News and Notes from Grand Am's Homestead Test

Chevrolet has been getting to grips with their new teams at Homestead

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 is holding its final scheduled activity of 2010, a two-day open test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Wednesday and Thursday.

Testing is scheduled in groups from 9:10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Wednesday and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Thursday.

And the Fastest Is ... Michael Valiante (Updated Thursday at 6 p.m.)

Back in June, Michael Shank Racing's no. 6 Ford/Riley was all but written off in a fire at pit entrance late in the running of the Sahlen's Six Hours of Watkins Glen. Thursday, Michael Valiante drove the renumbered No. 23 entry to an unofficial lap of 1:13.2, edging out teammate Ozz Negri and Level 5 Motorsports' Luis Diaz and Christophe Bouchut for bragging rights.

"It went really well," Valiante said. "Oswaldo and I were quickest at almost every session, and I was a little bit quicker overall. It's great. We're teammates, and get to work together at the test and then at Daytona. We have a real strong lineup, and obviously the cars are real strong as well. It's good to go into the Christmas break with a solid test like this."

Kaiser Continues to Live Daytona Dream (Updated Thursday at 5:10 p.m.)

Ross Kaiser had the opportunity to test Zak Brown's Crown Royal Crawford at Silverstone, and then Kevin Doran's Ford/Dallara at Virginia International Raceway. Now, the winner of the Sunoco Daytona Rolex 24 Challenge completed a two-day test at demanding Homestead-Miami Speedway in the next step towards racing in America's premier endurance race.

"I'm pretty comfortable in the car right now," said Kaiser, who will co-drive the No. 77 McDonald's Ford/Dallara in the Rolex 24. "The biggest thing was getting comfortable at a new circuit and getting to drive on the banking. We don't have anything nearly as steep as this back home in the UK. When we get to Daytona it will even be steeper, but they tell me the banking at Daytona is easier than Homestead. Once we get the driver lineup finalized for the race we'll make another seat insert, because we've been running through a few drivers and it was a bit uneasy in the seating position. Other than that, it feels go."

Kaiser got his first look at Daytona International Speedway upon arriving in the U.S. on Monday.

"The guys at Daytona were kind enough to show me around," Kaiser said. "It was fantastic, and it blew my mind. What a great place it is, and you can't imagine how big it is, or how steep the banking is. I'm really looking forward to coming back and racing there. I'm really starting to feel at home in the GRAND-AM paddock, coming here and seeing all the guys again."

Plenty of GT teams are testing the new Continental Tires

Mitchum Motorsports Happy With 'Friendly' Camaro (Updated Thursday at 5 p.m.)

Mitchum Motorsports was happy at the conclusion of three days of testing, running a Camaro in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and a Porsche GT3 in the Rolex Series.

"It was a very good test, we learned a lot and came a long way," said team principal Chris Mitchum. "At the end of the day we're the best we've been. We'll take P2."

Mitchum was also happy with the way Joey Atterbury, Randy Pobst, Jade Buford and Dion von Moltke worked together sharing the car.

"It was nice seeing how the drivers fit together," Mitchum said. "All of them were able to work with the same setup. We're always happy to have Randy Pobst with the team. We're hoping to be able to get him for the Rolex 24."

"The car was much better at the end of the test," Pobst said. "We made so much progress from out first laps yesterday. It's gone from 'scary' to 'friendly,' and I can say it's very friendly right now."

Bouchut Leads Two Sessions in Two Different Cars (Updated Thursday at 4 p.m.)

Christophe Bouchut unofficially led the opening testing in the No. 55 Level 5 Motorsports BMW/Riley, and then led the opening afternoon session in the team's No. 95 entry.

"Both cars are really quick," said the Frenchman. "We're trying different setups. We're not trying to be the fastest out here, but with the banking this is a perfect track to simulate for Daytona."

Bouchut is happy with the paddle shifters which will be an option in 2011 for teams using a Pro-Am driver. The team's No. 55 is equipped with the new setup.

"I think it's a good thing, and it's good for both pro and gentleman drivers," Bouchut said. "It brings more for the gentleman side, but even for us pros it's a good thing. I really believe it's even faster."

Bouchut has a Daytona Rolex, joining the winning team in the 1995 event.

"It would be really nice to win it again after so many years," Bouchut said. "It's really like a dream, (and) this is the team that can win it."