Ruhlman and Lewis ready to head North for Grand-Am Daytona Prototype debut at Montreal Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
Montreal (Aug 1, 2007) --Armed and ready to do battle, Daytona Prototype driving pros Randy Ruhlman and Shane Lewis are set to put the Southard Motorsports No. 3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley right into the thick of things at Round 11 of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. Competing in the Series first ever race on the historic 2.71-mile Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada, this action-packed Grand-Am event on August 3 will showcase both the Daytona Prototype and GT cars running together in a two and a half hour race.
While many of the drivers have never run this circuit, that is not the case for Ruhlman. “I ran up here with Trans-Am in the final race of the Series, and actually, this is one of my favorite tracks to drive," says Ruhlman. "It definitely suits my style of driving--we took the outside pole and finished third. You have to be totally focused and hit your marks all the way around. There's no time to rest, and knowing that tends to keep you on your toes. We don't have a lot of time on the track, so I think a knowledge of the course will be a big help and should definitely give us a little extra edge.”
"I'm really looking forward to racing the Daytona Prototype in Montreal," says Lewis. "Not only is it exciting to race on a circuit that hosts Formula 1, but the Canadian fans are some of the best in the world. I've never driven here before, but it's great to have a team mate who's very successfully raced here in the past. Randy and I will continue to make our Lexus-Riley the best it can be and race it hard against some great competition. It's going to be a great race weekend for us and the fans!"
“There's really something special about going to Montreal,” continues Ruhlman. “It is an incredible city, very European. To make it even better, the fan turnout is always amazing. They really get behind racing and that makes the event even more exciting for us as drivers.”
Qualifying will take place on Friday, August 3 at 9:30 a.m. with drivers taking the Green Flag at 4:15 p.m. The Montreal 400 will be a 92-lap race, 400K race on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve and will be the debut of the Grand-Am Series in Montreal, Quebec. Same day coverage of the entire race will air on the SPEED Channel at 8:00 p.m. on Race Day.
The No. 3 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype is campaigned by Southard Motorsports of Powell, Ohio. The Riley chassis is powered by Lexus engines with technical expertise by TRD Engineering and carries sponsorship from Preformed Line Products from Mayfield Village, Ohio.
Randy Ruhlman, a veteran of the popular Trans-Am Series, has extensive racing experience. Ruhlman makes the record books as fourth in Top Ten finishes in Trans-Am history and was the top American driver in the 2005 Trans-Am Drivers' Championship, holding the points lead throughout the season and scoring a pair of wins--the season opener at the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Cleveland Grand Prix. He was named the 2005 BBS "Most Improved Driver of the Year". Concentrating most recently on road racing, Ruhlman spent many years driving the ovals and road courses of the ASA and the NASCAR short track series. In 2006, Ruhlman, a native of Greensboro, NC, drove the No. 40 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype for Derhaag Motorsports.
Shane Lewis is widely considered to be one of the sports leading development drivers and has competed in twenty-four 24 Hour Races--nine-times in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, three-times at Le Mans and twice at Nürburgring. An instructor at The Mid-Ohio School and always a fan favorite, Shane Lewis, resident of Florida, earned two Daytona Prototype podium finishes with Southard Motorsports in 2006, at the Long Beach Grand Prix and Phoenix. He has multiple wins in the Rolex Sports Car Series and Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series, as well as the IMSA Supercar Championship and the SCCA Pro Series World Challenge. Lewis was the 1998 Professional Sports Car Racing Rising Star award winner.
Southard Motorsports reflects the goals and dedication of its owners, Steve and Martha Southard, both former drivers themselves in Historic and Professional racing. One of only two teams to have competed in every Grand American Rolex Daytona Prototype Sports Car event since 2004, they have shown the continuity and commitment that are hallmark to all winning programs and the team was pivotal in winning the inaugural Jim Truman Driver's Award. Southard Motorsports' experience and knowledge was highlighted by last year's successful Daytona Prototype season, as they captured two podium finishes, a third at the prestigious Long Beach Grand Prix and another third at Phoenix. The team recently announced an alliance with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to increase visibility and awareness for the Foundation and its programs.
Preformed Line Products (PLP) is an international manufacturer and supplier of hardware and support systems for the communications and energy industries. Products include COYOTE® Fiber Optics and VORTEX® Vibration Dampers used in the telecommunications, cable and energy industries. Manufacturing facilities are located worldwide in the USA, Canada, China, Brazil, Mexico, England, Spain, South Africa, Australia and Thailand.