Thursday, 12 January 2017
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Three sports car team owners – Jonathan Bennett (Charlotte, N.C.), Giuseppe Risi (Houston, Texas) and Michael Shank (Etna, Ohio) – have been named as candidates for the 2016 Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence, presented by Gorsline Company, based on their team’s success on the track during the 2016 race season. The award recipient will be chosen by a panel of motor sports professionals and announced on Friday, January 27, 2017, during the Grand Marshal dinner at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The 2016 honoree will be presented with a specially engraved Rolex Stainless Steel and Platinum Yacht-Master timepiece.
The Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence was created to recognize the team owner or team manager who has demonstrated the qualities of integrity, passion for the sport, and love of cars for which Bob Snodgrass was known during his life and career. The award, supported by Gorsline Company, the premier insurer of high-risk professionals, has been presented previously to Bob Stallings (2010), Joe Sahlen (2011), Peter Baron (2012), John Stevenson (2013), Alex Job (2014) and Chip Ganassi (2015).
Backgrounds on candidates for the 2016 Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence follow:
Jonathan Bennett - CORE Autosport
After years of SCCA Club Racing, Jonathan Bennett moved into IMSA Prototype Lites, where he was named Rookie of the Year in 2010. The same year he became a team owner and created CORE autosport. In its first season of IMSA Prototype Challenge competition CORE earned the PC team championship and collected the honor for the next four seasons (2011-2015). Within CORE's five-year streak of team titles, Bennett earned the PC Drivers Championship in 2014 and 2015.
CORE also earned the 2014 and 2015 GTLM Manufacturer's Championship for Porsche and the 2015 GTLM Team and Driver's Championship.
In 2016, with Bennett co-driving with Colin Braun, the team and drivers earned wins in Sebring, Fla., and Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. That same year Bennett expanded CORE into the Red Bull Global Rallycross series with two GRC Lites cars.
Giuseppe Risi - Risi Competizione
An Italian national, Risi is the President and CEO of Ferrari Maserati of Houston, Texas, and Ferrari of Austin, Texas. Fluent in several languages, he came to the U.S. in 1979 at the suggestion of Enzo Ferrari specifically to open a Ferrari dealership, founding his first dealership in 1980.
He was one of the dealers who organized the Ferrari Challenge Race Series in the U.S., winning three championships. His Risi Competizione team won the LMP1 class at LeMans in 1998, the 1998 World Sports Car championship and the 2003 IMSA Cup for the best private team in ALMS, and placed second overall twice at the Rolex 24.
Highlights of the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM team in 2016 feature 12 top-10 finishes, which include a second-place finish at LeMans and a victory at Road Atlanta. The team and drivers Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella finished fifth in the standings.
Mike Shank - Michael Shank Racing
Mike Shank began racing professionally in 1989, winning the 1996 Toyota Atlantic C2 Championship before moving into the Indy Racing League. He earned 30-plus national victories in a variety of series before retiring as a driver, and was named the Formula Atlantic Championship Car Owner of the Year two times.
In 2004 he moved his team into the IMSA series, winning the 2012 Rolex 24 overall in Daytona Prototype. In 2016 the team made its 250th Prototype start at Road Atlanta, starting on the pole and winning the event. It marked longtime team driver John Pew's final race with the team before retiring from IMSA racing.
Other highlights of the 2016 season include a ninth-place finish in their first LeMans start, after leading for two laps. The team and driver Ozz Negri finished the season fourth in the standings, while Pew was eighth.
In all, the team has led 1335 laps over its 2004-2016 IMSA career.
About Bob Snodgrass - Snodgrass, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 64, was president of Brumos Racing and president and CEO of the Brumos auto dealerships in Jacksonville, Fla., where he lived for 35 years. As a team owner he had three Rolex 24 At Daytona wins (Brumos Racing has eight) and a total of 10 wins at Daytona. He was a driving force behind the formation of the Grand American Road Racing Association and the Daytona Prototype class. Born in Elmira, N.Y., he saw his first race at Watkins Glen, N.Y., and was hooked. Famous for his humor and wit and an accomplished vintage car racer, Snodgrass (along with Peter Gregg, who owned Brumos Porsche from 1965 until his death in 1980) was instrumental in Brumos' entry into motor sports.
About Rolex - Rolex, the leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, is headquartered in Geneva and enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces all the essential components of its watches in-house, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, exploration, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities as well as philanthropic programs.
About Gorsline Company - The Gorsline Company, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., pioneered the business of providing insurance for high-risk professionals. The company specializes in providing racing drivers and owners creative, custom designed insurance packages and estate planning strategies.