Graham Rahal confirmed for Daytona 24hour race seat with Southard Motorsports

09.01.2007: Graham Rahal confirmed for Daytona 24hour race seat with Southard Motorsports

Graham Rahal will join Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman in the No.3 Southard Motorsports / Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley for the 2007 Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month.

The 18-year-old from New Albany, Ohio, was given his first taste of the team’s new car at a recent pre-season test and although his track time was limited, the youngster quickly settled in, turning competitive lap times as he acclimatised himself to the Lexus-powered sports racer.

Rahal competed in his first Daytona 24 hour race last year, driving a Porsche GT3 contender. This year he moves to the Daytona Prototype class with Southard Motorsports and is relishing the challenge that faces him in less than three weeks time. He says of the upcoming experience, "Kicking off my race season driving at Daytona will be a great start. I enjoyed my experience last year and having that under my belt gives me added confidence for my second attempt. Endurance competition puts its own specific demands on the driver, distinct from single seater racing and requires a different approach and mindset.

The physical and mental pressures of long-distance racing are very different and as well as adding to my race experience, also push my boundaries and give me new learning opportunities. The goal, as always, is to win and that’s my over-riding focus for this race. It’s the most prestigious sportscar race in the USA, so I’m going all-out to capture victory. I can’t underestimate the field of drivers I’m driving with, which is a truly international field of top-flight racers from F1, NASCAR, Champ Cars, Sportscars and so on.

That makes it all the more exciting for me!" Rahal shares the Southard Motorsports/Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley with established sportscar racers, Lewis and Ruhlman for the 24 hour-long event held at the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. NASCAR great, Richard Petty, will be Grand Marshall for the race, which opens on Thursday 25 January with day and night practice and continues into Friday with further practice and qualifying sessions. The race starts at 1.30pm local time, Saturday 27 January through to the checkered flag on Sunday 24 hours later.

Son of Indycar legend, Bobby Rahal, the young racer was a stand-out in the Champ Car Atlantics Championship he contested in 2006 with Mi-Jack Conquest Racing. Finishing runner up with six podium finishes, he scored more wins than any other driver and with the first of his five victories he became the youngest ever Atlantics race winner.

Notching up a string of accolades including 14 season records and receiving the BBS Rising Star award, Rahal is set to continue his motor racing career competing in the Champ Car World Series this season.

 

- Alison Hill -

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09.01.2007 / MaP

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