Has High Hopes for Rolex 24
CENTERVILLE, Ohio, Jan. 28 - Larry Connor
of Centerville, Ohio will be part of one of the most star-studded fields of drivers assembled for any American auto race when he
participates in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Feb. 5-6.
Drivers representing more than 100 professional auto racing championships are entered in the 43rd edition of North America's most prestigious endurance sports car race.
will drive one of 29 cars competing in the top class, Daytona Prototype (DP), up from 17 just one year ago.Another 33 cars are entered in the GT
division in the twice-around-the-clock enduro to make up the 62-car field.The divisions have anywhere from an 8 to 20 mph difference in speed, which means different braking points, driving lines and just plain intense traffic.
Duncan Dayton, Mike Borkowski and Paul Mears Jr. will share the driving duties with Connor
in the Michael Shank Racing entry.
In addition to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Petit Le Mans, Connor
has raced in the Rolex 24 before, running a Lola Nissan with the Archangel Motorsports
team in the now-defunct Sports Racing Prototype II class in 2002.That effort ran into some problems and didn't finish the event, which is always the first goal of everyone entered in a 24-hour enduro.Just to finish is a great accomplishment.
The Michael Shank Racing team finished fourth in the DP class in last year's Rolex 24 with a DORAN JE4 Lexus, and Connor
has high hopes for this year's race.
"I think we have a good package, a good team, a good driver line-up, and a real good chance to finish the race and do well," he
said."I'm really happy to be with Michael Shank Racing for this race.It's the first time I've run with them, but they're professional, very organized and dedicated.
"Duncan [Dayton] and I have driven together in the past, and he's a great teammate," Connor
, who is a two-time SCCA Formula Atlantic champion, has driven this DP twice in testing."I drove the car at a test at Homestead [another track in Florida] and at the test at Daytona a few weeks ago," he
explained."It's a good car; I think we have a great package.Actually I was a bit surprised that a 2,100-pound car handled as well as it did." Connor
said this might not be his
only race with this team this year."Potentially I may do Mont-Tremblant [Quebec, Canada] in May and Watkins Glen [New York] in June," he
hasn't been doing much differently in preparation for the Rolex 24, the most grueling event on the series' 14-race calendar."I work out five or six days a week year-round, so I'm not doing much differently with my training," he
said, adding "I will try to get a lot of sleep leading into that weekend, though."
...For more information on Connor, the chief executive officer of The Connor Group, a real estate investment firm, please see www.theconnorgrp.com.
Other interesting information may be found at www.michaelshankracing.com, www.grandamerican.com, www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com and www.restartcommunications.com.