Through the Esses - Gray Tiger Racing Progress
© Andrew S. Hartwell
This appeared on TheRaceSite.com on 12/17/2003
The first Saturday in February 2004 is shaping up to be a new classic for sportscar racing in North America. The Grand-Am sanctioned, Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona is expected to have anywhere from 18 to 20 new - and almost new - Daytona Prototypes on the grid. Most of these will be new cars and new teams that either haven't run before at all, or only in limited races at the end of the 2003 season. And the total of new DPs to hit the banking will be at least four times the number that started this race in 2003.
Yes, it would appear the dream of the DP architects is about to come true. But for at least one team, the dream will take a bit longer to become reality.
Terry Rohr intends to endure the tribulations dreamers sometimes experience. Recently, his Gray Tiger Racing effort to build a Daytona Prototype was seemingly written off by the Grand-Am fans that so passionately post on the GA website forum.
An example: "what happened to them, I've heard nothing about testing, or the car they ordered. The web-site doesn't have anything news-wise newer than June 2003. Could someone give me the details here?"
With little news coming out of Rohr's shop and so much news coming from the camps of several other new teams and constructors, one might reasonably conclude that this tiger had been shot. But Terry Rohr's tiger is anything but dead. It just hasn't had much to 'Rohr' about. (Sorry, it just fit so nicely there.)
We contacted Rohr for an update on the Rohr R01 Daytona Prototype and Gray Tiger Racing.
"Thanks for checking in on how things are going with Gray Tiger Racing. I saw the thread on the GA board. Can't blame them. Things are still moving slowly and there isn't much new news to tell them.
"We are still talking to people about sponsorship and are still moving forward with the car. We are continuing to work on the body plug and are still looking for a new shop. Right now we just don't have room to be working the body plug and a chassis jig."
Rohr has been involved with sportscar racing since 1979. He has raced in several SCCA classes including Touring, Showroom Stock, Production, and GT, running under the Rohr Racing banner. While never a builder of cars before, his background in the aerospace industry has lead him to pursue his dream of one day racing a car made from his own design and by his own hands.
In an earlier conversation with Rohr (on www.ashautomobilia.com), he explained his reasons for wanting to power the D01 with a Honda motor.
"We feel the Honda engine ties in with our goal to get the word out about this type of racing. There is a big Honda following with the kids. They love their Honda street cars - the ones people sometimes refer to as "rice rockets" - and we are trying to draw on that market and get more of them interested in (Grand-Am and Daytona Prototype) racing."
Rohr is continuing his effort to get a Honda powerplant behind the driver's seat of the D01. "We are still talking to engine builders and still trying to make the Honda engine work out."
Despite the obstacles ahead, Rohr expects to persevere and come out with a winning design.
"Without additional sponsorship money, I'm afraid we are still 5-6 months away from having the car finished. But, we will get a car built and we will be out there one of these days. I only wish that we could be there racing at Daytona next February. It's very frustrating seeing all the exciting news about the DPs for this next year and not having the car ready to go."
Terry Rohr is just itching to join Kevin Doran, Dave Klym, Robert Chase, Bill Riley and Max Crawford in the ranks of the DP constructors. It seems his dream of becoming a car constructor will happen. It may not be his time just yet, but he feels determined to see his creation queued up on a Grand-Am starting grid.
Curious forum posts aside, this Gray Tiger isn't quite dead thank you. Rohr is moving ahead albeit at a slower pace than he would like, but he is still moving. And wouldn't a man with the tenacious character of a tiger be a welcome addition to the DP fields?
Message to Grand-Am: Keep a pit stall open for Gray Tiger Racing