Frankie Montecalvo joins endurance stalwarts, Kaffer in for 24
TAVAVRES, Fla., Alex Job Racing (AJR) announced today that they will compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup with an all-new Audi R8 LMS with drivers Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo.
AJR is returning to the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona (Jan. 28-29) with Audi Sport customer racing to go for a second win with the brand. The team won with an Audi R8 LMS in 2013, the team's second win at Daytona International Speedway in the 24, the first in 1999. Audi Factory Driver Pierre Kaffer will be the fourth driver at Daytona.
Sweedler (Westport, Conn.) drove with AJR from 2010-2013 and posted a class win at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2012, the first race driving with teammate Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.). The duo has achieved great success on the track, winning the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona in 2014 and the season ending Patron Endurance Cup in GT Daytona. In 2015 they went on to win the WeatherTech Championship in GT Daytona and in 2016 they posted a GTEAM Class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"It is nice to come full circle and be back with Alex Job for 2017," Sweedler said. "I won my first big race with AJR at Sebring five years ago, so it is nice to be back in the family. The Audi R8 LMS is a great endurance package. Frankie is a welcome addition with a lot experience and speed. Townsend and I have had a lot of success in the longer races over the past four years and we are looking to continue winning with AJR, Audi and Frankie."
"It feels like coming home," Bell said. "My first sports car team and my first sports car win with AJR at Sebring. I am so happy to be back. They are such a talented and experienced team that I am sure we will fall right back into the winning routine. I am looking forward to driving the Audi R8 LMS. Big thanks to everyone at Audi of America for helping us make this possible. It looks to be a very competitive and reliable piece."
Montecalvo (Highlands, N.J.) returns to IMSA competition. He is the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) GTA driver champion. In 2016 he scored podium finishes in the PWC GTA category at the Circuit of the Americas and St. Pete running just a partial season. Montecalvo brings a strong racing resume to the team that includes podium finishes in the IMSA PC category as well as several starts in the World Endurance Championship and Le Mans.
"AJR is a renowned team and organization that I am very much looking forward to being a part of," Montecalvo said. "I cannot wait to begin the 2017 season with AJR at Daytona. AJR has always had a great reputation and one that I have admired for years. I look forward to teaming up with two excellent and experienced drivers in Bill and Townsend. I hope to learn from both of them and to better my racing career. Audi has continuously been a very prestigious and dominant racing organization and one that I have always hoped to be a part of. I have not had the opportunity to race an Audi R8 LMS, but only have competed against them in many events. The new Audi R8 LMS looks like a very promising platform to compete with in 2017. I cannot express my excitement to finally get behind the wheel at The Roar next month. I am very much looking forward to returning to IMSA with AJR."
"This has been a very nice surprise for us," Job said. "I was looking at giving everyone the holiday week off and now we are working overtime. We have an all-new car in transit from Brad Kettler's (director of operations-engineering at Audi Sport customer racing USA) shop up in Ohio to begin prepping for the Roar weekend. What makes it even nicer is being back with seasoned veterans Bill and Townsend. They have built a very impressive trophy case over the past few years and we hope to add to that this year. We have been talking to Frankie for a few months and it is great that we can have him as a part of this program. He is fast, knows the circuits and has a strong endurance background. Being back with Audi is a bonus. We are one-for-one with wins with the Audi brand. I am excited for 2017!"
"We are proud to partner with such a winning combination," Erin Keating, director product launch and Audi Sport at Audi of America, said. "Alex Job Racing, Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo together in the Audi R8 LMS will be a potent package this year in IMSA competition. We are looking forward to a great year of racing in the competitive GT Daytona class."
Audi factory driver Pierre Kaffer (Germany) will be the fourth driver in the AJR Audi for Daytona.
"It will be my fifth time racing in the Daytona 24 hours," Kaffer said. "Two years ago I almost won in LMPC, unfortunately the engine blew-up an hour-and-a-half before the end. I´m really looking forward to Daytona especially in the new Audi R8 LMS. It´s a phenomenal car. It is an honor to join Alex Job Racing for the race, they are one of the best and most successful teams in sports car racing."
Alex Job Racing
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 70 wins (since 1995); including two Rolex 24 GT Class wins in 1999 and 2013. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won five championships (GTC 2013, 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts ten Sebring 12-hour wins.
Audi of America
Audi began a new chapter in 2009 with the introduction of the Audi Sport customer racing program. For the first time, it was possible for motorsport customers to acquire a race car designed for the track. Since its inception, the success of the R8 LMS has been significant throughout GT3 racing series worldwide, with multiple victories in the Pirelli World Challenge since 2012. The all-new R8 LMS had strong endurance racing debuts, winning both the 2015 24 hours of Nürburgring and the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, concluding the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech season with the Manufacturer's Championship in GTD. The Audi R8 LMS shares more than 50% of its parts with the Audi R8 street car including the naturally aspirated V10 5.2 liter engine, the Audi Space Frame and a variety of other components. Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. The Audi Group delivered over 1,800,000 vehicles to customers globally in 2015, and broke all-time company sales records for the 6th straight year in the U.S. Visit audiusa.com, audiusa.com/newsroom or audiusa.com/motorsport for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.