: Pontiac GTO In Grand Am Rolex 24

02-19-2005, 02:20 PM
For those interested the following might make a difference.

The Horizon Motorsports Pontiac GTO, first, is a purely private low buck program. Not funded at all by any factory support or outside financial consideration. My wife and I, at the back end of life, decided to get back into playing with race cars. By far the Grand American Rolex series GT class, with its allowed tube chassis, made the most competitive and economical sense.

As a matter of technical input the Horizon chassis/body/engine combination costs about a third of any other product fielded in the series. We built our own chassis, borrowed a GTO off the show room floor and had body molds made, and by our design essentially bought in on a modular basis all the other components that make the end product. It took a lot of work and a special consideration goes to a 20 year old youngster, Nate Myers, who hung and hangs with us through think and thin, and really was the king pin on the cars assembly.The only thing hired out is engine, paint and graphics.

So with this setting the stage, we built a new car for 05 and that was what we ran at the Rolex Daytona 24 Hour race. Mind you most don't have a clue of the enormous task, even for a privatier, that the 24 hour race is. Normally you can field a car with 5 crew plus drivers but the 24 needed 22 crew, and five drivers. Rooms, food catering (for 24 hours), motor homes for rest, tire chassers, fuel chassers, pit stops every hour and fifteen minutes, spare parts, scoring, etc.. all add to a monumental task.

We went with a plan of four goals. Being a new car: a) qualify in the 50's, b) qualify in the top 15, c) finish in the top 15, and d) drive the car home on its own power, under the checker at the end. The team accomplished all but one. First a gear box failure at the 14 hour mark and two and half hours in the garage killed the top 15 in class. Then to have the car quit in the bus stop, NOT with a broken engine (which no one should have opinionated with out consultation) but out of fuel due to a 39 cents light bulb further sealed our fate on a top 15.

Our crew, from all walks of life, none of which make a living at staying up for 40 hours chassing a race car, performed and worked together like the Boston Pops. Sikorsky engineeers, real estate broker, computer engineer, trucking company owner, etc. At the drop of a hat all jumped at the problems and all were solved.

Getting to the end is tough. Sun rise is killer on spirits, endurance, and catching a second or third breath. But the car did.

From rather humble beginnings, a crew that never once moaned, and a sunny finish under the waving checkered, after 24 hours and 3 minutes, made a team stand out above and beyond many who have never finished the race.

Now you have heard Paul's "the Rest of The Story". Stay tuned to the web site for the Horizon Doings. And, if you can get to a Rolex event, do so, it's really neat. Oh, look us up. We are the little guys.

Got some really neat action photos will post later.

OldER Goat
02-19-2005, 03:42 PM
Many of us followed your progress (and lack thereof) thru-out the 24 hrs with great interest. You guys fought the good fight, and represented the marque well. BTW - thanks for the insights into the Horizon operation. I for one am looking forward to an exciting 2005 Rolex season - and seeing more of the Horizon GTO. Good luck in '05. If you do good, maybe GM will give you one of the factory cars to play with :) :) keep us posted.

02-26-2005, 08:08 PM
I also enjoyed seeing, and rooting for, your team. I was very pleased to see the in-car camera but was disappointed about the small amount of time shown.

A few years ago, I was asked to drive in the Rolex 24 for a small team. We were all very excited to go but the car was not quite ready in-time. We all decided that it was best to resist the urge to be there, when the car was not prepared properly.

Good luck this season and I hope to see you at VIR in October.

03-05-2005, 04:27 PM

Here she is :hail:

03-06-2005, 03:55 PM
Anyone have a pic of the pace car from Homestead? Looked like it was painted up like the GT car. Pretty cool...