Brumos duo leads the way in final Daytona practice

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 31 -- The No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar of David Donohue, Mike Borkowski, Randy Pobst, and Chris Bye posted the fastest time on Friday in the final practice session before Saturday's Rolex 24 at Daytona. The...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 31 -- The No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar of David Donohue, Mike Borkowski, Randy Pobst, and Chris Bye posted the fastest time on Friday in the final practice session before Saturday's Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The Brumos quartet lapped the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course in 1:50.176, more than one second faster than their teammates in the No. 59 Brumos entry, driven by Hurley Haywood, Scott Sharp, Scott Goodyear, and J.C. France.

Haywood, a five-time winner of the Rolex 24, likes his chances for the race. "We're looking good," he said. "We're running new shock absorbers, and it was a little bit of a learning curve. But we're finally getting it sorted out."

The pole sitting Multimatic Ford of David Brabham, Scott Maxwell, and David Empringham recorded the third fastest time of the one-hour session. Brabham and company will lead a field of six brand new Daytona Prototypes, 14 GTS cars, 20 GT cars, and five SRPII cars to the green flag Saturday at 1 p.m.

Like many of his fellow Daytona Prototype competitors, Maxwell just wants to finish the race. "We're planning on running a clean, smooth race," he said. "My plan at the start is to set a pace. I'll be happy running first or 10th. We know what we have to do to keep the car in one piece."

Fourth overall and first in the GTS class was the Konrad Motorsport Saleen S7R of Franz Konrad, Airton Dare, Jean Francois Yvon, and Tony Seiler, followed by the G&W Motorsports BMW-powered Picchio of Boris Said, Dieter Quester, Darren Law, and Luca Riccitelli, and the Racer's Group Porsche of Kevin Buckler, Timo Bernhard, Jorg Bergmeister, and Michael Schrom.

The Cegwa Sport Toyota Fabcar, the Orbit Racing Porsche, the Schumacher/Champion Porsche, and the Rennworks Motorsports Porsche rounded out the top-10.

Besides fine-tuning their race set-ups, many teams used today's final practice session to practice pit stops and driver changes.

Since there are only six Daytona Prototypes in the 45-car field, the leading GTS and GT cars could easily find themselves racing for the overall win, if the new cars falter in their first race. As a result, fuel mileage and pit stops could play a pivotal role in the outcome of the race.

"This is a tough year to start out, because most of the teams haven't had enough development time," Said explained. "It's a crap shoot for us."

"I'd be surprised if there are two or three of us at the end," Empringham added. "The Fabcar has proven it can do it, but everyone else is untested for 24 straight hours."

An untested group of headlining cars and a proven assortment of reliable production-based cars mean that this year's race could be one of the most competitive and unpredictable in a number of years.

Notes

Acxiom, a leading provider of information management solutions, has become the title sponsor of the Grand Touring division of the Rolex Sports Car Series, which includes both the GTS and GT classes. For this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona, Acxiom will award $10,000 to the highest finishing Grand Touring division entry. At the remainder of the this year's events, Acxiom will award $1,000 to the fastest qualifiers in both the GT and GTS classes, and another $1,000 to the highest finishing Grant Touring division team.

SPEED Channel will broadcast the complete 12-race Rolex Sports Car Series season. Five races will be broadcast live, while the rest will be aired tape delay.

Nineteen Eighty-Six Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time CART champion Bobby Rahal will serve as the grand marshal of this weekend's Rolex 24. Rahal, Brian Redman, and Bob Garretson won the 1981 edition of the Rolex 24 in a Porsche Turbo.

Cherry Hill, N.J. native Tom Hessert III, 16, is set to become the youngest driver in Rolex 24 history. Hessert, who will co-drive the No. 68 Racer's Group Porsche with his father, Tom Hessert Jr., Richard Valentine, and Jim Michaelian, will eclipse the previous mark of 17 years of age, held by Clint Field.

Sahlen Packing Company has signed on to be the title sponsor of the Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International. Sahlens, headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., is Western New York's leading producer of premium meats, including hot dogs, deli ham and turkey, Italian sausage, and other deli meat products.

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers David Brabham , Franz Konrad , Airton Daré , Scott Goodyear , Bobby Rahal , Randy Pobst , Scott Maxwell , Kevin Buckler , Hurley Haywood , Darren Law , David Donohue , Jörg Bergmeister , David Empringham , Timo Bernhard , Michael Schrom , Luca Riccitelli , Clint Field , Brian Redman , Dieter Quester , Mike Borkowski , Chris Bye , Jim Michaelian , Tom Hessert III , Tom Hessert , J.C. Fra , Bob Garretson