The 2012 GRAND AM series season opener at the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona turned out to be a fair outing for General Motors as the Corvette Daytona Prototypes and the Camaro GT.R’s both managed respectable finishes in their classes. While the four new Corvette Daytona prototypes may not have quite had the sweeping victories they had hoped for, they did prove that they should be taken seriously as contenders in the DP class.
Leading the DP Corvettes was the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype that managed to cross the line in 5th place in spite of fighting several mechanical issues throughout the majority of the race. Darren Law, Co-Driver of the Action Express Corvette DP, had this to say to the reporters from Team Chevy after the race:
“You know what, that was probably one of the toughest 24 Hour I have done. We had a lot of adversity. We had some engine issues prior to the race; we had to miss qualifying. The first probably eight hours of the race, we had an electrical misfire, which really cut the motor back and we struggled. But, the guys worked really hard – Action Express, Chevrolet, Corvette – they all did a great job. I’m proud of the car. I’m proud of the team. You know, I mean, we didn’t get the win, that was what we really wanted. But the other thing I am very proud of is that we were the very first Chevrolet out of all the group out there. A top-five is a good start to the season and we are happy to finish it.”
Rounding out the placements of the other Corvette DP’s during the Rolex 24 was the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona in 8th place, and the No. 9 Action Express in 9th place. Unfortunately, the No. 10 Suntrust Corvette Daytona Prototype was unable to finish the race due to a very uncharacteristic valve train issue. Wayne Taylor, owner of the Suntrust team told reporters from Team Chevy, “We’ve never had an engine problem in all the time we’ve run the Chevrolet engine program, so this is the first time. There was truly nothing we were worried about. In fact, this is probably the one 24 Hour I think we all felt – the only thing we were worried about was traffic, and we didn’t have any issues. Really caught us by surprise.”
It was also a fair outing for the Camaros in the GT Class. The Stevenson Motorsports driving team of Robin Liddell, John Edwards, and Ronnie Bremer piloted their number 57 Chevy Camaro GT.R to a respectable fourth place finish in the GT Class behind a trio of Porsches. John Edwards told the reporters from Team Chevy “It’s always hard to go through a 24-hour race, be chasing down a podium, but not quite get it. We knew this race we weren’t going to out-race the Porsches, but we tried to out-strategize them a little bit. We cut our fuel close, didn’t have to splash at the end, but in the end we still couldn’t get around or catch up to any of the top three Porsches.”
A bit further behind was the No. 88 Autohaus Camaro piloted by Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor, which managed to pull out a 10th place finish thanks to a hard push during the closing laps of the race.
Chevrolet’s Grand-Am racing campaign with the new Daytona Prototypes and Camaro GT.R’s will continue with the Porsche 250, to be held on March 30th and 31st at Barber Motor Sports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.