Our good friend and resident finder of cool stuff to do, Bill Caswell, had a very busy week at PRI in Orlando last week. While he was there he had a chance to sit down and chat with GRID-1 Motorsports team owner Don Walker. Before that conversation ended, Bill had himself an invite to a private test session GRID-1 Motorsports is holding for some potential drivers of their brand new Dodge Challenger GS World Challenge car. The test will be held at the 2 mile Roebling Road Raceway near Savannah, Georgia on Thursday this week.
GRID-1 Motorsports has invited three professional drivers, Dan Clark, Rob Stout and Gary Savage, as well as Bill, to the test. When I spoke to Bill earlier today he was pretty excited to have a chance to share track time with the three young drivers. Bill’s time in the Challenger will be limited, so he’s planning on getting a rental car that he can flog the rest of the day.
Here’s the press release sent out last week by GRID-1 Motorsports announcing their plans for the Challenger:
GRID-1 MOTORSPORTS TO RACE DODGE CHALLENGER SRT-8’S IN GRAND AM FOR 2012 SEASON
“Brute force meets Ballet Dancer finesse” may be the best way to describe the Dodge Challenger SRT-8 racecar that Grid-1 Motorsport will field in the GS class for the 2012 Grand Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Don Walker, team owner of GRID-1 Motorsports, may be new to Grand Am and to Dodge but is a long time motorsport veteran having taken the wheel of everything from MG’s and Fiats to BMW’s and Mazdas. Recently, the primary focus of Grid 1 has been Mazda RX-8’s in the SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge Series.
“Everyone is excited about the Dodge Challenger SRT-8” says Don, “These are big, wide, muscular looking cars, and that’s what we love about them. They look very aggressive and really define the modern muscle car. And the best part is that they back up those aggressive looks with equally modern power and handling. Truly, that’s the key to having a successful racing program. ”
Powered by the 6.4Litre (392cu. in.) Hemi V8, the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is a big powerful car with aggressive styling that visually invokes the glory days of American road racing. When “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” defined the role of both manufacturers and sponsors. “The same is true for us today” says Don, “The Challenger is such a strong contender straight off the showroom floor that the cars we race are based on the street legal production version, rather than a specially prepared motorsport car like other manufactures are forced to produce in order to be competitive in these series”
As a result, the Dodge Challenger in its Grand Am form will be immediately recognizable not only to Mopar fans, but to anyone that loves big aggressive muscle cars. Don Walker admits, “Sure, Grid-1’s Challengers are obviously prepared for racing, but honestly they aren’t that far from license plates. And look very similar to the cars found in the parking lots at most racetracks. We love that and hope the fans do as well.”
The driver lineup for the GRID-1 Dodge Challengers is still under consideration. Several experienced and very capable drivers have expressed interest in being a part of the program. A program which will be partially sorted out at an upcoming test day. “There is such a huge amount of talent out there right now and teams are starting to announce their lineups. The upcoming season should be quite exciting and provide the fans with some very tight wheel to wheel racing.” Walker said. “So many of these drivers have the potential to get on the podium and that makes these decisions very difficult. As it always is with decisions like this, it’ll come down to what’s best for the team as a whole.”
Grid-1 Motorsports is based in Denver, Colorado and competes in several racing series including World Challenge and Grand Am. Grid-1 had a pair of World Challenge RX-8’s in action throughout the 2011 season and is expanding the team’s lineup to include the Dodge Challenger SRT-8 for 2012. Don Walker, team owner and manager, began his career in racing competing at local SCCA autocross events in his home state of Tennessee. He then moved up through Club racing before going to work as a race technician with a professional team. Don points to this period of his life where he was able to perfect his craft before opening a shop of his own and eventually forming GRID-1 Motorsports. If you’re interested in joining the Grid-1 team for 2012, as a driver or as a corporate partner, please contact Don Walker: [720-212-5838]