Both Melanie and Madison Snow are making their first Rolex 24 starts, although they have extensive experience in other series. Along with her husband, Martin Snow, and another driver, Patrick Huisman, Melanie Snow was part of the winning GTS entry at the Twelve Hours of Sebring in 1999 in a Porsche 911 Turbo.
Madison Snow, of Lehi, Utah, started racing at the age of 4 in karts. He finished second overall last year in the top class of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama with three victories in a car prepped by Wright Motorsports. When he clinched that series’ Gold Cup championship in 2011 when he was 15 he became the youngest Porsche one-make Cup champion in history. Although he won’t be the youngest driver ever to compete in the Rolex 24, at press time he’s the youngest driver entered in this year’s race, according to Grand-Am officials.
Maassen has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice and both the Twelve Hours of Sebring and the Petit Le Mans four times. He was the ALMS GT champion twice and he has also won the ALMS LMP2 championship and the FIA GT championship. He is also an instructor for Porsche, and one of his students is Bachler.
All five drivers participated in the official test for the event Jan. 4-6 at Daytona, where they logged 279 laps around the 3.56-mile, 12-turn road course that also incorporates most of the oval. They were in the top five in half of the eight test sessions, they were only out of the top 10 once, and they topped the charts in Practice 3.
“There were 12 hours of testing available, and we put 11 hours on the car,” said Wright Motorsports owner John Wright, who is participating in this race for the 19th time. He has been on the podium at this event many times in various roles, most recently in 2009 when he was the team owner/manager of the car that finished third in the GT division. Maassen was one of the drivers in that effort.
“The car was strong; we were fast at the test,” Wright said. “All the drivers showed good pace; there isn’t a weak link in our driver line-up, and the team is gelling nicely.
“In addition to UIS and Bilstein, we’d like to thank Porsche Motorsports North America for all their help, especially the guys who work in the engine and parts departments, and the phenomenal track support that they supply,” Wright added. “Running a 24-hour race is a big undertaking, but they make it a lot easier.”
Wright also stressed that it’s a pleasure to work with Martin Snow. “He brings so much experience to the program,” Wright said. “I don’t have to explain how endurance racing works to him. We get right down to business. I hope together we can make this Rolex 24 a winning performance.”
Wright Motorsports is coming off a sensational season in which its drivers finished first, second and third in the driver point standings and it won the team championship and Rookie of the Year award in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama. The team won 11 of the 15 races and had 27 podium finishes and 12 poles in that series last year with a driver line-up that included both rookies and veterans, just like it will have at the Rolex 24.
“We enjoy combining veterans with rookies,” Wright noted. “We pride ourselves on our driver development program. It fits our business model well, and it’s a way for us to help mold the sport’s future.”