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Max Papis Returns to Daytona

12 January 1998

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA -- "Mad Max" Papis, driver of the Arciero-Wells/MCI Racing Powered by Toyota entry in the CART FedEx Championship Series comes full circle this weekend, as he returns to the Daytona International Speedway, site of his first race in the United States. Papis will be competing in the 36th annual running of the historic Rolex 24 at Daytona January 31-February 1 with the Scandia Ferrari Team with teammates Bob Wollek, Yannick Dalmas and Ron Fellows.

Max Papis In His MCI CART Toyota

"This is a very exciting opportunity for me to be back driving the Ferrari 333 SP at Daytona," said the young Italian Papis. "Daytona was the site of my first U.S. race and it holds a special place in my heart. To be competing in the 24 Hours again is a good experience. I appreciate and thank the MCI Racing team, Toyota and Cal Wells for allowing me the chance to race again at Daytona in this important endurance race," added Papis. "I am proud to be associated again with Ferrari and am happy for the opportunity to drive with Andy Evans and Scandia Racing. I feel I have unfinished business both at Daytona and with the Ferrari 333 SP. This year I'll show that 'Mad Max' started at Daytona in a Ferrari and is back at Daytona in a Ferrari to finish the business I started two years ago."

Joining Max for the endurance classic at Daytona is sponsor MCI. "I am very proud to have MCI join me for this special Daytona event," said Papis, 28. "We have built a strong relationship over the past year and a half and it is an honor to have their support of my racing career. I hope to give MCI and guests much pride and satisfaction in my effort at the 1998 running of the 24 Hours of Daytona," said the amiable Papis.

In his first season of IMSA Exxon World SportsCar competition in January of 1996, Max Papis made a name for himself and a place in the history books with the closest finish in the history of the 24 Hours of Daytona. Papis and teammates Gianpiero Moretti, Didier Theys and Bob Wollek drove their #30 MOMO Ferrari to within 65 seconds of winning the race against Wayne Taylor in the twice-around-the-clock endurance competition. Papis collected the fastest lap of the race just six laps from the checkered flag, setting one of six track records that season.

Papis earned the "Mad Max" moniker from his close racing style and late race charges to victory during his 1996 IMSA sports car racing season. By season end, "Mad Max" had collected three victories, three seconds, a third, two fourth and a fifth in ten starts. He also had four poles and four fastest laps in his inaugural World SportsCar season, all track records.

Papis and the Arciero-Wells/MCI Racing team have been busy preparing for the 1998 CART season, which begins with Spring Training at Homestead, Fla., on February 4, 1998, with the first race also at Homestead on March 15.

"The 1998 season will be another very busy year for me in Championship cars," said Papis. We have 19 races this year, including five international events (Japan, Brazil, Australia as well as two in Canada). Additionally, I am looking forward to doing many personal appearances for my sponsors MCI and Toyota."

The return of "Mad Max" Papis to Ferrari and sports car racing at Daytona will be worthy of seeing. His racing appearance will be anything but business as usual.

Editors Note: The images displayed in this article (plus many more) can be viewed in the Racing Image Galleries from The Callahan Racing Page.