The “Roar before the 24” at Daytona International Speedway occurs this week on December 7th, 8th and 9th. Team Sahlen will be attending the test with their #42 and #43 SpeedSource build Mazda RX-8s. Fans of Team Sahlen though may have to look extra closely to catch the Sahlen racers. That is because for 2011, Team Sahlen is unveiling a whole new paint scheme.
Will Nonnamaker shares his thoughts on the new look – “We are very excited about our new paint scheme. The previous variation was run from 2001-2010, so for the10 years we have a very consistent look. I am very sentimental to the previous design. We had a lot of success and secured several championships in those schemes. But even though the current look has become a trademark for us with the fans, 2011 is the perfect time to revise our paint scheme. We are working hard to make an impression on the ROLEX GT class for 2011, and what better way to signify that with a new look. But fans need not worry that are straying too far from our roots. The familiar Yellow Lighting bolt will be emblazoned into the design. And along with the Sahlen logo, the colors will still be Red, Black, White and Yellow. Additionally, each Team Sahlen Mazda will have the same paint scheme, but with a little bit variation in the color combination. This will add some real variety to our paddock and the series. And additionally, it will assist everyone in being able to distinguish one Team Sahlen Mazda from another.”
Beyond the new paint scheme, Team Sahlen hopes to continue to have an impact on the GT class through their efforts on track. This includes being a consistent front runner in the GT field, a pattern that started at the end of the 2010 race season, and cumulated with Team Sahlen being the top Mazda at the fall Homestead test.
Chief Engineer Catherine Crawford Wallace shares her anticipation for the test – “We are looking forward to starting off 2011 with our new car and some restructuring in our team. We had a good test at Homestead and feel we learned many things that should translate well to Daytona. The test days should give us a chance to jell as a team and be ready for the 24.”
Drivers for Team Sahlen will be Memo Gidley, Joe Sahlen, and Joe, Wayne & Will Nonnamaker. All five American Drivers will share driving duties during the ROLEX 24 Hours at Daytona. Then during the regular season, Memo and Wayne will team up in the #42 Mazda in hopes of assisting Mazda win their 2nd consecutive Manufacturer Championship.
Memo Gidley is already excited with anticipation – “I can’t wait for Daytona 24. The race is for sure the most challenging for the team and drivers because of all the details that have to be perfect for a good result. I love a great challenge and a race like Daytona that pushes everybody and everything to the extreme. And, in the off season our team has really been making great changes to be a contender for 2011. It is an exciting time to be part of Team Sahlen, the energy level of the team has been fantastic.”
The 2011 Team Sahlen GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 & GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Campaigns will be supported by Mazda, Mazdaspeed, HRPWorld.com, Cool Shirt, Racetech Seats, BBS, Racing Print Media, Alcon, Mothers Polish, EMCO, TheRaceSite.com, Western New York Flash, Grassroots Motorsports, Castrol Oil, Holliday Canopies, ASC Industries, Muscle Milk, Iannetti Design Ideas, CM Racing