Daytona 24: SAMAX preview

Daytona draft Watch for NASCAR-style drafting as the two SAMAX Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars take to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway for the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28 and 29. The 3.56-mile track in Daytona Beach,...

Daytona draft

Watch for NASCAR-style drafting as the two SAMAX Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars take to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway for the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28 and 29. The 3.56-mile track in Daytona Beach, Fla., combines an infield road course with a 2.5-mile tri-oval used for NASCAR Nextel Cup races, setting up opportunities to gain track position by drafting (slipstreaming).

Mark Wilkins of Toronto used the technique to land class podium finishes in 2004 and 2005. He'll try it again this year in the No. 71 SAMAX/Doncaster Racing Porsche he drives with Dave Lacey of Toronto, Brent Martini of Laguna Beach, Calif., and Greg Wilkins of Toronto.

"If a prototype goes by or you're closing on a GT car, definitely you want to stay in the draft to gain time," Mark Wilkins explained. "It makes the most difference at Daytona because so much time is spent on the banking and because you're hitting maximum speed every lap on the banking. You gain a lot more when you're getting to that frictional limit of the car at that speed. The less air you have to push, the faster you'll be."

... and rhythm

Drivers talk about what it takes to win a 24-hour race; Johnny Mowlem of London, England, speaks from experience. He has earned a GT victory, two overall podium finishes and three class podiums in six Rolex 24 starts. His focus will be on the No. 17 SAMAX Porsche he shares with Lance David Arnold of Duisburg, Germany, Bryan Sellers of Sacramento, Calif., Jan Seyffarth of Querfurt, Germany, and David Shep of Caledon, Ont.

Mowlem's strategy: "Think of yourself as one of 15 team members with a view to getting the car to the finish. Think about every gear shift. Every time you stamp on the throttle, think about the drive shaft. Every time you hit a curb, think about the CV joints or the wheel bearings. You'll find a rhythm where you can still lap really quickly, but you'll be so easy on the car. That is the rhythm you need to find if you're going to be an endurance racer."

night lights

The No. 17 SAMAX Porsche will dazzle after dark, with a new glow-in-the-dark paint scheme and futuristic graphics influenced by pop culture artist Kenny Scharf. SAMAX owner Peter Baron noted, "For those who know me, it definitely matches my personality. I guarantee there won't be another car like this ever!"

-samax-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Peter Baron , Johnny Mowlem , Dave Lacey , Brent Martini , David Shep , Greg Wilkins , Bryan Sellers , Mark Wilkins