EC: The 333 had run pretty successfully during what we call the darker years, when IMSA didn't know which way the series was going.
GR: We were having some issues with Micholetti and we didn't do that great. We were beaten by the Dyson Ford quite a lot, and then Ferrari told us it was the end of the 333. So as a stop-gap we raced those two Lolas for Rand Racing. But we were racing, and it was successful. We won ten races from pole and had ten fastest laps. We finished second overall at Daytona with that car.
EC: I recall the way the crew came in and ran everything. You were the class act of the field as far as car preparation.
GR: We basically ran the car the whole year for Rand. Then Rand ran out of money. We were looking at running a 360 at the time, as that's when they came out. John McLoughlin left to form MSB Motorsport purely to develop the 360. I told him at the time: "You know, I can't join you on that because it's all against Ferrari." It was ill-fated because I think that put an awful lot of stress on him, and of course the car never worked to his standard.
EC: Sebring 2002, self-sponsored by Phil Bennett, and basically with almonds for the crew from Burkhart Farms. A total of 12 laps, which was a shame because there were some good ideas he'd put into it.
GR: Very much so. I mean, the suspension design. He addressed all the weaknesses. But his ideas didn't go wrong, it was the engine, and the builders they used didn't know what they were doing.
EC: I always felt that there was a lot of indifference from Maranello as to a really serious development program on the GT cars until you started winning. Did it take an impetus to come from this, like, "Hey guys, we can win if you will actually spend some time on the car"?
GR: Well, it really wasn't us. JMB pushed that program in Europe and that was called the NGT. The paddle shifting was in its infancy and it gave a lot of problems. In Europe it worked better, but over here it just didn't. John McLoughlin developed a straight gearbox with the H pattern. We started running it here and had a good run in 2003 at Daytona. From there they started seeing the car's potential; we kept telling them we didn't have enough power to beat the Porsches. We did the whole IMSA thing all of 2003 and 2004 and weren't going anywhere; we still couldn't beat the Porsches. I had had enough with the 360, and that's when Ferrari started taking an interest. But by then I said enough is enough, and we took on running the Maserati MC12 in ALMS.
EC: Was that also considered a stop-gap?
GR: Yes. The MC12, though, was a factory deal. We were just providing the support and logistics. We didn't manage the team.
EC: The story that never got out is how good the MC12 was in Europe, and then it comes over here and looks like a grid-filler. It was detrimental to that class to have the Maserati treated so-
GR: Horribly. They wanted it here, they promised us stuff, every race they said, "We're going to do this and that." Nothing happened. IMSA wanted the car, but we weren't allowed to score points, and we also had the biggest failing with the Pirelli tires. The car was too stiff, but we couldn't convince Maserati to change the setup. It was theirs to run. We painted our transporters blue and so on, but we really didn't have any engineering input.
EC: That must have been a really empty feeling, showing up and going through the motions.
GR: Absolutely. They brought their guys there, but we were just going through the motions. It was a stop-gap of key people. Then came the 430 in 2006 and the new GT story began.