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Tom Volk is First Entry for Rolex 24 at Daytona

15 December 1998

Daytona Beach, FL-December 10th, 1998

  The 1999 Rolex 24 at Daytona gets underway at 1:00 pm January 30th. The
field for this prestigious sportscar classic is already starting to take
shape. Some familiar names are on the preliminary entry list. Tom Volk,
owner of TVR Motorsport, was the first owner to submit his official entry
form. Volk will utilize a Riley & Scott Mark III chassis mated with a
Chevrolet V-8. Volk currently has listed Jeret Schroeder, Paul Debban, a
driver to be named later as well as himself as the team.

  Another entry listed is the Doyle-Risi team led by 1996 Rolex 24 winner
Wayne Taylor. Once again, Taylor will lead the charge in the Toshiba/Lease
Plan/Danka/Pirelli sponsored Ferrari 333 SP. 

  Perhaps the most surprising announcement is the return of Don and Dale
Whittington to the sportscar racing scene. The Whittington's were involved
in a drug smuggling scheme back in the middle 1980's. For their exploits the
Whittington's served time in prison. Their brother Bill is still
incarcerated. None the less, having served their debt to society the
Whittington's will be making a comeback. Their chances of winning the 24
Hour race are enhanced with the addition of Hurley Haywood as the third
driver. Haywood, the master of endurance at Daytona, returns to Daytona for
his 26th over-all start. The new DLW racing team purchased two Ford Riley &
Scott cars from Jim Matthews. The Whittington's return to racing is somewhat
of a surprise and will no doubt add some added attention to pit row.

  One of the most anticipated returns to sportscar racing is the debut of
Corvette's factory effort. Two Corvette C5-R's will race in GT2.
Indianapolis based, Riley & Scott, will manage the first team. Currently the
driver's listed for the team are Scott Sharp, Andy Pilgrim and John
Heinricy. The second team will have Ron Fellows, Chris Kneifel and John
Paul,Jr. Some race fans will recall that a Corvette raced in the 1980's with
Doc Bundy and Sarel Van derMerwe under the guidance of Hendrick Motorsports.
The Hendrick Corvette, which was incredibly fast and won several races,
proved to be unreliable in long-distance racing. One of the problems most
often discussed was the mating of Chevrolet power with a Lola chassis. This
new car is a total factory effort from the ground up. 

  A European transplant, the Eurotech Marcos LM600, will race in GT2 under
the Marcos Racing banner. The team which has been a participant on the FIA
GT championship the last three seasons will be utilizing the talents of
owner Cor Euser, Herman Buurman and Christian Vann during the testing sessions. 

  The announcement by Porsche that a factory effort for 1999 will not be
forthcoming is good news for the privateers. One of those privateers,
three-time IMSA and PSCR champion Larry Schumacher, has entered one car for
the test session. Listed with Schumacher are John O'Steen and Martin Snow.
Another GT2 Porsche is on the test session list. Seikel Motorsports has
entered a  twin-turbo Porsche GT2 with drivers Robert Nearn and Anssi Munz.

  With the test session of January 9-11 quickly approaching the race teams
will be forwarding their applications. The deadline for testing entries is
January 4th, 1999 and January 15th, 1999 for the Rolex 24. A preliminary
listing of entries will be posted on December 15th. 

David Treffer --  The Auto Channel