Daytona 24: Fiorano Racing preview

2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona GT podium partners ready for Rolex return Daytona Beach, FL-- After taking second place in the GT class in the 2005 running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Emil Assentato and Nick Longhi are no strangers to the challenge...

2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona GT podium partners ready for Rolex return

Daytona Beach, FL-- After taking second place in the GT class in the 2005 running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Emil Assentato and Nick Longhi are no strangers to the challenge that racing for twenty-four hours at Daytona presents, and are hungry to get back to the podium once again.

Demonstrative of their drive to success, Assentato and Longhi are teaming up for the 44th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona with a strong driver line-up, a proven race car in the Porsche Cup GT3, and an experienced race crew with Fiorano Racing.

Sharing the No. 22 FXDD/Hazardous Sports Porsche will be experienced Porsche ace Lonnie Pechnik, 2004 Rolex 24 At Daytona SGS class winner Jean-Francis Dumoulin, and Grand Am Cup veteran Jep Thorton, who is making his Rolex GT class debut.

"Running with Fiorano Racing and Gianni Panico the Team's Principal, as well as having drivers with the experience my fellow drivers have, are all key to doing well in this race," said Assentato. "This race is not only about speed, but it is also about experience and we expect that it will be like any other Rolex 24, with twenty-our hours of bedlam interceded with yellow flags. Hopefully, when the sun comes up Sunday morning we will be on the lead lap."

Assentato, who first made racing headlines in 1974 with his New York SCCA Formula Ford championship, knows that there are a lot of factors that come into play in a twenty-four hour race, and feels like the he and the team are well situated to do well.

"Our team has experience across the whole gamut of specialties that are needed to do well in this race," said Assentato. "Whether it is prep work, race strategy, race support, chassis set up, we have put together a competitive combination. Our partners, FXDD and Hazardous Sports are also excited about our prospects and we are not planning to let them down. We believe our platform and our team capture the essence of what our partners are about. They are edgy and aggressive in their approach to their businesses, they are success oriented and we are in our approach to this race. "

The car is likely to be strong, and while the porches GT3 Cup the team is utilizing is not the latest specification, this might well work out in their favor.

"Of course we know that Porsche has released the 997 and it is a fine car," said Assentato. "Unfortunately, we are not running one, but we believe given the risks and luck that it takes to finish this event that we may not need that little extra speed that the 997 seems to have. So we are betting on the more proven machine and the team package that we have put together to keep us in the hunt. When Sunday morning comes we expect to be in contention for the win."

Thorton, who has raced professionally since 2002 in the Grand Am Cup ranks, is looking forward to making the step up to the Rolex GT Class in the prestigious Daytona event.

"I'm really looking forward to driving in the Rolex Series," said Thorton. "This is really the next step in my racing career. I'll be competing with a great group of drivers and Fiorano has proven to be a solid team. I'm also excited about being a part of such an historic race."

Practice and qualifying for the first thirty positions on the grid are slated to take place on Thursday, January 26, with the race getting started at Noon on Saturday, January 28. Speed Channel will cover the start live, with six hours of coverage opening up the show.

-fr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Emil Assentato , Nick Longhi , Lonnie Pechnik