POUGHKEEPSIE, NY, JAN. 29 — Thetford / Norcold Dyson Racing is proud to announce that Max Papis will be rejoining the team for the 2001 running of the Rolex 24 Hours. The Italian CART star will be joining team boss Rob Dyson, veteran star Elliott Forbes-Robinson, and Swede Nic Jonsson in the #20 Riley and Scott Ford.
Papis has a storied history in the Florida enduro but has yet to win the event overall. In 1996, he made a stunning North American sports car debut, finishing second by the closest margin in the race`s history. Running more than two laps down with two hours to go, Papis ran qualifying laps in the race`s final hour to finish less than 30 seconds behind the eventual winner. He finished third in class in 1997 and finished third overall in 1999. Last year, Papis co-drove with James Weaver, E.F.R. and Dyson and finished fourth overall after engine-related problems erased the team`s 11-lap lead over the rest of the field.
“Last year`s race was difficult to take because we built up such a big lead in the middle part,” Papis noted. “To have a mechanical problem late in the race was very frustrating. I am anxious to return to Daytona. It is a classic race. It is one race I want to win very badly.”
Team boss Rob Dyson, who will be participating in his 16th Daytona 24 Hour, is looking forward to adding another Rolex to the ones he won as a driver in 1997 and 2000. “I just love this event,” Dyson enthused. “It is human drama. You have got a very competitive field this year and everyone is really excited. We are thrilled to have Max return this year. He did a fantastic job last year and we want to be the team that gives him his first overall win here.”
Elliott Forbes-Robinson, winner of the 1997 and 1999 24 Hours and the 1999 American Le Mans Series Champion, lends more than 30 years of driving experience to the team.
Nic Jonsson is a newcomer to Dyson Racing. In preseason testing, Jonsson was the fastest of the four drivers who were trying out for the seat in the #20 car. Jonsson spent much of the last year driving BMW GT cars, but has SRP experience in his past. The Swede, who now lives in California, is looking forward to his debut with Thetford / Norcold Dyson Racing.
Crew Chief Randall Kelsey will be overseeing the #20 car during the race while Dyson Team Manager Pat Smith looks after the #16 car.
The race will be televised live in its entirety on the Speedvision network.