With the Mazda RX-8 out of production and thus out of its life cycle within GT, Team Sahlen has opted to trade out its RX-8s (LEFT) for Riley BMW Daytona Prototypes in 2013 in the Grand-Am Rolex Series.
This gives the team's lead driver Dane Cameron a chance to race full-time in DP next year. Cameron's made sporadic DP starts in the past, but has primarily raced in GT with Mazdas. He's also dovetailed commitments with Dempsey Racing's Le Mans program. Next year will be Cameron's second year with Team Sahlen.
Cameron and Wayne Nonnamaker will race in the team's No. 42 car, with Will and Joe Nonnamaker and Joe Sahlen in the sister, all-sportsman No. 43. The three drivers will all be entered as Sportsman Drivers for the Rolex DP Jim Trueman Award. Currently, this will be the only entry in DP with the driver lineup being exclusively Sportsman Drivers.
Along with changing classes and cars by stepping up from the GT to the DP class, Team Sahlen will also be altering their paint scheme. The 2013 paint package will be very graphic and bold, with bright yellow and red highlighted against a black painted body. The theme of lightning bolts within the paint scheme that has become synonymous with Team Sahlen will be tied into the graphics, but with the bolts this time being red instead of yellow. And the entire side of the DPs will be Yellow, with the Sahlen's red lettering inserted into the graphics.
Upon their entry in Daytona Prototypes, Team Sahlen will have made the full ascension through the Grand-Am ladder system, having started in the Continental Series ST class, winning the 2001 & 2002 Championships. Then rising to the GS class of the Continental Tire Series, then winning the 2003 & 2004 Titles. The Team then evolved to the premier Rolex series and has claimed the 2005 and 2011 Bob Akin Sportsman Awards.
“Ever since I was a little kid tagging along to my dad Joe's races in the 1980's, I have wanted to be in a prototype race car,” said Will Nonnamaker. “Watching some of the greats such as Holbert Racing and Group 44 inspired me then. When Wayne and I were racing in the Continental Tire Series ST class in the late 90's, we had the vision, of evolving the team to the prototype class, and to see it come to fruition with 2 entries in 2013 is unbelievable.”
“Everyone on the team has worked so hard in the past few seasons to raise our game to compete with the top teams in the GT class,” added Wayne Nonnamaker. “These enhancements will assist as we step up to Daytona Prototypes where many of the technical and operational items directly transfer from GT.”