Orbit Racing will introduce a new German star to American Le Mans Series racing, with the addition of Mike Rockenfeller to the team's driver lineup for the final race of the 2003 season. Rockenfeller, of Neuwied, Germany, will join Leo Hindery of...
Orbit Racing will introduce a new German star to American Le Mans Series racing, with the addition of Mike Rockenfeller to the team's driver lineup for the final race of the 2003 season. Rockenfeller, of Neuwied, Germany, will join Leo Hindery of New York and Peter Baron of Deerfield Beach, Fla., in the No. 43 YES Network Porsche 911 GT3 RS for the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans endurance race on Oct. 18.
Rockenfeller, 19, is a member of the UPS Porsche Junior Team, driving the No. 1 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car in the German Porsche Carrera Cup series. He led the series driver championship in September, the youngest driver ever to do so. With one race remaining, he is a close second in driver points, with one pole position, one win, three podiums and six top-five finishes in the eight races this season.
In addition to the Carrera Cup, Rockenfeller was a guest driver in five Porsche Michelin Supercup races this year. He is the youngest driver to win a Supercup race, a feat he accomplished at the tough Nurburgring circuit in Germany in June.
The Petit Le Mans will be Rockenfeller's first professional endurance race.
"Everything is new - the race track, the car and pit stops," he noted. "I did a 24-hour race in karting, but this is completely different. For me, it's a great experience! It will be good to see how quick I am in this car. And it's a good chance to show Porsche what I can do in endurance races."
Rockenfeller will test a Porsche 911 GT3 RS at Porsche headquarters in Weissach, Germany, to prepare for the race. He has also been training hard, logging intense daily cardio workouts to stay in shape for long races. And he recently completed a three-year mechanic's program, giving him a technical edge over his competitors.
"Porsche checks our fitness every six weeks, so I have to be in shape," he explained. "The education was three years of training, both in the workshop and in school. I know quite a lot of technical things about cars, so it's easier to talk about technical details with the engineers and I understand more than many other drivers."
Rockenfeller is the second young Porsche talent to drive with Orbit Racing this year. Marc Lieb of Niefern, Germany, was the German Carrera Cup champion and Rockenfeller's Porsche teammate in 2002. He joined Orbit for seven races this season, including the 24 Heures du Mans, where Hindery, Baron and Lieb finished second in the GT class. Lieb will be in Monza, Italy, during the Petit Le Mans race weekend, defending his class lead in the FIA GT Championship.
"Mike Rockenfeller is one of the future stars of ALMS, and we are very privileged to have him join us at the Petit Le Mans, where I am confident he will shine," Hindery said. "If he will teach me to drive faster, I will give him my secret to turn 10A, which is a legendary piece of information in motorsports that my fellow competitors have been seeking for years."
The prestigious Petit Le Mans is scheduled for Oct. 18 on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta road course in Braselton, Ga.