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  Riley Mk XX Porsche V8

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Country of origin:United States
Introduced in:2010
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 01, 2010
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Click here to download printer friendly versionCompeting in almost every form of road racing, Riley & Scott was one of America's most successful specialist racing car manufacturers of the 1990s. Among the many victories was a win in the 1995 Daytona 24 Hours race with the company's first ever prototype sports car. The fantastic results attracted the attention of the similar British manufacturer Reynard, who bought Riley & Scott in 1999. Unfortunately the combined effort did not yield the expected results and Reynard filed for bankruptcy two years later. One of the original founders, Bob Riley and his son Bill emerged from the ashes shortly after with a new company, now simply known as Riley Technologies.

Shortly after Riley Technologies was founded the Grand American Road Racing Association (GARRA) announced new regulations for the Rolex Sports Car Series. They would render the existing prototype racers, like the original Riley & Scotts, obsolete and require the construction of brand new fixed head racing cars. The drastic revisions were aimed at cutting expenses and increase safety. As a result the new 'Daytona Prototypes' were a fair bit simpler and slower than the open racing cars they replaced. A total of seven manufacturers got on with developing new machines complying with the new for 2003 regulations. Among them was Riley Technologies, who laid out the 'Riley Mk XI.'

Among the cost cutting measures was the ban on the use of carbon fibre for the chassis. Instead a simple steel spaceframe formed the basis of the new Riley. Suspension was through double wishbones and push-rod actuated springs and dampers. The straightforward package was covered with a carbon fibre body that was relatively short and sported a rather tall and wide windscreen. Details of the body like the grille and lights could be adjusted to resemble the road cars of the engine suppliers. These engines had to be sourced from production cars and development was very limited. The first Rileys used Pontiac and Lexus V8 engines.

For 2003 GARRA still allowed the open cars, be it very restricted, to compete alongside the new Daytona Prototypes. Riley missed the transition year completely and delivered the first Mk XI ahead of the 2004 season opening Daytona 24 Hours. One of the Lexus powered examples clinched pole and a Pontiac powered sister car set the fastest lap. Unfortunately small technical problems prevented the new Riley to clinch a debut victory. It would take until the third race of the season before the first victory was scored. This was achieved by Max Agnelli and Wayne Taylor in one of the 'Pontiacs.' It was a start of Riley's domination of the Rolex Sports Car Series. Among the dozens of victories for the Mk XI are four consecutive wins in the Daytona 24 Hours.

After a moratorium on chassis development of five years, GARRA allowed new machines to enter in 2008. Concentrating mainly on aerodynamics, Riley developed the highly successful Mk XI into the Mk XX. While most teams preferred to use the older model for the Daytona 24 Hours (and with success), the new Riley debuted during the season opening race of 2008. In addition to the Lexus and Pontiac V8s originally found in the back of the Rileys, the cars now also sported Ford and Porsche engines. The Rileys once more dominated the Grand-Am championship.

For 2009 one of the biggest names in American motorsport, Roger Penske, entered the Rolex Sports Car Series with a Porsche engined Riley. Two similar machines were also fielded by the Brumos team. Needless to say Rileys were again found at the top of the time tables. During qualifying the one of the Brumos cars beat the Penske Riley-Porsche by an incredibly small margin of just 0.001 second. The race was equally close with four cars finishing on the lead lap. The victory was scored by the pole-sitting Brumos machine ahead of the previous year's winning Chip Ganassi Riley Lexus team and the Brumos sister car. It was the first time a Porsche engined Daytona Prototype won the series' signature race.

After clinching the win at Daytona, the XX Riley continued their domination of the Grand-Am Championship. The Pontiac engined Riley of the Gainsco team finished the year as champion. The 2010 edition of the blue ribbon 24 Hours again featured a strong Riley presence. At the end of one of the fastest Daytonas in history, the Action Express Racing Riley was the surprise winner. This privateer team made its debut in the 24 Hours field and used an independently developed Porsche Cayenne V8 engine. Placing second was one of the Ganassi cars, which was fitted for the first time with a Dinan developed BMW V8. This proved to be winning combination as the team ended the year as champions.

In 2011 Ganassi returned to Daytona with a clear aim to win the one major American race that had eluded his team in during 2010. He duly succeeded as his BMW engined Rileys crossed the line in first and second. Third was for one of the Action Express Rileys that once again used the Cayenne sourced V8. This was the third consecutive win in the Daytona 24 Hours for the Mk XX Riley.

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  Article Image gallery (7) Specifications