Legends prepare for 24-hour auto race

Former motorcycle champs to race in 24 Hours of Daytona

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Oct. 28, 2008
Motorcycle legends Scott Russell, Jason Pridmore and Ricky Carmichael hit the track at Daytona International Speedway on Oct. 27 to prepare for a 24-hour sports car endurance race.

The three former motorcycle racing champions drove Spirit of Daytona Racing team’s Porsche Coyote Daytona Prototype in a testing session for the Rolex 24 at Daytona race, Jan. 24-25.

All three riders have a winning record at DIS, with Russell earning the name “Mr. Daytona” for his five wins in the Daytona 200. The former AMA and World Superbike champion says he is looking forward to taking part in the endurance race.

“This is one of my favorite races to come watch,” says Russell. “For years, I just thought how cool it would be to be out there. To have the opportunity is just amazing for me. I pinched myself everyday to make sure this is real.”

Former AMA Formula Xtreme Champion Pridmore has two Supersport wins at Daytona and has endurance racing experience as a member of the 2003 FIM World Endurance Championship team, but competing in a 24-hour endurance car race will be a new experience.

The Rolex 24 at Daytona often draws racing stars of various disciplines from motorcycle racers to Formula One drivers.“It’s exciting because we’re all nervous,” says Pridmore. “We’re all scared. I don’t think any of us will lie to you. We’re all a little bit nervous for what we’re getting ourselves into. There’s a lot of respect for the guys that do this full time.”

Of the three motorcycle legends, Carmichael has the most experience in four-wheel racing. After the former FIM and AMA Supercross Champion retired from motorcycle competition, Carmichael became a developmental rider for a NASCAR team.

“I do have some time from racing stock cars,” says Carmichael, a five-time Daytona Supercross winner. “I’ve got quite a bit more seat time than these guys but unfortunately not in this kind of car. We’re all about even in this Prototype car. It is comforting to know we’re all on the same playing field. It’ll be fun and we can learn together.”

Coaching the three motorcycle champions is auto racing veteran Guy Cosmo of Spirit of Daytona. Cosmo raced in the 2007 Rolex 24 at Daytona and his experience has been vital for Russell, Carmichael and Pridmore.

“There’s zero ego involved here I think between all three of us,” says Pridmore. “We just want to learn and we got a great guy. Guy Cosmo has helped us so much. You’ve got to give full credit to him. He has really helped us. The whole team has been very accommodating. There all a bunch of motorcycle heads any way. They all knew who we were when we came which is nice. It’s made it very comfortable.”

Rolex 24 at Daytona testing continues Oct. 28-29 and participating teams will return Nov. 11-12 for tire test and again Jan. 2-4.