Daytona 24: Synergy Racing preview

Porsche Pilots Elevate the Game for Synergy Racing DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (23 January 08)-- With team and driver championships stretching nearly back to when the organization first started campaigning the famous brand, there are few teams as ...

Porsche Pilots Elevate the Game for Synergy Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (23 January 08)-- With team and driver championships stretching nearly back to when the organization first started campaigning the famous brand, there are few teams as synonymous with Porsche than Synergy Racing. That legacy will continue this weekend as the Virginia-based squad prepares for the 2008 Rolex 24 at Daytona with two Porsche 911 GT3 Cup models entered for Rolex Sports Car Series GT class honors.

The No. 80 EMC Mechanical/Gamewell Mechanical/NETTS Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Mark Greenberg of Jamaica Plain, MA and Belgian Champ Car racer Jan Heylen, will see Porsche pilots Lance Arnold of Duisburg, Germany, and Irish racer Damien Faulker join in the driving duties.

Steve Johnson, of Bristol, VA will pilot the sister Synergy No. 81 entry, joined by another Champ Car standout, Robert Doornbos, of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and bolstered by Porsche specialist and Doornbos' countryman Patrick Huisman, with Austrian Richard Lietz completing the line up for this weekend's 46th running of the Rolex 24.

The presence of the Porsche factory drivers is a boon to the competitive chances for the team, which is looking to add to Porsche's already stunning record in the event, which has seen the brand take an amazing 62 class wins, with the 911 model credited for 37 of those victories alone. With the combination of a Porsche 911, a strong team, experienced racers, and Porsche pilots, the entire competitive effort gets a boost-and not just in lap times.

"It used to be, 'I'm braking at the one marker,' and that was it," said Mark Greenberg. "But now, everything is so much more exact in how we work with the car and how we make sure we are getting everything out of it. So now, it's 'I'm braking at the one marker, and the car has this many degrees of yaw at entry, and my hands are pointed exactly at this reference marker, and so on. It really translates into our lap times and so much more thorough. Having these guys in on the program is a real thrill, and they are great at breaking down every thing that this car does and we need to be doing to driving all the way to the limit of what these amazing cars can do."

While the top Daytona Prototype class has generated much of the attention in the run-up to the event, insiders know that that forty-two car GT class race will be a thriller from start to finish.

"I think it's fantastic to see this entry list," said Synergy Racing team principal Cole Scrogham. "Grand-Am said that this is what they saw to be the path forward for GT Class racing, and with this kind of entry list, clearly it has attracted a lot of interest. What is so exciting for me as a racer is that it's a lot of good cars, good drivers, and good teams that we are going to have to beat if we want the win. There is also a tremendous amount of variety with this depth, but we feel strongly that a race like this demands a Porsche if you want to win."

The Synergy effort also features two drivers who have plenty of experience in cars with the motors behind them-Formula One and Champ Car drivers Robert Doornbos, who nabbed Rookie of the Year honors in Champ Car, and Jan Heylen, who scored a podium in Champ Car's most recent run in Europe.

"Jan and Robert obviously didn't have the experience in the 911 as some of the other guys, but as we expected, they were really impressive with their pace in testing," said Scrogham. "They are smart guys as well, and as we've seen it takes speed and smarts in this race and we expect them to contribute on both those fronts."

-credit: sr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Patrick Huisman , Robert Doornbos , Mark Greenberg , Jan Heylen , Steve Johnson , Lance Arnold , Richard Lietz , Cole Scrogham