The Labonte Brothers, Bobbi and Gollin Are Ready to Race at Daytona Thursday Night LEBANON, Ohio, June 24 - Doran Racing and Doran Labonte Racing will field four champions in two different DORAN JE4 Daytona Prototypes in the Brumos Porsche 250...
The Labonte Brothers, Bobbi and Gollin Are Ready to Race at Daytona Thursday Night
LEBANON, Ohio, June 24 - Doran Racing and Doran Labonte Racing will field four champions in two different DORAN JE4 Daytona Prototypes in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. on Thursday night, June 30.
The cars are two of 25 Daytona Prototypes and 29 GT cars entered in the 250-mile race, traditionally called the Paul Revere 250. It will be broadcast live on SPEED beginning at 8 p.m. ET that night.
The four champions come from two very different worlds. Matteo Bobbi and Fabrizio Gollin, champions of Europe's FIA World GT Series for the last two years, will be behind the wheel of Doran Racing's Crown Royal Special Reserve Lexus No. 77, the car they're driving for all 14 races on the Rolex schedule this year.
Brothers Bobby and Terry Labonte, both former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup titlists, will share the Doran Labonte Racing Loctite-sponsored Pontiac No. 44 as they did at the Rolex 24 earlier this year. They're doing selected races as their stock car schedules permit.
All four drivers, the entire team and all their rivals will be faced with an added challenge at this event, which is a companion race to the Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event on Saturday night, July 2. Due to the packed racing card for the holiday weekend the Rolex series' action for this particular event has been condensed into two days, making practice time even more precious than usual.
For this race the Daytona Prototype competitors have only two hours and 15 minutes of practice Thursday before they qualify that afternoon and race that night.
Both classes are on the track from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Thursday, and then the DP cars have the track to themselves from 10:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. One more practice for both groups is slated for 11:45 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
The 15-minute DP qualifying session is slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. Then, after NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch series practice, the 250-mile, 70-lap Rolex series race will get the green flag. It carries a two-hour-and-45-minute time limit.
Another thing that will be different is that the infield road course was repaved in late May/early June, which should mean better overall grip for the Daytona Prototypes and their Hoosier tires and even faster speeds.
Although series rookies Bobbi and Gollin are seeing most of the tracks for the first time this season and they have both qualified as high as second elsewhere, Daytona's 3.56-mile road course is the track where they posted their best finish to date. Along with co-driver Didier Theys, they ran in second or third for almost the entire last third of this year's Rolex 24 before finishing fifth.
The Labonte brothers also did very well at this year's Rolex 24. Driving with co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Bryan Herta, their DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 44 ran as high as second various times in that race before it finished ninth.
Although Terry Labonte has been in eight Rolex 24s and was a GTO class winner in the race in 1984, his brother made his first start in that particular race this year. Both brothers said they enjoyed it very much, and are looking forward to competing in the car at Daytona again next week.
"I had a blast in the Rolex 24 race at Daytona and I'm looking forward to the Brumos Porsche 250," Bobby Labonte said. "I guess this race is a little shorter than the one in February - it's definitely more of a sprint race. The Rolex cars are so much fun to drive, and I had the chance to drive my No. 44 Doran Pontiac before the Talladega NEXTEL Cup race, which was pretty neat. I learned a lot about the cars and the Daytona road course during the Rolex 24, and hopefully I'll be able to learn more next week. I'm looking forward to it."
"I'm excited about driving the car again," added Terry Labonte. "We finished ninth in the 24 Hours of Daytona, and I think we can improve on that with another solid run. Bobby and I will be teaming up for the second straight week, so I'm of course looking forward to that too."
For more information, please see doranracing.com, crownroyal.com and loctite.com. Matteobobbi.com has information on that driver, who incidentally turns 27 on the same day that the Pepsi 400 is held. Gollin's Web site is at fabriziogollin.com. Bobby Labonte's Web site is at bobbylabonte.com, and information on Terry Labonte can be found at hendrickmotorsport.com.
Other interesting information can be found at grandamerican.com, daytonainternationalspeedway.com, speedtv.com and restartcommunications.com.