Daytona 24: Porsche Motorsports race report

PORSCHE 911 SCORES 35TH CLASS WIN AT THE ROLEX 24 HOURS AT DAYTONA; ALEX JOB RACING EARNS FIRST PORSCHE PROTOTYPE PODIUM FINISH SINCE 2003 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - January 29 - With the GT class victory in their TPC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car,...

PORSCHE 911 SCORES 35TH CLASS WIN AT THE ROLEX 24 HOURS AT DAYTONA; ALEX JOB RACING EARNS FIRST PORSCHE PROTOTYPE PODIUM FINISH SINCE 2003

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - January 29 - With the GT class victory in their TPC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, Ian Baas, from Noblesville, IN/Randy Pobst, from Gainsville, GA/Spencer Pumpelly, from Mason Neck, VA, and car owner Michael Levitas, from Baltimore, MD, have given Porsche its 60th class win and 35th win for the Porsche 911 model at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

The team, which qualified seventh in class, waged a battle over the entire 24 hours against the factory Pontiac GTO-R of Lally/Valentine/Bunting/O'Connell, losing the lead several times before nailing down a four-lap win.

"We couldn't relax one bit during the event as the Pontiac was fast. We made one driving mistake during the event, and it cost us the lead during the night, so we knew we had to be perfect the rest of the way," said Levitas, whose Porsche led last year before an accident put it out of the race.

"And the TPC Porsche was perfect," added Randy Pobst, for whom this was the second Rolex 24 GT win, as he was on the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche winning team in 2001.

The Pontiac was second, and the Dirk Werner/Philipp Peter/Dieter Quester/Luca Riccitelli Farnbacher Loles Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was third.

In the overall event, there were four Porsche-powered Daytona Prototypes in the race, and three of the led the Rolex 24 at various times during the race. The #23 Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports Shred-it XM Satellite Radio Porsche Crawford, with drivers Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockefeller, and Patrick Long - the car that started the race on the pole and led the first 20 laps - was the fastest car on the track, and was able to overcome a nine- lap deficit and took the lead back in the 17th hour. They built a three-lap cushion until a broken right rear axle put the car into the pits, where they lost eight laps to the field.

With 20 minutes to go, the Alex Job car was fourth, but a cut tire on the Brumos Racing Red Bull Porsche, which seemed to have third place locked up, put that car in the pits when the white flag dropped, and gave Lucas Luhr a chance to grab third place. It was the first Daytona prototype podium for Porsche since 2003.

"I am not really happy with the third-place finish as we had the fastest car on the track," said Lucas Luhr, "and I am sad for my friend and frequent co-driver Sascha Maassen for losing third place on the last lap, but I am happy for the Alex Job crew and the other drivers that our work was rewarded with a podium finish."

That #58 Brumos Racing Red Bull Porsche Fabcar, with Darren Law, Sascha Maassen, and David Donohue at the controls, led the race at various times during Saturday afternoon, and seemed destined for a third-place finish before the late flat. The team #59 Porsche Fabcar, with Hurley Haywood, J.C, France, Ted Christopher and Joao Barbosa, with its multitude of problems, ran to the end, but ended up in 36th place.

The other Porsche Daytona prototype that led the race early was the Brian Frisselle/Burt Frisselle/Patrick Huisman RX.com Synergy Porsche Doran. The car started to run hot after a Patrick Huisman spin, and the heat problem continued, forcing the team to retire.

PORSCHE DAYTONA 24-HOUR FACTS
(updated 1/29/06 at the checkered flag)

Overall Wins: 20 (first in 1968; most recent in 2003)

Class Wins: 60

Porsche 911 Wins: 35 Overall and Class Victories

Initial Overall Win: 1968

GT Class Wins: 25

SGS Class wins (class ran only in 2004): 1

20 Race Winning Streak (overall or class): 1966-1987

Finished 1-2 overall in 11 Daytona 24-Hours

GT class winner finishing second overall: 2001, 2004

From 1977 to 1988, Porsche had compiled 12 consecutive overall wins

GTX Series Winner: 1978-1981

GTP Series Winner: 1982-89, 1991

-porsche

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Randy Pobst , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Patrick Huisman , Hurley Haywood , Darren Law , David Donohue , Joao Barbosa , Patrick Long , Luca Riccitelli , Dieter Quester , Michael Levitas , Ian Baas , Brian Frisselle , Alex Job , Dirk Werner , Ted Christopher , Philipp Peter