Doran Racing's Rolex 24 at Daytona came to a premature end with an accident in the thirteenth hour of the race severely damaging the team Ford-Dallara Daytona Prototype.
The day had got off to a better start from seventh on the grid at Daytona International Speedway. The team ran well in the early stints, keeping pace with the United Autosports entry. Brian Frisselle started the car, handing over to Matt Bell at the first change-over. A brief hiccup when Bell had to pit after flat-spotting the Continental tyres in avoidance of another racer was cleared by the time Ross Kaiser climbed aboard for his first racing laps of the track at 6:15pm – or a little before three hours into the race.
The laps were the climactic act of the 2011 Sunoco Rolex 24 at Daytona Challenge, the race seat the prize for Kaiser's victory in the competition.
Kaiser – who won the Radical UK championship last season showed good pace in the car, matching ex-F1 man Juan Montoya in what would turn out to be the second placed Ganassi car.
“Coming to Daytona for the Rolex 24 was a massive opportunity,” said Kaiser. “Racing in one of the largest and most competitive 24 hour races in the world alongside the best drivers from all disciplines such as; INDYCAR, NASCAR, Formula One and Grand-Am regulars, has been an experience of a lifetime. I can't thank enough the people from Grand-Am, Daytona International Speedway and Sunoco for giving me this chance.”
However, on lap 101 Kaiser made a mistake at the back straight chicane and span into the grass damaging the front splitter, bodywork and suspension. He limped the wounded car back to the pit's Kevin Doran's outfit affecting the necessary repairs, losing 28 laps in the process.
Back out on track a second stint followed for all four drivers – Henri Richard the final man on the team – Kaiser again well on the pace despite using his left foot on the throttle pedal on the banked turns as he battled against cramp in his right foot.
The end came with Richard at the wheel. Another to be caught out by the chicane the spin again damaged the front suspension and caused the left-front tyre to blow out. While the car made it back to the pits Kevin Doran signalled the end – the work needed to put the car back in the race would simply take too much time.
Despite the obvious disappointment Kaiser was still, understandably, positive about his experience; “although it didn't turn out the way we would have hoped for it really has been a dream come true and a moment in my life I will never forget.”