DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Bennett Racing will join the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 in April, entering the No. 56 South River Marina & Mercruiser Ferrari 430 Challenge in the April 24 Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway.
This will be the third new team to debut in the Rolex Series GT class in as many races. Lou Gigliotti LG Motorsports first raced in the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway, while Marsh Racing joins the tour with a Corvette in the April 10 Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Skip Bennett owns the No. 56, and will co-drive for the Annapolis, Md.-based team with Mike Skeen at VIR as the first step in a planned assault on the 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona. They expect to run with fellow NASA Spec E30 drivers Chris Cobetto, Mike Davidson and Jon Allen at Daytona. That series features close competition among 160 HP 1987-1991 BMW 325is.
Bennett began his racing career in 2005 at a Summit Point Raceway driving experience. His first race was a NASA event at VIR in 2006, driving a Porsche 966, and he also ran in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge that year at VIR, going from last to 28th in a field of 55 cars. He finished fourth overall in the USA Ferrari F430 Challenge series in 2007, and has raced in the NASA Spec E30 Series the past three seasons.
"We're looking forward to joining the Rolex Series and racing at VIR," Bennett said. "I've spent a lot of time at that track and am very familiar with it. Depending on how we do, we also hope to run at Watkins Glen and the Daytona race in July, and are also considering New Jersey Motorsports Park."
Skeen, who starred in the 2008 edition of Setup on SPEED, won the 2008 NASA Spec E30 national championship as well as two regional series titles. He raced in SCCA Muscle Milk Trans-Am action last season, going from last to second in his debut race at Road Atlanta - earning him the Hard Charger and Star of the Race awards. He has two starts in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, competing in 2008 at VIR with Freedom Autosport.
"This grassroots effort has developed very quickly, and our crew has put in a lot of hard work to make this possible," Skeen said. "I'm sure we will learn a lot at VIR to help us prepare for future events."
Practice for the Bosch Engineering 250 begins at 9:30 a.m. ET on Friday, April 23, with qualifying at 3:45 p.m. (SPEEDtv.com, live). The two-hour, 45-minute race takes the green flag at noon ET on Saturday (SPEED, 2 p.m.) and will be followed at 3:30 p.m. by a Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race.
Photo and news used with permission from Grand Am.