Photo by John Thawley
Daytona Beach, Fla.  The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 46th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona was held January 25-27 at Daytona International Speedway. When the checker flag fell after 24 grueling hours and over 2,300 miles of intense competition it was the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona FABCAR /Porsche leading the way for Porsche-powered Daytona Prototypes, finishing 10th in  class.

The new No. 09 Spirit of Daytona car made its racing debut at the 2007 season-ending event at Miller Motorsports Park last September. The team also participated in the Pirelli tire test at Daytona back in November. Guy Cosmo shared the driving duties with his regular co-driver, Marc-Antoine Camirand, while the two were joined for the Rolex 24 at Daytona by Rolex veteran Michael McDowell.

"I’ve been saying all along that this car keeps improving each time we go out,” said an exhausted Cosmo. “Developing a new chassis and motor program at the same time is a huge undertaking, so we’re extremely realistic with our objectives and goals.  Coming in to the race I was optimistic of finishing and felt we had a top-10 car, so I’m really pleased with our result.”

“This is a great foot forward for this program and to take a top-ten result with a package that’s basically brand-new shows that there is a tremendous amount of potential here,” said team owner Troy Flis. “I’m really proud of the effort that the entire Spirit of Daytona crew put in just to be ready for the weekend, and I know we leaned pretty hard on this driver line up with just three guys in the car. But fortunately we had the right three guys in there, and were able to keep everything moving forward all race long. We learned a ton, and now we’re just anxious to put that info to use the next time we get the chance to.”

The Rolex 24 at Daytona is a 24-hour endurance race that takes on a much different complexion than any other race. It requires a very patient approach and cool-headed management of your equipment. Cosmo, his co-drivers and the entire Spirit of Daytona team stayed committed and met the challenge.

“This motor overheated twice during the weekend and frankly just one of those would have knocked any other motor down for the count,” said Cosmo. “But once they cleared out the rads and got the fluids sorted out, it just went back on track and kept pounding out the solid laps right to the finish. I’m amazed. That’s the kind of stout reliability that’s crucial if you want to finish this race. It’s great to get to the finish-I’ve never done that before and it’s been a long day and night, but it feels fantastic!  I'm so proud of this team and driver line up.  We all persevered and out-lasted some very strong competition.”

Cosmo and the Spirit of Daytona #09 Porsche/Fabcar are scheduled to run:
    Rolex 24 ~ January 26 - 27, 2008
    Homestead ~ March 29 - 29, 2008
    Watkins Glen 6hr. ~ June 7 - 7, 2008
    Daytona 250 ~ July 3 - 3, 2008
    Barber Motorsports Park ~ July 20 - 20, 2008
    Montreal ~ August 1 - 1, 2008
    Watkins 200 ~ August 8 - 8, 2008

Guy Cosmo's extensive background with open-wheel formula cars and sports prototypes has earned him a reputation as one of the most successful and versatile young racing drivers in North America. The 2005 American Le Mans Series Rookie of the Year ranks among the top-level road racers in the world. He has earned overall racing titles and major successes in many disciplines including karting, Formula Ford, Formula 2000, Star Mazda, Toyota Atlantic, Grand American and American Le Mans. You can learn more about Guy Cosmo at www.guycosmo.com.

The Grand American Road Racing Association, which operates and sanctions the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 and the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series, is the premier road racing organization in North America. The 15-race 2008 Rolex Series and the 11-race KONI Challenge Series calendars deliver professional sports car racing to key markets throughout North America in addition to being televised in the United States and Canada on SPEED and distributed globally through ESPN International. Learn more about Grand-Am at www.grand-am.com.