Allan McNish and Lucas Luhr to share Starworks Riley-Ford at Daytona 24 Hours
|By Jamie O'Leary
||Tuesday, January 3rd 2012, 13:47 GMT
Allan McNish and Lucas Luhr will head an all-star line-up for Starworks Motorsport at the Daytona 24 Hours later this month.
The pair will share one of the team's Riley-Ford Daytona Prototypes along with Ryan Dalziel, who won the race in 2010, plus Venezuelans Enzo Potolicchio and Alex Popow.
Victory would make former American Le Mans Series champion McNish one of a select number of drivers to have won sportscar racing's triple crown, the 42-year-old Briton having previously recorded victories at both the Le Mans 24 and Sebring 12 Hour events.
GT1 world champion Luhr also brings a wealth of experience to the car.
McNish, who has been given special permission by Audi to take part in the event, said: "With Ryan Dalziel, who is a previous winner and another Scotsman, you put Lucas Luhr, who is an ex-team-mate of mine and current GT1 world champion, then Enzo and Alex were fantastic rookies of the year last year so I do think we have a very good driver combination and we have a proven package with it comes to the car and the team.
"It gives us a shot of being at the sharp end when the chequered flag comes down, but it is a tough race.
"A 24-hour race at the beginning of the season certainly blows the cobwebs away and, since my first time there in 1998 when I finished second overall and won the category, I have always enjoyed going back. I can't think of a better way to prepare for the season."
Starworks' second car will also feature a high-profile roster of drivers, with former IndyCar champion Tony Kanaan and his fellow single-seater racers Ernesto Viso and Ryan Hunter-Reay joining team regulars Miguel Potolicciho and Maurizio Scala.
Team owner Peter Baron said: "We felt, with our four current drivers, we had a line-up strong enough to compete for a win — Alex, Enzo, Ryan and Lucas. We weren't going to add a fifth driver, but Allan is a friend and we heard he was interested.
"You just do not pass on the opportunity to put Allan McNish in the car. He is a legend. He brings much more than his speed — he elevates the other guys, gets the others even more motivated and it is great to work with someone with that kind of history in sports car racing."
"The other car was a bit last-minute. We wanted to put together the most interesting car that would give us good visibility and bring interest to the series. We had worked with Ryan and EJ [Viso] before and it worked out well. We wanted a third IndyCar driver. Tony Kanaan is a Florida person and I have tried for three years to get him in the car and it has not worked out, so it is great to get it done."