Round 10 of 12 races on the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series schedule, the timed 2-3/4-hour SFP Grand Prix can be seen live this Saturday, August 17, on the all-new FOX Sports 2 network at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT. An encore telecast will air the following day, Sunday, August 18, on FOX Sports 1 at 4 p.m. EDT/1 p.m. PDT.
The No. 61 R.Ferri/AIM Ferrari posted the two-car team's first victory of the season last month in the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This weekend, No. 61 team driver and Indy winner Jeff Segal will partner with his second different co-driver in as many races as veteran IndyCar driver Alex Tagliani joins the team. Last week at Road America, Kenny Wilden capably co-drove with Segal to a fourth-place finish.
Both Tagliani and Wilden are serving as one-off stand-ins for regular No. 61 driver Max Papis who is making his second of two consecutive NASCAR road course race starts this weekend in the debut Nationwide Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Papis also filled in for the injured Tony Stewart last week at Watkins Glen International where he finished 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race.
"These guys are pros so, for me, there isn't a huge adjustment to go through," Segal said. "They are the ones who have to adjust to a lot of things in a short period of time, and it's my job to help them in any way possible. We have to bring them up to speed with the team protocols, the language we use on the radio to talk about what the car is doing, sequences for pit stops and things like that."
Tagliani, a French Canadian of Italian descent, is looking forward to his first time in competition in an iconic Ferrari race car.
"I am very excited for the opportunity to race with R.Ferri/AIM Motorsport and drive the car of Remo Ferri," Tagliani said. "It is not every day in your career that you have the chance to wear the red and white Ferrari suit with the 'Prancing Horse' logo, and from and Italian background, it means a lot to me. It is an unexpected opportunity but I am really looking forward to it, especially because I have known so many people on the team for such a long time. Also, driving with Jeff Segal, one of the best in GRAND-AM, is giving us a chance to do really well over the weekend."
The No. 61 is racing for more wins at this stage of the season following a bad run of luck earlier in the year before the breakout Indy win. Despite the challenges, the No. 61 has also given the two-car R.Ferri/AIM/FXDD group its only 2013 pole that Papis earned at Detroit in June.
Saturday night's SFP Grand Prix is the first-ever major sports car race on Kansas Speedway's 2.370-mile "roval" road course.
"I have never been to the track," Segal said. "I have a grand total of three laps on iRacing and it was enough to know it is not going to take very long to learn the layout of the track. Maybe the nuance, but not the layout, and I think it is all of five corners. It seems to remind me a lot of Homestead. Pretty simple infield, very slow first or second gear corners, and then banking that you really have to drive."
Kansas kicks off a season-ending run of races that also includes September stops at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California and Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. While Laguna and Lime Rock are familiar to the Rolex Series paddock, Kansas as a new circuit may serve as somewhat of an unknown. That could be an equalizer for the debuting Tagliani.
"The Kansas race track, I have seen it in YouTube, studied an onboard lap around with the small amount of footage that was available, and it looks pretty interesting," Tagliani said. "Obviously, drivers go by feel, so until we feel what we have got, it is tough to make a prediction. Tight infield, heavy braking, second portion of the track really quick using Turns 3 and 4 of the banking, it's a track that should make for some interesting racing. I am super excited to go there and try the 458 Italia, it is a good looking car, and it seems to have a lot of potential. With a test the day before, I hope to get up to speed and support Jeff and the team with the best result possible for the weekend."
A two-day twilight-into-evening event, the SFP Grand Prix schedule gets underway today with unofficial testing this afternoon. Official practice commences Friday afternoon with GT qualifying scheduled that evening at 9:25 p.m. CDT. Race day Saturday begins with a 30-minute final practice warm-up session at 11:30 a.m. CDT with the featured SFP Grand Prix scheduled to start at 7 p.m. CDT that evening.
About AIM Autosport: Established in 1995, AIM Autosport is a professional Canadian sports team campaigning Ferrari 458 Italia GT race cars in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. AIM will defend its 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT Championship by entering two Ferrari 458 Italias for the full 2013 season. AIM's success has been achieved through the dedication of its employees and the continuous support of team's commercial and technical partners. Away from the track, AIM Autosport's technical and administrative headquarters are situated in the Toronto suburb of Woodbridge, Ontario. For more information visit www.aimautosport.com and http://www.facebook.com/AIMautosport.
From: Robert Vacca/ Director of Marketing- Remo Ferri Group of Automobiles
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