Debuting team driver Darren Law and a returning Memo Gidley will join two-time Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty at the wheel of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype for the 51st annual Rolex 24 at Daytona, Jan. 24-27, 2013. The announcement was made today by GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team owner Bob Stallings in a press conference at Daytona International Speedway on the opening day of a two-day Rolex Series test session on the 3.56-mile DIS road course.
“Last year we had three drivers but we decided we would have four drivers this year,” Stallings said. “We think four guys might be better this year and we had a pretty big list of recommended drivers given to us by GM. I always consult with Jon and Alex on anything as important as this, and honestly both of them came up with Darren's name as the perfect complement to what Memo brought to the team last year. That's our lineup and we are real excited about having four real fast and very experienced drivers driving the GAINSCO ‘Red Dragon' Corvette, and hopefully we can put that thing on the top edge of the podium this year.”
GAINSCO's best finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona was a second-place finish in 2008 when Gurney and Fogarty were joined by Jimmie Johnson and Jimmy Vasser. Gurney also won the pole with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing for the 2007 Rolex 24.
“This is the main prize,” Gurney said. “The Rolex 24 has been a difficult race for us over the years and we have learned a lot. We have come in a few times with guns blazing and have run into trouble quite a bit. We have put a lot of thought into it, and have learned over the years, and hopefully we are in a good place now. With this lineup, I am super excited about it, all of these guys are fast and tend to stay out of trouble, we will be in good shape come January.”
GAINSCO will campaign the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype for a second full season in 2013 after a debut development season with the new design this season.
“I think it was incredibly impressive that they were able to get the Corvette Daytona Prototype together for last year's Rolex 24 and have quite a competitive package,” Fogarty said. “It was a real short build time, all of the teams were rushed but everybody did a good job so obviously having a full year of running is usually beneficial. There has been a lot of development work through GM racing and Pratt and Miller that should make the car even more competitive this year. We have also had an opportunity to learn a lot and work on the car so I think we should see the Corvettes very strong in 2013, starting here with the Rolex 24.”
Law co-drove on the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winning team and also won a pair of 2012 races at the wheel of a Corvette Daytona Prototype similar to the No. 99 GAINSCO machine.
“I'm really excited to have the opportunity to race with the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team,” Law said. “I've raced against them for many, many years and also become good friends with Jon and Alex. I really appreciate the call from Bob Stallings and his trust in inviting me to be part of his team. I've been doing this race for over a decade. I know what it takes to win it, having won in 2009, and I look forward to helping them win their first Rolex 24.”
GAINSCO contested the last two Rolex 24s with a three-driver lineup with Gidley joining Gurney and Fogarty for his No. 99 team debut last year. Johnson completed GAINSCO's trio with Gurney and Fogarty in 2010 while the No. 99 used a four-driver lineup in the Rolex 24 from 2006 through 2009.
“For me, last year with the GAINSCO team was awesome,” Gidley said. “It is nice when you come into a group that has such great attention to detail and that is so focused on working hard. Everybody here has a lot of experience, we don't have to prove ourselves, it is a great combination and the decision for four drivers is awesome. You never know what could happen, someone could get sick during the night, and this is just taking that preparation to the next level, so I am super excited.”
On the track, Gurney led the opening test session Tuesday morning with an unofficial lap time of 1:41.726. “We rolled off the truck quick right off the bat,” Gurney said. “So far, so good. We've usually encountered some kind of issue early in our testing here, so I'm pretty happy with the way it's going.”
Testing continues today with two afternoon sessions, with the event concluding with a similar schedule on Wednesday.