Baldwin-Tafel Announces Stellar Daytona Driver Line-Up
CUMMING, Ga., January 24, 2005 -- Baldwin-Tafel Racing will begin its first full season of Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series competition in 2005 with one of the strongest driver lineups in the 43rd Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona. Joining owner/ drivers Jack Baldwin (Marietta, Ga.) and Jim Tafel (Alpharetta, Ga.) will be 2004 Rolex 24 GT class winner Robin Liddell (Northampton, England), 2004 Grand-Am Cup champion Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) and three year Rolex Series veteran Andrew Davis (Bogart, Ga.). The list of champion drivers piloting the No. 73 Mesco Building Solutions Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) is among the most experienced and successful lineups entered for this season's opening round of the 2005 Rolex Series Grand Touring (GT) championship.
Baldwin, who joined with Tafel to create Baldwin-Tafel Racing in mid-2004, is a four-time road racing national champion. His success behind the wheel includes wins in nearly every type of racing car ranging from open wheel formula cars to sedans and prototypes. In his career, Baldwin has earned 30 victories in major sports car racing, 87 podium finishes and nearly 250 race starts. Included in the tally are two Grand American prototype (SRP) victories at Phoenix and Mid-Ohio. Among the two-time IROC competitor's successes are two IMSA GTU ('84, '85) titles and the 1992 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Trans-Am championship in the famous Hot Wheels Camaro. Baldwin has also proven his ability in endurance races with a Rolex 24 victory in 1984 (GTU class) and two wins in the 12 Hours of Sebring- '84 (GTU) and '97 (GT-1 class). Tafel, making his rookie appearance as a driver at the Rolex 24, has competed in six races during his young career. In that time he has earned two top-ten finishes in SGS class and a career high second in a 12 hour SCCA race.
Robin Liddell, born in Scotland, won last year's GT class of the Rolex 24 in a Porsche and is the 2001 European Le Mans Series GT champion. He has race victories in the British Touring Car Championship and has podium finishes in the FIA GT Championship. Craig Stanton, who has competed at Daytona since 1999, dominated the 2004 Grand-Am Cup championship with six GS class victories. He also won the Rolex Series SGS class at Homestead-Miami. Despite being the youngest of the driving squad, Andrew Davis set the fastest SGS class qualifying lap at the '04 Rolex 24 driving a 911 Cup entry. He made his first Rolex 24 start in 2001 following two Southeast regional championships in SCCA Formula Continental ('98, '99) and Sports 2000 ('97).
Further strengthening what many are considering the top contender for the GT title at Daytona, is the addition of team manager/ engineer Tony Dowe of Dacula, Ga. Dowe, one of the most successful and sought-after minds in motorsports, has overseen the development of the team with Baldwin and Tafel. His direct duties include the preparation and race strategy for the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car. Dowe has led many of the most successful racing programs in motorsports history including championship efforts for TWR Group, Carl Haas, Chaparral Cars/ Jim Hall Racing, Panoz Motorsports and Dick Barbour Racing.
Jack Baldwin, owner/driver: "I'm very pleased with the lineup that we have brought on board. Jim and I wanted to put together the very best team with the best drivers that we could. We're happy to have last year's GT winner in Robin Liddell as well as Craig Stanton, the reigning Grand-Am Cup champion. Andrew Davis is a young and very talented driver that we are very excited to have with us. And Tony Dowe tops everything off because he is brilliant. We're each going to do our part to make this race a successful debut for Baldwin-Tafel. From an owner's standpoint, we have worked really hard to put the right team together. If we have just a little bit of luck to go along with the hard work, our chances will be good. We are working hard to get off to a good beginning."
Jim Tafel, owner/driver: "This has been an incredible journey over the last year. I'm fortunate that we can go to Daytona for the 24 Hour race and know that I wouldn't change a thing. I feel we have the greatest driver lineup I could ever ask for. When you know you have the right people that can get the job done you increase your attraction for others. The result is that the very best want to be a part of what you are doing. The whole team is working in unison. I have such a good feeling of unity from the crew members. I just hope to continue to build this program to be a first class operation."
Andrew Davis, driver: "This is a great opportunity. I've worked with Jack for the last few years and I was just thrilled when they gave me a call to do this. I had the opportunity to work with Tony Dowe in 2003 and to get to work with him again is great. He is the master. Baldwin-Tafel Racing has put all the pieces together to make it work. We have a great lineup of pro drivers, the shop is phenomenal, the car is amazing. They are doing things the right way. I hope to be a part of the starting off of what I think will be a very successful 2005 for the team. I am very grateful to both Jack and Jim to be a part of this."
Robin Liddell, driver: "I am really looking forward to joining the Baldwin-Tafel team at Daytona. I am very keen to defend my 2004 success where we won the GT class and finished second overall. I have worked with Tony Dowe once before and he has been a major influence on my joining the team. In addition, I know Craig Stanton quite well, having raced against him in 2003."
Craig Stanton, driver: "I couldn't have asked for a better team to join-up with at Daytona. Baldwin-Tafel is a new team but that is hard to see when you look at what they have assembled here. Their Porsche is put together as well as any I have ever seen and Tony is a legend in this business. To get to race with Jim, Jack, Robin and Andrew is a pretty big honor and I think we have a great shot at winning this race. None of us wants to be the weak link in the driver's seat and I don't think any of us will be. I am very, very excited about this year's race."