Daytona 24: Tafel Racing preview

TAFEL RACING WORKS FOR PODIUM FINISH AT DAYTONA Tafel Racing is ready to put what they have learned in the off season to the test in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve season-opening Rolex 24 at ...

TAFEL RACING WORKS FOR PODIUM FINISH AT DAYTONA

Tafel Racing is ready to put what they have learned in the off season to the test in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, one of the toughest challenges any race team can set itself up for. After finishing second in the 2006 championship, Tafel is fielding a three-car effort in GT again this year with a driver lineup that includes a great depth of experience and skill. All of the drivers have previously competed at this legendary event with many enjoying podium finishes and victories there.

Wolf Henzler of Germany, who qualified on the pole at Daytona last year, will be behind the wheel of the 74 Rembrandt Charms Porsche GT3 Cup along with Eric Lux of Buffalo, NY; team owner Jim Tafel of Alpharetta, GA; and Tafel newcomer Dominick Farnbacher of Germany, who won the race in class in 2005.

Tafel has learned to balance the dual responsibilities of being both owner and driver, especially on race day. Once the green flag drops, he concentrates entirely on his responsibilities as a driver. "I have no choice but to focus on race day. I have too much invested with my team and sponsors not to."

The driver lineup on the 72 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup will feature Scotsman Robin Liddell of England, class winner in 2004; Andrew Davis, of Bogart, GA; Nathan Swartzbaugh of La Habra Heights, CA, and Dirk Müller of Monaco. Davis qualified second at Daytona last year, just a tenth of a second behind Henzler.

Lars Eric Nielsen of Denmark will drive the 73 Red Bull/One and Only Resorts Porsche GT3 Cup along side Brent Martini of Laguna Beach, CA; and Austrians Dieter Quester and Philipp Peter.

QUOTES

Wolf Henzler on his 2005 victory at Daytona:
"You don't need the fastest car in the field. What you need is a reliable car turning consistent lap times. Also the crew plays a more important role than in a normal race. We have a lot more pit stops where something could go wrong. I think a 24 h race is harder on the crew than the drivers. The team has to do a lot more homework. At the end the whole team wins the race not the drivers."

Dominik Farnbacher on his 2005 victory at Daytona:
"To win such a great race was hard work, not only the drivers had to be on the edge, the effort came from all kind of things, such as teamwork, car performance, and having no mistakes. But also a big factor of success is luck. In 2005 everything came together and made us celebrate. This year Wolf and I will try to repeat our success and share it with Eric, Jim and the team. Tafel is the best team out there, why shouldn't we repeat that? "

Andrew Davis on learning to rest at the race:
"The first year that I competed in the 24 hours of Daytona I didn't sleep a wink. However, proper rest between stints is the key to performing throughout the grueling event. Once my stint is over, I get back to the coach as quickly as possible for a shower and change of clothes. Then I lie down and force myself to get some rest. It is easy to chat with others or watch the race coverage on TV, but you have to get in a quite place and replenish your energy."

Andrew Davis on the challenges of Daytona International Speedway:
"This track demands disipline in the the infield. The horseshoe corners are very slow, and many drivers have the tendency to rush into the corners too fast. The key is carrying reasonable speed into the corner with a mindset of maximizing the exit speed out of the corner. That being said, the Bus Stop chicane and the kink in the middle of the infield are very fast and take a tremendous amount of commitment each and every lap. Keeping speeds high in these sections requires the car to be driven to the ultimate limit. This balance of disipline and speed makes Daytona International Speedway a very challenging track."

Eric Lux on endurance racing at Daytona:
"Preparing for the 24-hour race is different. The 24 hour race requires discipline, team work and respect. Respect for your co-drivers, your crew, as well as your competitors. Sure, that's true of any race, but in a race this long, everything and everyone is challenged to the max. For example, when we do our driver changes, we're obviously trying to get the car back out as fast as possible, but we're also thinking about bringing it back in the best possible condition for the next co- driver. Whether you're a driver or crew, everything you do impacts someone on the team, and the team as a whole."

Robin Liddell on 2004 victory:
"I know it is a cliche but it really is a question of staying out of trouble and staying out of the pits. The only time I have won a 24 hour race was at Daytona in 2004 and it is the only 24 hour race where I have had no problems whatsoever. We simply ran and ran with no mechanical issues, no incidents or problems in the pits. For the last two years we have had problems in the pits, as well as incidents and I know that with the excellent crew we now have and the experience we have built up over the past season and a half we are really well placed to get the result which the team deserves.

Philipp Peter on the positive side of a grueling race:
"More than fun it's the challenge of finishing the race, trying to get on the podium, and have done a great driver performance."

Dieter Quester on Daytona and the race:
"I have appeared on the podium twice at Daytona. It's one of my favorite tracks. I love it and I hate it. It's a very difficult, high speed race that requires full concentration all of the time. But it's fun too or I wouldn't continue to do it."

-credit: tafel

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Series GRANDAM