Stevenson Motorsports announces 2011 plans

Stevenson Team Returns in 2011 With Entries in Rolex and Continental Series 2011 Rolex 24 Marks the 100th Race Entry for Stevenson Team

The No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro GT.R will return to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16 for the 2011 season with an all-star driver line-up including Robin Liddell, Jan Magnussen and Ronnie Bremer. All three will compete together in the prestigious Rolex 24 at Daytona with Robin completing the full season with Jan and Ronnie finishing out the driving duties as races conflict.

The team will also field the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro GS.R in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge with Matt Bell and newcomer, John Edwards sharing wheel time.

The Stevenson entry at the 49th Rolex 24 at Daytona will mark the 100th Rolex Series entry by this race team that operates out of Jacksonville, North Carolina. Since Watkins Glen in 2003, Stevenson has campaigned Porsches, Corvettes, Pontiac GXP.R’s and now the new Chevrolet Camaro. With support coming from Chevrolet, Team Owner John Stevenson hopes 2011 brings their first Championship in both the Rolex Series and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.

“I am glad we are back for another year in the Rolex Grand-Am Series and we are returning with our seasoned crew.” Team Owner John Stevenson noted. “Last year was a frustrating year, but a learning curve for the team with the new Camaro, as we had continuing battles with tire issues throughout the season. I am looking forward to running the new Continental tire in the 2011 season.”

Stevenson also feels his 2011 season will be a good one thanks to the driver lineup the team has assembled to chase down a championship.

“I am thrilled to have Robin Liddell and Jan Magnussen, along with Ronnie Bremer, returning to our organization in the No. 57 Camaro GT effort for 2011. I am sure these drivers will make the championship chase very interesting. With these drivers plus our seasoned crew and our Camaro, along with Mike Johnson calling our races, we should have a stellar season.”

Team Manager Mike Johnson is elated that Chevrolet’s return to racing will come at the hands of the Stevenson team.

“We feel very fortunate that Chevrolet is back in the Rolex Series and that they have chosen us to represent their Camaro brand.” Johnson noted. “We will work very hard to bring the Chevrolet Camaro its first championship this season. We finished strong in 2010 with a one-two finish at the final race at Miller Motorsports Park and with having taken two pole positions during the season with our Continental car. We intend to work to carry that momentum forward from the very first race in both series this season.”

Stevenson, with the Chevrolet brand as part of his Stevenson Automotive Group of dealerships, is also very pleased to see the brand return to racing in 2011. “I feel privileged to have Chevrolet’s involvement in our team effort for 2011. We will certainly put forth a 110% effort in pursuit of the Rolex and the Continental Series Championships for Chevrolet and Camaro. ”

The No. 57 Rolex GT Chevrolet Camaro GT.R

In 2010, the Stevenson team collected a solid third place finish in the Rolex GT team standings, with Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis reaching fourth spot in the driver’s championship. It was a year of trial and error as the Camaro had never been raced before. That first season allowed the team to come away with a ton of valuable knowledge about the car as they ran two identical GT.Rs and were able to collect data from both cars.

Team Manager Mike Johnson is confident that knowledge and experience will pay off for the team with their single car in the 2011 season.

“We are really happy to be returning to the series this year.” said Johnson. “We learned so much about the Camaro last season and I know this team will take what we learned and use it to our advantage as we chase after a championship. We seemed to fight the tire for most of the season, but with all teams getting a new Continental Tire next year, I think the cars should balance back out.”

Liddell too feels a balance is just what the series needs and what will give the fans the best show. “Naturally we are confident in our ability to get the job done, and in our various partners such as GM Racing, Pratt & Miller and the Katech engine program to provide the best equipment and support available to the Stevenson team. Having been through a learning curve last year with the new car, what I hope for more than anything is for the Series to ensure close, fair and equal racing. All the teams, drivers and fans want this and I am confident that Grand Am will deliver.”

Looking forward to the start of the new season, Liddell harbors no thoughts that the first race decides the championship.

“The Rolex 24 at Daytona is the highlight of the season,” he said, “although it is also the first round of a long championship battle. We would desperately love to win the 24 but at the end of the day our goal is clear; to win the Rolex Series. It is a super tough event and to win it you really need the right combination of speed, reliability and luck.”

Ronnie Bremer joins Liddell and Magnussen for the Rolex 24 and he has a burning desire to leave the speedway wearing a brand new watch.

“I’m thrilled to have the ability to run the Rolex 24 and drive the Stevenson Camaro on the famous Daytona Racetrack.” He said. “I will do everything I can to secure that it will be Robin, Jan, the Stevenson Team and me who will be handed the famous Rolex watches after 24 hours off racing!

“I’m proud to be part of the Stevenson family, continued Bremer, “and to have the opportunity to work with team manager Mike Johnson again. I think the Camaro was a super car last season and I am looking forward to driving on the new Continental tires. I believe that the Porsche’s will be the ones to watch, but I also believe that we can match any Grand Am car on the racetrack.”

Liddell: “I must say that Grand Am has put together a great schedule of events; no question the best to date. I am also thrilled to be driving with Jan, whose experience and talent is second to none. The icing on the cake was securing Ronnie for Daytona and the other races; Ronnie proved he is quick and a smart racer and I am really glad all three of us can drive together this year as opposed to against each other like last year!”

The No. 9 Continental Tire Series Chevrolet Camaro GS.R

The Stevenson Camaro will once again compete in the GS class with Matt Bell and John Edwards driving. 2010 also brought success and failure for the team’s first season-long effort in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Running two cars, the team scored two poles and two podiums with their new Chevrolet Camaro race cars, but mechanical failures — something to be expected in a first season development program – kept them out of the championship hunt.

Stevenson: “In the Continental series, we are returning with a one car effort after spending the 2010 season as a development year. I am glad to have Matt Bell returning to GS. Matt said after testing at Homestead driving this Camaro GS car was like driving a different car than last year. John Edwards will be joining Matt as co-driver in the GS Camaro. I welcome John to our team as he is a professional in every way and will compliment our organization.”

Matt Bell returns to the team for his second time around and he brings with him his typically positive outlook on what could potentially be a very big year for the Stevenson Team.

“I am very excited to be back with Stevenson Motorsports!” Bell said. “Last season was a very good developmental year for the Camaro. We’ve learned volumes of new information about the car over the season and in the post-season testing. It sounds like they’re pulling out all the stops and are aiming to make this the year of the Camaro in Grand-Am racing!

“I have no doubts that John Edwards and I will be a great pairing to take on the new year and I’m excited to see what his amazing talent can do in a production-based car like this. Stevenson Motorsports has built a very formidable team for 2011, I’m confident that Grand-Am fans will see many red, white, and blue driver suits up on the podium in the coming season.”

John Edwards comes to the Stevenson Team off a great first year run in a SpeedSource-prepared Mazda RX-8 in 2010. Teamed with Adam Christodoulou, he won the very first race they ran in that chassis, the Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park. They went on to finish a short season with two more second place finishes and one third spot.

Edwards, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, will be 19 years old when he runs in the Grand-Am 200 with the Stevenson Team come January of next year. His resume includes wins in karts, the Skip Barber series, Formula Renault (Europe) and in 2004 he won the Red Bull Driver Search, a search for the next American F1 World Champion. Further, he won the overall 2008 Star Mazda Championship and the 2009 Formula Atlantic Championship.

Edwards: “I am ecstatic to join the Stevenson team to go after the GS championship. I got a few laps in their Camaro at Homestead and had a chance to interact with the team, giving me the confidence that we will be a strong force in the 2011 season. As always, the GS class will be extremely competitive, but I can’t wait for the season opening race at Daytona in January!”

“Last year we learned so much running two cars in GS,” Johnson concludes, “but going to one is going to give us the best chance for a championship. GM has really come on board to make

the Camaro GS.R a championship contender and with everything we learned last year, we are going to be in great shape.”

Liddell expressed his appreciation for what this team can do and has done when he said, “Stevenson Motorsports has really come to feel like a home away from home for me. The commitment and faith from Johnny and Susan right through to Mike and all the guys on the team, is unfailing and I cannot think of any other organization I would like to be a part of. I am glad to be back!”

John Stevenson can almost see the green flag about to wave on what could be one of the team’s best years. “I am optimistic about campaigning the Camaro in both the Rolex and the Continental Series.

2011 will be an exciting season for everyone involved, especially the fans.”

-source: stevenson motorsports

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