Back In Time: 24 Hour Dream Ride – Ted Christopher Makes Rolex 24 Debut In 2006

Ted Christopher with the Brumos Porsche Prototype at the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona (Photo: Courtesy Dave Martino)

Today the 59th Rolex 24 at Daytona took the green flag at Daytona International Speedway.

The event ranks arguably as the most storied Sports Car racing endurance event still run in North America. 

By 2006 Ted Christopher had built a storied career as one of the most recognizable short track drivers in America, but in January of that year he got the chance to experience a competition on an all new stage for himself. 

Christopher was invited to drive the storied Brumos Porsche Prototype in the Rolex 24 in January 2006, teaming up for the ride with Hurley Haywood, JC France and Joao Barbosa. 

Below is the story from January 27, 2006 in the Hartford Courant leading up to Christopher’s opportunity. 


By Shawn Courchesne/Courant Staff Writer

The nights have been a little more restless for Ted Christopher recently.

In local racing circles, Christopher is the veteran, hardened by years of short track battles, frightened by few and far from intimidated by the prospects of racing in a car he’s not totally familiar with.

Driving a racecar well is something Christopher rarely loses sleep over.

But the thought of competing in the most prestigious sports car racing event in the country has had the Plainville driver tossing and turning.

This weekend, Christopher adds a world class highlight to his extensive racing resume when he drives a Daytona Prototype sports car for Brumos Racing Saturday and Sunday in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

It’s the first foray into sports car racing for the driver who has competed in everything from Modifieds to Midgets to the Nextel Cup Series.

“I go to bed at night and it takes me like an hour to go to sleep because I run through my mind all of the stuff I have to do in that race and how I’ve got to get myself familiar with the track and everything else,” Christopher said. “I really, really want to do well in this and I think I can do well with it.”

The Grand American Road Racing Association Daytona Prototype that Christopher will drive is one of the most sleek, exotic and fastest racecars competing in the world today. Christopher will share driving time in the Brumos Porsche with Hurley Haywood, JC France and Joao Barbosa

“They are just amazing cars,” said Christopher, who has been testing with the team since December. “They’re pretty much not like anything I’ve ever driven before. But once I got in a few laps I felt pretty comfortable in it.”

Christopher, 47, races regularly at the three short tracks in Connecticut and also on the Whelen Modified Tour and Busch East Series. He is the all-time winningest driver at Stafford Motor Speedway. But the closest Christopher has come to sports car racing is in NASCAR events at Lime Rock Park in Salisbury, where sports cars are the top attraction.

Last summer, days before the American LeMans Series was set to compete at Lime Rock over Fourth of July weekend, Christopher, while working on his SK Modified in the pits at Stafford, lamented never getting a chance to drive a prototype.

“I’d love to get a chance to race one of those cars,” Christopher said June 30. “I would jump at any chance to get into one of those.”

For the last five years Christopher has been searching for a chance to drive in the Rolex 24, which attracts some of the biggest names in racing.

“I learned that basically you had to bring a suitcase full of money to even get a look at anything for most of the teams there,” Christopher said. “But this year [NASCAR competition administrator] Jerry Cook hooked me up with Jim France [JC’s father and NASCAR executive vice president] who got me hooked up with the guys from Brumos.”

Brumos owner Bob Snodgrass just happened to be looking for someone outside of the sports car racing world to put in one of his two Prototype entries and not someone looking to buy the ride.

“I thought it would be a very cool thing to kind of break out of the box a little bit,” said Snodgrass, a native of Elmira, N.Y. “And who’s going to think about getting a Modified driver to drive the 24 Hours of Daytona. I’ve known of Ted for quite a few years because I’m a native of the Northeast. I talked to Ted and he was very excited about it. He came down and when I met him I thought to myself, ‘This guy is a racer’s racer.’ He makes no pretenses of the elitist aspect that people seem to think is around sports car racing. He’s just a regular guy. This guy is a professional and I respect him for what he is and we’re going to pay him for that because we’re a professional team.”

And Christopher was quick to impress Snodgrass behind the wheel. He tested the Brumos Prototype for the first time in December at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Our cars have sequential six-speed transmissions and he had never driven a car with a sequential gear box,” Snodgrass said. “He had never driven a Prototype. I don’t think he had ever driven a racecar with a Porsche motor and he had never seen the track at Homestead. So basically he had everything in the world going against him. So we put him in the car and said, ‘Listen, just go out there and take a few laps and just kind of familiarize yourself and get comfortable with the car. Don’t try to impress anybody here.’ Within 17 laps he went as fast as any driver we’ve ever had in our car. Seventeen laps? That’s just unheard of.”

The car Christopher will share driving duties in is considered one of the pre-race favorites. The Brumos team has won the Rolex 24 six times.

“For him to get that ride and not have to buy it: what does that tell you about the way he’s judged by his peers?” ABC racing analyst and Stafford Motor Speedway president Jack Arute Jr. said. “I don’t think most people around here realize the heritage and the legacy behind the Brumos operation. For Snodgrass to offer him that ride, that just elevated his stock so far and so high.”

Haywood is a five-time winner of the race and a three-time winner of the 24 Hours of LeMans, the most prestigious sports car race in the world.

“I really didn’t follow the kind of racing that Ted does so I was not really familiar with who he was,” Haywood said. “But he was very impressive in our first test down at Homestead and he is a very fast learner. He learned how to adapt to our car, which is completely different than the kind of car that he’s normally used to driving. He adapts to the traffic situations very well. I think he will be an asset to our team.

“Every dimension of the car is completely different than the kind of car that he’s used to driving. But he’s a good racer in his cars and any good racer can adapt to any kind of car.”

Over 24 hours, Christopher will get to compete in the same event with not only legends of sports car racing, but also the reigning Nextel Cup Series champion and two former Nextel Cup champions, three former Indy 500 winners and a plethora of drivers from CART, the Indy Racing League and even former Formula One drivers.

“You would not believe the people that are walking around this place,” Christopher said Wednesday from Daytona. “The NASCAR guys I’m used to. But the others, it’s amazing. I just look around and I can’t believe I’m here.”

The Team

Plainville’s Ted Christopher will drive a Brumos Racing Porsche Daytona Prototype in the Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend. Brumos is considered one of the standard bearers of sports car racing in the United States. Christopher will share driving duties with Hurley Haywood, JC France and Joao Barbosa. The team was started in 1961 and competed in the first 24 Hours at Daytona in 1966. Brumos cars have won six titles in the 24 Hours at Daytona (1968, ’73, ’75, 79 and ’91). Haywood has won the event five times, driving for Brumos in ’73, ’75, ’79 and ’91 and winning for another team in ’77. Haywood has also won three times at the 24 Hours of LeMans, the most prestigious sports car race in the world. In 1977 he became the first driver to win LeMans and Daytona in the same year. Brumos Racing is owned by Elmira, N.Y., native Bob Snodgrass.

The Car

Aerodynamically appealing car that looks nothing like any standard production-based vehicle. The Brumos cars will sport six-cylinder, 500-horsepower Porsche motors. The car will reach speeds of at least 185 mph on the road course at Daytona.

The Race

Considered America’s equivalent to LeMans. The race is contested on a 3.56-mile, 14-turn course that incorporates an infield road course with parts of the 2.5-mile high-banked tri-oval. The race begins at noon Saturday and concludes at noon Sunday. The car completing the most laps is the winner. Speed Channel will carry live coverage from noon-6 p.m. and 8-11 p.m Saturday and from 8 a.m.-noon Sunday.

Joao Barbosa, JC France, Ted Christopher and Hurley Haywood (l-r) at the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona (Photo: Courtesy Dave Martino)


  1. 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍

  2. The real good fellow. I am assuming you are giving a five thumb salute to the writing in this article. I would guess it was not about the subject matter. I kinda recall a few choice words you mentioned about Teddy when Shawn wrote a piece on Craig Lutz. I know you are not changing your mind on the driver in a week or two.

  3. Love how teamsters said TC did so well in traffic. Using up the bumper was he?!..
    So how did TC and the Brumos team do in the 24 hour?…..

  4. Jussayin,
    Ended up 36th. Retired with mechanical issues after completing 559 laps.

  5. If I remember correctly TC was the weakest link. If, I remember this correctly. I was in my infancy during the Christopher’s growing up in Karting. I assume you believe every win he got was by bumping people out of the way. Mike was a great driver also, better driver in my view. They did not put their bumper to win every race they won. Lots of clean races. Enjoy your reliving of history though however you want. I guess if it feels good do it. Right?

  6. I don’t know who JC France is, but Teddy definitely would have been the outlier on a road racing team with legends Barbosa and Haywood.

    Brumos has a huge history around the Rolex 24, so it’s really cool that TC got to be part of this race on that team. Brumos is far from a back marker program in what is probably the most difficult racing event in the USA.

  7. Barry,
    JC France is the grandsons of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and son of current NASCAR chairman Jim France. Had plenty of history competing in sports car events, but also had issues staying out of trouble with the law.

  8. I don’t know if Mike ultimately was a better driver then Ted but at the time they both raced I would definitely agree Mike was a hair better. Ted more the hammer at the time. Mike capable of being a hammer but a little more patient and willing to let things develop before making his move.
    As for the racing at Stafford the early days of the SK’s with the Christopher’s, Gunning, Anderson and a few others could end up being a blood bath the more sophisticated drivers like Pearl and Potter sometimes got caught up in.
    Then Ted went on to race for the rest of his life building up a resume in Wikipedia that takes a lot of time to appreciate how diverse and extensive it is.

  9. Thanks Shawn. Cool little known story of a local legend. And thank you too Kayman. Now I know that Karting is Where TC learned his impatient ways of maneuvering through traffic.

  10. Hi Doug. I really liked watching Jerry Pearl matriculate around the race track and win quite a bit. White red and blue 33 if I remember correctly. He was a slick and smooth driver. Also liked Mr. Potter. Only knew them from Waterford and Thompson. Didn’t get back to Stafford until the mid 1990’s. And I really think, all things being equal, Mike was a better driver. Not to take anything away from Ted. Both top notch.

  11. Yeah Teddy was impatient. He raced every division in karts. He raced for his brother I believe at one point, got hurt, and they flat out told him they couldn’t do that again. I think that was when he grew in that mustache.

  12. Thanks for that story Shawn, I had no idea and so impressed Ted had done that. I wish I knew when I had several occasions when I could have asked him about it, and he did it with one of the great teams of all time in endurance racing- wow! I have been a fan of the 24 for some time now, initially because it has been the first big race of the year, (Chili Bowl notwithstanding), and marked the start of the new season. It is an amazing race, not the snooze fest some might expect, the entire field runs flat out every lap and the mix of cars and varying speeds allows for tons of passing and tight moments. Multiple cars on the lead lap in most divisions at the end of the race which seems impossible after 700 or 800+ laps. The racing is excellent with great drivers, teams and fans from all over the world. Went for the first time two years ago and IMSA does a great job letting fans get close to everything. It was like being in the pits at Thompson. Wore my Whelen hat, got my picture next to car, talked to some of the guys, it was great. Hope to do it again.

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