© Andrew S. Hartwell
It was easy to be skeptical back in February of 2002. Back then, who knew?
It was in February of 2002, at a press conference at Daytona International Speedway, that Grand American President Roger Edmondson introduced the concept of the Daytona Prototype to the world. It was during the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona weekend, the penultimate Grand Am 24 hour race to include open-top prototypes, that we -members of the media - first got a glimpse of sportscar racing's future, as espoused by the leaders of the Grand American Road Racing Association.
The car presented that winter day in warm Florida existed only on paper at the time of the announcement. It was what has become the now-familiar blue, red and white #59 Brumos Racing Porsche-Fabcar. Fabcar owner Dave Klym had come up with the first designs for the first car of this new era and he would soon become an officially approved constructor. He became a charter member of a still-exclusive club that boasts of just seven participants. Well, make that seven members and four active participants. But we are getting ahead of ourselves here. (Funny, that is something most critics thought would never happen - a DP getting ahead of anything.)
At the time of the announcement, many thought Klym suffered from a case of mistaken identity. That is as in, "You want us to believe that little colored egg is a real race car?" And many (most?) media members who were at Daytona that weekend thought the France family - the people behind the Grand Am - had lost their minds. Those little 'fat-headed tubs with wheels' would never appeal to traditional sports car fans. What were they thinking behind closed doors at ISC? Who could have ever thought this idea was a good idea?