Photo by John Thawley
Guy Cosmo and Spirit of Daytona Racing pulled out all the stops at Homestead Miami Speedway for the GAINSCO Grand Prix. This phase in the teams development of the #09 Porsche-powered Coyote Daytona Prototype would be summed up in one word. Aggressive. After Cosmo’s stellar qualifying run that saw the team positioned 6th on the grid, a decision was made to let the Porsche power out and make a run for the front.

While the Coyote is a derivative of  the Fabcar, the oldest Daytona Prototype chassis running in the Series, the Porsche power more than made up for the disadvantage the team finds themselves with. As newer packages come on line, and still others compete with thousands of hours of development time,  Spirit of Daytona continued to show they have what it takes to run at the front.

And run at the front they did. After the first caution Cosmo had the car up in second place. And pushing the car to its limits, he was able battle his way into a competitive top-5 position. But a late race spin as he was working his way to 4th resulted in an off-track excursion costing him valuable track time. After turning the car over to Marc Camirand, the team finished 13th on the day.

“This had to be one of the best races I’ve had in Grand-Am,” noted a disappointed Cosmo. “Taking a completely undeveloped car and mixing it up with the best of the series was incredible.  Unfortunately, I was working so hard to keep that car with the lead group towards the end of my stint, I had one little slip and the car got away from me.”

“Our car was very good on the brakes compared to the other’s in the field,” continued Cosmo. However we experimented with our gearing to reduce wheel-spin on corner exit, and it wound up making us a bit slow off the corners.  So naturally I was trying take full advantage of our braking capability to gain me some distance on entry to compensate for where we were losing on exit.”

But Cosmo’s teammates were behind his efforts one hundred percent.

“Before I strapped into that car,” said Cosmo, laughing, “I was told to do anything in my power to get that car towards the front and drive it absolutely on the ragged edge ‘till the wheels fell off.  So that’s what I did. The only problem with doing that is sometimes you fall off - I guess I just asked a little too much in that last braking zone, got some rear brake lock-up and the car got away from me as I was entering turn 8.”

“I know that Guy is disappointed with what happened, but I’m not mad because we want these guys to be pushing and he was doing just that,” said Flis.  “We just didn’t have our brake bias set like we should and it caught him out. This really isn’t even a track where we’d expect to be that quick because this car makes a lot of downforce so this layout doesn’t really let the car shine like it can, so to be quick here gets us pretty excited about getting to the Glen and to Barber and places like that.”

“I’m really proud of what we saw out there from this car today,” said Spirit of Daytona team owner Troy Flis. “We raced our way into the top five—it wasn’t a fluke pit stop situation or anything so we’re really excited to have that kind of pace in this car’s first ever sprint race. We feel like there is more we can do still and everyone on this team is really excited about that.”
Cosmo and the Spirit of Daytona #09 Porsche/Coyote are scheduled to run:  
    Rolex 24 ~ January 26 - 27, 2008
    Homestead ~ March 29 - 29, 2008
    Watkins Glen 6hr. ~ June 7 - 7, 2008
    Mid-Ohio ~ June 20 - 22, 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.