Daytona II: Tafel Racing race report

TAFEL SCORES TWO PODIUM FINISHES AT BRUMOS PORSCHE 250 DAYTONA, Fla. - There was good news and bad news for Tafel Racing at the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by...

TAFEL SCORES TWO PODIUM FINISHES AT BRUMOS PORSCHE 250

DAYTONA, Fla. - There was good news and bad news for Tafel Racing at the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. The good news was that the team started three cars and they finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The 74 Rembrandt Charms Porsche finished 3rd, and the 73 NEC Porsche came in 4th, only 10 seconds behind. With the 72 NEC Porsche however, it came down to a problem shared with even family cars lately-fuel economy. Fuel consumption was way off which made a late-race pit stop necessary and dropped the 72 back to second place with no time to recover before the end of the race.

The 72 NEC Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup started second, since there was no qualifying session and cars went to the grid based team points, but as soon as turn 1, Robin Liddell had passed the 65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R to take the lead. Wolf Henzler took over in lap 28 and was forced off course briefly to avoid a car which had spun ahead of him, damaging the nose of the car. It was decided that the car would stay out despite this damage since it was once again in the lead. As the end of the race drew closer, it became clear that fuel consumption was unexpectedly high enough that they wouldn't be able to finish the race without a quick splash. At the time of the pit stop, Henzler had a 45-second lead on the 65 Pontiac, but couldn't retake the lead by the time the checkered flag waved only three laps later. The whole team was frustrated by finishing second in a car that had been quickest in the only full practice session and performed so well throughout the race.The team technical director Tony Dowe said "We looked good on fuel after the practice session, so we will have to see what we can find when we return to the workshop."

When the champagne was being sprayed, there were drivers from two of Tafel Racing's cars on the podium. In addition to the second-place finish of the 72, there was the 74 Rembrandt Charms Porsche GT3 Cup driven by Eric Lux and Ian James finishing 3rd, their first podium finish of the season. Lux started the car in sixth position and stopped only once for fuel and the required driver change. James is driving only his second race with Tafel Racing and has already earned the respect of his teammate. "Ian's lap times had been a little quicker than mine and that pushed me to turn the car over to him in good position so we had the best opportunity for a good finish. I've learned a lot from Ian and the other drivers I work with. The whole Tafel package has given me the resources to improve to the point that Ian and I are here tonight on the podium. My personal goal this year in Rolex was to finish in the top 5 in points and have at least 1 podium finish," said Lux on Thursday.

Team owner Jim Tafel shared Liddell and Henzler's disappointment with their fuel management problems, but was thrilled that he and co-driver Andrew Davis scored their highest finish of the season, coming in 4th in the 73 NEC Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup. "At one point, our cars were running first, second, third, and that would have been the perfect result, but it was still great to see four of our drivers up on the podium at the end of the night." He also attributes tonight's result to what he has learned from his teammates and his personal improvement as a driver. "Back at Daytona I was having a great time and did the best I could at that point, but since then I've learned a lot from Andrew and the other drivers and just improved my focus and thought processes so much. Tonight I was able to find a way to overtake several cars at a time as I came up to them." Davis started in 9th position and had the car's quickest lap at 1:56.517.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Robin Liddell , Ian James , Andrew Davis , Wolf Henzler , Jim Tafel , Eric Lux