Daytona, Fla., - After the first four hours (one fifth distance) of the 45th Rolex 24 at Daytona and with the light rapidly failing, the ...
Daytona, Fla., - After the first four hours (one fifth distance) of the 45th Rolex 24 at Daytona and with the light rapidly failing, the #18 XM Satellite Radio VICI Racing Porsche-Fabcar is in a very solid 24th place overall. After stints by Terry Borcheller, Uwe Alzen (double stint) and Gaston Mazzacane, the Miami based racing team are now bedding in for the very long night and tough which lies ahead of them.
Today had in fact started this morning with final preparations being made to the car, and then the traditional driver autograph session, and pushing the car down to the grid. The Daytona weather was very warm and sunny, although the forecasters are predicting the possibility of rain overnight, and all morning the enthusiastic fans thronged to the circuit.
"It's a perfect day for racing, we will start the race as quick as we can, and try to make the finish without any mistakes," said Gaston Mazzacane this morning as he looked forward to the race. He seemed to be greatly enjoying the day. "As everybody knows, during the race speed is not the most important thing, so we will have to run the whole race without any mistakes and then see where we are. I'm really enjoying being at Daytona, it's full of people, its something else here, a very special atmosphere, it is also my first 24 hour race.
"I feel very good," continues the Argentinean former F1 driver, "I think we will do a really good job, we're relaxed, but no mistakes, drive safely, it's very, very long, but I have confidence in the team, with the other drivers, my team mates, so everything is good. This event is incredible because there are so many people; its perfect for the drivers, the fans, with the autograph sessions, with the photographers, it's very good. The weather is really good too, it's not too hot, and it's not to cold, just ideal for racing. We are in it to make the 24 hours in this conditions as it's really nice for the fans and of course the drivers."
The team's Technical Director & Chief Engineer Roland Wall handed the team's US driver Terry Borcheller the job of undertaking the opening stint. "There's going to be a lot of energy around at the start," he says over an early lunch, "it's difficult not to feed off the back of that, but we need to stay very focused, it's a long race and we need to be around at the end. I have thought about the start a lot, and we are further down the grid than expected, and the further back the more chance for problems. However I'm anticipating that the car will be better in the race, and we have been encouraged by the times Uwe set in night practice, so we need to make a good start."
Terry makes a solid start, running the first stint without any dramas and handing the #18 car over to Uwe Alzen, after 32 laps and just over an hour's racing. With fresh tyres and the fuel topped up Alzen returns to the track. He runs a double stint as Roland brings him in after 30 laps to make some camber adjustments to the right hand rear wheel, sending him out to complete another 20 before handing over to Gaston, who takes the car to the four hour mark, reached in 24th position.
Roland is very happy with the situation at one-fifth distance, "the car is looking good, its running well, all the temperatures are fine and data seems good," he says, "this is a long race so I want the drivers to be careful, not to get into any dangerous actions, I don't want the car stretched or bent. Gaston, with his hot blooded Latin temperament, I have told to keep it very steady, lap consistently. No risks."
For Gaston this is his first 24 hour race and he's pretty impressed at the end of his stint, which marks the four hour point. "There's lots of traffic, too much of it," he comments, "it's amazing out there - just incredible driving in this race. I had a little bit of understeer but the car is safe and comfortable; we're looking good for the rest of the race." Terry returns to the cockpit for the next stint.
Rain is predicted tonight and the team has a strategy in place. Terry, who has raced in the Rolex 24 many times and won the legendary event say that "racing in the rain transforms the track. Depending on the temperatures - how cold it will be - it could be interesting; the banking is very fast and treacherous in the wet. "In 2001 I drove virtually the whole race in the rain, it's very tricky and for the guys who have not been here before I just say 'welcome to Daytona.'"
The #18 XM Satellite Radio VICI Racing Porsche-Fabcar is being driven by Terry Borcheller, Uwe Alzen, Nicky Pastorelli, Gaston Mazzacane and Robert Renauer in the 45th Rolex 24 at Daytona.
-credit: vici racing