Daytona 24: Tafel Racing race report

It was an emotional roller coaster for Tafel Racing with the high being a 6th place GT finish by the 73 Red Bull car while the 72 and 74, cars, which had such promising starts were ultimately left disappointed. The 73 Red Bull/One and Only...

It was an emotional roller coaster for Tafel Racing with the high being a 6th place GT finish by the 73 Red Bull car while the 72 and 74, cars, which had such promising starts were ultimately left disappointed.

The 73 Red Bull/One and Only Resorts Porsche GT3 Cup started eighth and despite early contact with a DP car which resulted in subsequent body work damage that required additional pit stops, ended up finishing 6th. This was truly a team effort as all four drivers turned consistently strong lap times.

Brent Martini echoed the thoughts of his teammates when he said, "It's been a long 24 hours since our exhaust got hit in hour two as well as our left rear wheel. With all of the elements that were thrown at us, the guys in the pits did an amazing job of figuring out all of the right things to do and made all of the right choices. We were always on the right tires at the right time; we were in the pits at the right time. They were masterful."

Things did not work out as well with the 72 North-South Tafel Racing Porsche. Scotsman Robin Liddell qualified 13th and went on to drive a powerful first stint which had the car as high as 2nd at one point. Mechanical issues got in the way, however and the car went behind the wall near midnight with a gearbox problem which caused them to lose considerable track time. Although the car ran well after the repair was made, the drivers spent the remainder of the race fighting to make up the lost laps and the car finished 18th.

Robin Liddell:
"I'd like to hope we could chalk this one down as a dress rehearsal for further endurance races in the year. You could say we did a great job but were just unlucky but I prefer to look at it a bit more critically and think about where you could have been better, or done things differently."

The 74 Rembrandt Charms car had a very strong start as Wolf Henzler and Dominik Farnbacher maintained the class lead through both of their marathon stints. Late in the evening the car ran into mechanical problems when a shock absorber broke and caused subsequent suspension problems, which made it more difficult to improve position through the remainder of the race. Strong lap times and a spirted fight back were not enough in the time remaining and the car finished 20th in class.

Wolf Henzler remained upbeat and credited his teammates in his post-race comments. "We had a problem after about 7 hours which lost us one hour. That was difficult but we did not stop fighting and all the drivers, Dominik, Jim, Eric and me fought all the way. It was not an easy race with the rain and then drying track, which happened several times, but we all tried very hard and never gave up. The guys did a very good job on the pit stops and it was a shame about the problems we had during the race. Now we have to look forward to Mexico."

Technical Director Tony Dowe commented on the best result of the race, the strong finish of the 73 car. "I'm very happy for the 73 car and the guys who came over and raced in a very harsh environment and did so well. Also the way the team responded to the problems during the race was excellent."

Driver and team owner Jim Tafel saw the strength of his team in their ability to push through adversity and continue to be strong competitors.

"The support of everyone in this organization is amazing. When we had gearbox problems late at night, those guys all worked as if we had someone on life support we were trying to save. When the people around you from A to Z are all putting in that much effort, it just inspires you to do your best as well. You would be letting down too many people not to."

-credit: tafel racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Robin Liddell , Brent Martini , Wolf Henzler , Jim Tafel , Dominik Farnbacher