2010 Rolex Series GT Champions Announce Full Driver Lineup
Rolex 24 at Daytona
For Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato, defending their hard-fought GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 GT Championship of 2010 is high on the priority list for the 2011 season.
Despite their success in the 2010 season, however, the duo counts its Rolex 24 result the low point of the season. After taking the pole in the GT class, the No. 69 FXDD SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 retired early. A year after that, with a championship under their belt, Segal and Assentato are ready to return to the Rolex 24 in an attempt at taking the win. Joining them is a trio of three highly-experienced drivers, all hungry to finish the 2011 event at the head of the GT field.
Nick Longhi, winner of the final two races of the 2010 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge for Rum Bum Racing, has been the regular third driver for the No. 69 for several seasons as well as an influential engineer for the championship-winning operation. He has joined Segal and Assentato for the past four Rolex 24 races, in addition to the 2008 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen victory. His best finish at the Rolex 24 was 2nd in GT (2005).
Anthony Lazzaro, a two-time Rolex 24 winner in both the GT (1999) and Rolex Series SRPII class (2002) returns for his second year with the No. 69 team in the annual 24-hour classic. He also drove with the team in the 2010 Sahlen’s Six Hours.
Nick Ham is familiar to the SpeedSource organization, but 2011 will mark his first race behind the wheel of the No. 69. Ham co-won the 2008 and 2010 race in the GT class in SpeedSource’s No. 70 entry.
“I’m very excited about the driver lineup that we have assembled for the Rolex 24,” Segal said. “We have the perfect combination of experience, speed, and knowledge to succeed this year. Emil and I had an incredible run to the championship last year, and we’re both motivated to carry that success into 2011 and resolve some unfinished business at the Rolex 24.”
While the racing pedigree of the entire 69 lineup leaves no doubts of the team’s ability, Segal said the team’s greatest strength has less to do with past results.
“The most exciting part of our driver lineup is our collective experience, both at the wheel of an RX-8 and together with the SpeedSource organization,” he said. “We all have extensive experience in this car and with this team, and as such we don’t have a learning curve with our drivers. We have refined our strategies from our past experiences, and that kind of detail is what matters in a tough race like this.”
Segal said he believes the team will be as competitive as ever at Daytona.
“This team certainly knows how to win this race, and their recent success in 2008 and 2010 can back this up,” Segal said. “We’ve got a proven race-winning car, a skilled and experienced team, and what I believe is the strongest driver lineup in the field. We’re ready to race!”