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50 Teams Register for USRRC Rolex 24 at Daytona; Day 1 Test Results

9 January 1998

Daytona Beach, FL -

Fifty teams have registered for the Rolex 24 at Daytona three-day test
session. The new sanctioning body United States Road Racing Commission
(USRRC) under SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) guidance will kick-off the
sportscar season of racing on January 31-February 1, 1998.

The transition from the old "Sportscar" sanctioning to the new USRRC has
been smoother than earlier reports suggested. The first day of testing was
nothing short of complete professionalism on the part of the officials,
drivers and support personnel. Perhaps the fact that many of the people
involved in the USRRC sanctioning committee were also involved in the two
former sportscar racing bodies. None the less the dire predictions of no one
showing up to race proved to be hollow. The race teams have arrived anxious
to get on the track to get the 1998 road racing season underway.

The old World Sports Car (WSC) class will now be called Can-Am (CA), which
is a revived terminology from the old Group 7-based series which ran from
1966-1986 under SCCA sanctioning.  The other race groups of GT1, GT2 and GT3
will remain with the same nomenclature.

Using the season-ending race at Laguna Seca as a high-water mark where
twenty-one CA (WSC) cars took the grid. The fact that 14 CA cars are testing
this week-end has to be reassuring to the future of North American road
racing. Officials of the USRRC during a post-test session get together used
the platform to stress the fact that the sanctioning officials want to work
with the race teams to assure a smooth transition and to build a solid
foundation for future growth. Of course, like anything where major and
drastic change is involved, performance will be the great measuring stick. 

On the race track, the car dominating the testing are the two Ferrari 333
SP's of Andy Evans/Yannick Dalmas/Bob Wollek and  Ron Fellows. Indy-Car
driver  Max Papis is listed on the team and is scheduled to appear sometime
this week-end. Dalmas set the fastest time of the day with an unofficial
time of 1:40.470 seconds for a speed of 127.560mph. The time is just
two-tenths of a second off of the official qualifying record of 1:40.456
(127.578 mph) set by Fermin Velez last year. The other team that has been on
top of the speed charts is another team with a 333SP. The team of Wayne
Taylor/Eric Van der Peole and Fermin Velez. The team has already logged over
1,000 test miles in Europe with another test scheduled for next week at Sebring.

 Test times from these week-ends should always be accepted with a healthy
dose of skepticism. Teams are all testing different set-ups, new drivers and
in some instances new chassis.

Defending CA champion Dyson Racing is breaking in a new 1998 Riley & Scott
chassis. Driver's Champion Butch Leitzinger is leading a familiar contingent
of  James Weaver, John Paul,Jr., Elliott-Forbes Robinson, and team owner and
leader Rob Dyson. Drivers added for the Rolex 24 include Dorsey Schroeder
and Perry McCarthy. 

The fun has just begun....... 

Unofficial Times for Can-Am Rolex 24 at Daytona (Day 1)

Car #		Driver			Marque		Time
3		Dalmas			Ferrari 333 SP		1:40.470
43		Evans/Dalmas		Ferrari 333 SP		1:42.007
17		Taylor/Velez		Ferrari 333 SP		1:42.042
20		Leitzinger/Paul		Ford Riley & Scott	1:44.173
16		Dyson/Weaver  	        Ford Riley & Scott	1:44.201
30		Moretti/Theys		Ferrari 333 SP		1:45.364
36		Matthews/Murry	        Ford Riley & Scott	1:48.151
8		Schubot/Camferdam	Chevy Riley & Scott	1:48.348
95		Volk/Schroeder	        Chevy Kudzu		1:55.213
63		Downing/Katz		Mazda Kudzu		1:56.197
62		Spencer/Thomas	        Mazda Kudzu		1:56.312
11		Fairbanks/Goldsboroug   Mazda Hawk		2:02.537

David Treffer -- The Auto Channel