Another record-setting performance from Pirelli, in addition to an unprecedented Pirelli P Zero Club GT bonus payout of $35,000 – made Saturday’s Montreal 200 on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve one of the most memorable races in Pirelli’s successful three-year run in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas co-drove to a record eighth GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype win to clinch the 2010 Daytona Prototype Team Championship for the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley team. Pruett and Rojas may also win their second GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype driver championship as a duo in two weeks at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City if each drives for a minimum 30 minutes in the season-ending race.
“It’s been an incredible season for us,” Pruett said. “We’ve hit on something that’s incredible, and I can’t say enough about the Pirelli tires. We really know how to get the most out of them at the different tracks. It’s truly been a dream season, and it (winning in Montreal) takes some of the stress off going into Salt Lake City.”
Pruett and Rojas shared the victory-lane podium with the second-place #99 GAINSCO Bob Stallings Racing/Chevrolet Riley of Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney, and the third place No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli.
“The Pirellis held up really, really well,” Angelelli said. “Those tires have proved to be good in all types of conditions and weather and they are enjoyable to drive.”
In GT action, the No. 07 Banner Racing Chevrolet Corvette team of Paul Edwards and motorcycle road-racing legend Scott Russell scored its first victory of the season, and took home the record P Zero Club bonus as well. Russell – a former World Superbike Champion and five-time winner of the Daytona 200 motorcycle race – scored his first victory on four wheels with this weekend’s win.
“We have been so close so many times,” Edwards said. “The whole team never gave up, and for it finally to come together, thanks in part to Pirelli, this is just a great feeling. I was just able to push the heck out of the car and the tires.”
A first time 2010 race winner, the No. 07 Banner team pocketed the record $35,000 payout that has been building for the past six races since last being claimed at VIR in April.
“The bonus is huge and the Pirelli guys were up there at the podium with the team, and they all had big smiles on their faces for us,” Edwards said. “They are just a super cool group of guys and we are happy to win one with them.”
The GT podium was rounded out by the Stevenson Motorsports’ #97 and #57 Camaro GT.Rs, which finished second and third respectively. Ronnie Bremer and Gunter Schaldach drove the #97 car for Stevenson, and Andrew Davis and Robin Lidell piloted the #57 car.
Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato finished fourth in the No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8, opening up an eight-point lead (318-310) over SpeedSource teammate Sylvain Tremblay in the championship. Tremblay, who shares the No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 with Jonathan Bomarito, finished seventh.
This weekend’s repeat win by the No. 01 team also gave the Daytona Prototype P Zero Club bonus pool a “double bonus” bump to $15,000 for the season-ending race at Miller Motorsports Park in two weeks. The GT Pirelli P Zero Club bonus at Miller will be $5,000.
The Pirelli P Zero Club is comprised of returning teams that finished inside the top 10 in the final 2009 GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype and GT points standings. When one of those teams in either class scores its first victory of the 2010 season they will also earn a $5,000 Pirelli P Zero Bonus. Any repeat wins in the remainder of the season, or victories by non-eligible teams, will result in that race’s $5,000 bonus to “roll over” and continue to build at each race until other P Zero Club members score their first 2010 victories. For the season finale at Miller Motorsports Park on September 11, all members of the P Zero Club will again be eligible for the bonus, regardless of whether or not they have won earlier in the season.
Saturday’s sprint kicked off a season-ending stretch of two races in the next three weekends that will bring the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season to a close. The season-ending race at Miller Motorsports Park can be seen live on SPEED on Saturday, September 11 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.