Daytona 24: Farnbacher Loles Racing Friday report

Farnbacher Loles Racing topped the GT class during final practice for this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona. Jorg Hardt, driving the No. 89 (Italian) Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, lapped the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course in one...

Farnbacher Loles Racing topped the GT class during final practice for this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona. Jorg Hardt, driving the No. 89 (Italian) Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, lapped the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course in one minute 50.947 seconds. Hardt's co-drivers Luca Drudi and Gabrio Rosa have considerable experience in 24-hour racing at venues from Daytona Beach in the United States -- where they scored a GT podium in 2001 -- to Le Mans, France. Drudi noted the differences between the two races (translated from French):

"At Daytona, there are a lot of cars and the track isn't very long. At Le Mans, we have 50 cars and 13 kilometers. Here we have 66 cars and five kilometers. It's very, very tight and the night is very long, unlike Le Mans. At Le Mans, we have about eight hours of dark, but here we have 12 hours of dark. To be there at the finish, you have to be just fast enough -- not too fast, just fast enough."

by the numbers

Farnbacher Loles has entered seven cars in the Rolex 24 GT class, driven by 32 drivers, supported by 80 team members. [Note: a team photo is available for media use.] Because of tight space in pit lane, the team has only 3.5 pit stalls -- space that will allow four cars to pit easily at one time, five cars if necessary. In addition, a new Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series rule changes pit-stop timing during caution periods (only DP cars may pit on the first lap of a full-course caution; only GT cars on the second lap; any cars on the third), so coordinating pit stops for seven cars will be a challenge.

Team owner Gregory Loles heads a three-man team that will coordinate overall strategy for the seven cars. The team has prepared computer models and spreadsheets covering numerous "what-if" scenarios. With the talent-packed GT field this year, Loles noted, "This race will be won in the pits."

connections

Farnbacher Loles team manager Frank Resciniti was crew chief for Jorg Bergmeister in 2006, when he won the Rolex Series DP championship. Bergmeister is driving the No. 86 (Power) Porsche this weekend. Resciniti was also crew chief for the Corvette car that finished fourth overall in the 2001 Rolex 24. Two of the team's drivers were Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

business focus

Dave Lacey and Greg Wilkins, who are driving the No. 88 (Doncaster Racing) Porsche this season, considered 10 Rolex Series GT teams before selecting Farnbacher Loles Racing to run their car this season. Dave Lacey explained it was a strategic business decision:

"We did a full due-diligence assessment on 10 different teams. It was really eye-opening from a busines perspective. From the time we first talked to Greg Loles and Dino Loles, it was clear that the whole Farnbacher Loles organization has a very strong business orientation. To be successful, you really have to be successful in business and think about the business of the sport. We're very excited to be part of what's considered a super-team under the Farnbacher Loles banner."

Team Seattle founder Don Kitch Jr reached a similar conclusion in finding a home for the Nos. 84 and 85 cars in Team Seattle's 12th and final Rolex 24. "This is absolutely the best team for us," he said.

-credit: flr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Luca Drudi , Dave Lacey , Greg Wilkins , Dino Loles , Jorg Hardt