8Star Motorsports drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Michael Valiante check into SPEED.com following qualifying for the VisitFlordia.com Sports Car 250 at Road America.
FOX Sports and IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) announced today a five-year multi-media rights deal that solidifies United SportsCar Racing’s home on television through the 2018 season.
Today’s announcement, which comes on the heels of last week’s news that FOX Sports will broadcast NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races through 2024, bolsters FOX’s expansive motorsports coverage. The agreement also includes coverage of IMSA’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge for five years. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
For motorsports fans accustomed to FOX Sports’ broadcast presentation of various forms of racing, including NASCAR since 2001, today’s announcement signals another exciting development for sports car racing in America. In September of 2012, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón announced the two entities were merging in one of the most significant developments in the history of sports car racing in North America. Later named United SportsCar Racing, sanctioned by IMSA, the premier new sports car racing series begins its next chapter with the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January of 2014.
“It’s hard to argue that there’s a global media company more equipped and better resourced to cover and broadcast sports car racing than FOX Sports,” said Ed Bennett, CEO of IMSA. “By partnering with FOX Sports for the next five years, United SportsCar Racing, Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and their teams, tracks, drivers and sponsors are positioned for strong exposure while our existing fans can expect top-notch presentation, promotion and marketing.”
Team Sahlen scored its first-ever Daytona Prototype pole Friday, with Dane Cameron taking the team’s No. 42 Riley-BMW to the top spot in qualifying for Saturday’s VisitFlorida.com Sports Car 250 at Road America.
Cameron reeled off a best lap of 2:00.028 in the 15-minute session, edging out the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP of Jordan Taylor by 0.547 seconds. The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-BMW of Memo Rojas qualified third overall and in class.
“It’s tough coming to these places and having no information,” said Cameron, who along with the team are in their first year of DP competition. “I never had been in a DP at Road America and neither had the team, so we didn’t really have any idea what to do.
“We had just been drawing what we’ve learned and what has been working so far. This weekend we showed up pretty good and we were kinda quickest out of the gate.”
Max Angelelli topped Thursday’s lone Rolex Series practice, kicking off an historic weekend which also includes the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. Angelelli wheeled his No. 10 Velocity Worldwide around Road America’s scenic 4.048-mile course in 2:02.130 (119.32 mph), just 0.036 seconds ahead of Dane Cameron in the No. 42 Sahlen’s BMW/Riley, 2:02.166 (119.29 mph).
Ricky Taylor rounded out the top three with a lap of 2:02.181 (119.27 mph) in the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.com/Go-Pro Corvette DP.
Top Canadian Indy Car and road racing star Alex Tagliani will partner reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT co-Champion Jeff Segal in the No. 61 R.Ferri/AIM Autosport Racing with Ferrari 458 Italia at next weekend’s inaugural GRAND-AM Road Racing SFP Grand Prix at Kansas Speedway, August 16 – 17.
Tagliani will be filling in for regular No. 61R.Ferri/AIM Ferrari driver Max Papis who was previously committed to the NASCAR Nationwide race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The announcement aligns Quebec-native Tagliani, one of Canada’s top racing stars of the last two decades, with fellow Canadians Remo Ferri and AIM Autosport team principals Ian Willis and Andrew Bordin for the first time.
“It’s not every day that a driver has the chance to drive a red Ferrari in racing, and doing it for R.Ferri/AIM Motorsport means even more,” Tagliani said. “I have a great respect for Ian as an engineer and Andrew, whom I raced against. They have been long-time friends on and off track. Driving Remo’s car is a great opportunity and an honor for a Canadian-born driver with Italian heritage. Remo is such a passionate guy for motorsports and I can already feel a great vibe in this team.”