John and Liddell Joined by Milner and Magnussen For Stevenson Motorsports Rolex 24 Campaign

After finishing second in the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Team Championship, Stevenson Motorsports will look to get a strong start to the 2013 championship campaign with a big result in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. The red, white, and blue squad has assembled a roster of international talents and familiar faces to share the driving duties in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R.

The full-season line up will once again feature young American talent John Edwards teamed with speedy Scottish veteran Robin Liddell. The combination scored seven podium finishes and three wins in 2012.  The duo will be joined by fellow Team Chevrolet racers Tommy Milner and Jan Magnussen in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona as the team looks to improve on last year’s fourth place finish.

With a GRAND-AM Championship as a key focus for the team, Stevenson Motorsports brings a big-picture approach to the opening round of 2013, but there is no question for the group what the best way possible to open the year would be.

“It’s weird--Stevenson has been a front running team ever since 2008 but we’ve never actually led the championship at any point of the year,” said Team Manager Mike Johnson. “So that’s kind of a first goal is to get to lead, and then go from there and try to maintain that lead. We’ve had a lot of wins and a lot of podiums but we have also had that DNF or two that has taken us out of the championship picture.  So we have to get rid of those.  I’ve always said that nobody ever really wins these championships--everybody else just loses them. And I still think that’s pretty true. The Audis and Ferraris have been strong in testing, and we were disappointed that GRAND-AM decided not to allow us to use the single-nut wheel attachment, but we will just focus on our finishes and look to keep building momentum all year long.”

The team, which exudes the family atmosphere that is cultivated by owners John and Susan Stevenson, is preparing for success by fostering continuity in and out of the car, retaining a strong driver roster and sharp engineering staff.

“It is great to be coming back to Stevenson,” said  Edwards, who will also compete in  the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge for Stevenson Motorsports. “I missed some races last year so my role was a little bit different, so I’m really looking forward to having a full season with Robin this year. The Rolex GT class continues to get more and more competitive, but this is a very strong team and hopefully we can start the season with a good finish in the 24.”

“Our goal is to win the championship,” said Liddell. “We’ve been doing this for five years with Stevenson and we’ve come close at least a couple of times. It’s just such a great environment to be in and I do really feel like it’s a spiritual home for me. It starts at the top to be honest. John and Susan Stevenson are really great people and they are a very rare find in motor racing. They’ve put a proper program together with a full professional line up and everything else. They’ve got the hunger and the desire to compete and to win. And, they’re also fundamentally decent people behind all of that and that combination together I think makes a very rare find. It starts at the top and then works its way down. Mike (Johnson) I’ve worked with for many years even prior to coming here I worked with him. I feel completely at home here.”

Both Milner and Magnussen have raced with Stevenson in the past, and the duo are very focused on  how they can contribute this year as the team targets a strong launch out of the gates in 2013.

“Tommy and I are in a similar situation where we are here to support the two full time guys,” offered Magnussen, the deeply experienced Dane. “I feel like I know everybody and I know what they are able to do. It’s a different 24 hour race than Le Mans for sure. For one, driving in the dark is a lot longer here - 12-13 hours maybe where at Le Mans it’s only six hours really so that makes a big difference. Also it’s a shorter track than Le Mans but with the same amount of cars so a lot of traffic! You really rely on the spotter and you have to be cautious the whole time. You really have to know who is coming and who is around you, and in the perfect world, know who is in the car that’s coming. It’s the same for everybody but I do believe the guys that will do that part the best will have the biggest chance of a good result. I believe the team has what it takes and I’m looking forward to a problem free run for us.”

“Daytona is one of those big races that you want to win,” said Milner “I was fortunate in 2011 to get Le Mans which was for me the highest on my list but not far behind is Daytona. That’s really what’s next on my list of ones that I want to win. I grew up watching my dad’s team. I’d stay up until 2-3 in the morning as long as I could stay awake to watch the race on SpeedVision back then.  We have a lot of new competition here with the new GT3 cars that have come in are very quick. So far in testing we’re not the quickest again but we’re making gains for sure. Come race time I think we’ll be in better shape there as far as pace goes. At that point once we’re close on pace we can sort of focus on running a perfect race because that’s what it’s going to take to do well here.”

Stevenson Motorsports will return to Daytona International Speedway and open with practice January 23rd, with the GRAND-AM 200 set for a green flag at 1:45 PM Friday, January 25th, with the Rolex 24 slated to go green at 3:30 PM ET on Saturday, January 26th.

Team notes:

+2013 Rolex 24 is Stevenson Motorsports 106th GRAND AM Race (first Watkins Glen, August 2003)
+Stevenson Motorsports Best Rolex 24 at Daytona Result: 4th place, Rolex GT-2012.

+2013 marks the team’s 9th Rolex 24 campaign with a total of 13 entries. (2004, 2006, 2007 (2 entries), 2008, 2009 (2 entries), 2010 (2 entries), 2011, 2012 (2 entries), 2013

+TV Coverage:  SPEED 3:00 PM ET

Source: Sunday Group Management


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