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GrandTouringPrototype.com, IMSA GTP Tribute Website, Launches at Monterey Historics
The IMSA GTP racecars of the 80s and 90s were the most advanced machines of their time. The stout competition captured the imagination of fans and journalist Marshall Pruett has created a home to celebrate the era at www.GrandTouringPrototype.com.
MONTEREY, Calif. (August 15, 2009) – The International Motor Sports Association Grand Touring Prototype (IMSA GTP) race cars of the 1980s and 1990s were the most technologically advanced racing machines of their time. These brutal and beautiful cars, from manufacturers such as Porsche, Ford, Jaguar, Nissan, Chevrolet and Mazda, were the “war horses” of the world’s top drivers as they did battle on some of the most renowned and storied race tracks. The stout competition of the time captured the imagination of racing fans worldwide then, and now racing journalist Marshall Pruett has created an Internet-based “home” to celebrate this era at www.GrandTouringPrototype.com.
The site launches during the 36th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where a field of more than 30 historic IMSA GTP cars will take the green flag and fight once again.
Pruett, the Auto Racing Editor for SPEED Channel’s website, founded GrandTouringPrototype.com based on his enthusiasm for sports cars in general, especially the GTP era. “I grew up a racing fan, my father was an amateur racer, and before I became a journalist I was a mechanic, engineer and team manager in the open-wheel ranks, but sports cars have always been my passion,” Pruett said. “And while I only worked in the GTP category for a short while, I lived and breathed IMSA and I loved GTP. The purpose of this site is not only to share that enthusiasm, but celebrate a magical time in racing for fans, drivers and teams.”
GrandTouringPrototype.com was created to fill a void in the sports car racing enthusiast community – although IMSA GTP has been covered by other sites, there was not a place for those in the sport to “re-live their memories” of the heroic battles between U.S., European and Asian manufacturers. Pruett’
“There is a community out there who want to share their experiences with IMSA GTP, from behind the wheel or sitting in the grandstands, so the site is relying on its fans to ‘fill in the holes’ – for example, we have been lent dozens of original race broadcasts that we will be digitizing and posting as well as hundreds of pictures,” Pruett said proudly.
“The site launches with more than 36 hours of GTP race footage and special features that are thrilling for the longtime fan, but also will expose a ‘new generation’ of sports car fans of what it was like on-track a mere 15 to 20 years ago,” he added.
Pruett’s effort has not gone unnoticed by the competitors of the era. “I’m really glad that someone has taken the time to put together a GTP web site that will show new fans of sports car racing what they are missing!” said Tony Dowe, former Team Manager of Tom Walkinshaw Racing, which fielded the factory Jaguar effort with a series of XJR prototypes. ”Times have changed, but the raw power, downforce levels and the sheer spectacle that these cars brought to North American racing had to be seen to be believed. I hope that the site will encourage fans to visit historic events and catch sight of some of these awesome machines.”
“I’m glad I was able to be part of that period in sports car racing,” Dowe said. “I look forward to reading about the races I was at from the other side of the fence.”
Pruett has been working hard to continue the growth of GrandTouringPrototype.com and, with the approval from the American Le Mans Series (IMSA owners), has been conducting exclusive interviews and writing features on the series as well as posting more than 1000 pictures and video. “I have been amazed at how many people have stories and materials to share,” Pruett said. “I’m drawing heavily from my personal archives, but our initial readers have already made a huge impact. 25 pounds of racing videocassettes have been sent to me by a Canadian fan, old press kits have been provided by my fellow journalists, IMSA’s offering up their materials and records, as well as the generosity of those involved in the series are willing to sit down and talk. With the help of our readers, we hope to bring a complete video library to the web, and there will certainly not be a shortage of GTP material on the site!”
Future plans for Pruett include expanding the site beyond the GTP ranks to include the IMSA GTO and GTU series, as well as Group C/WSPC.
Please visit GrandTouringPrototype.com and to contact or interview Marshall Pruett,
please call him at 510-967-1917 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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