Daytona24: Farnbacher Loles Racing preview

Farnbacher Loles Racing is ready to race, with six Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars in this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team is an international mix of 25 drivers and 80 crew members from 17 countries on six continents -- Australia, British...

Farnbacher Loles Racing is ready to race, with six Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars in this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team is an international mix of 25 drivers and 80 crew members from 17 countries on six continents -- Australia, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Denmark, Dominican Republic, England, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, Trinidad/Tobago and the United States.

The team's drivers shared their thoughts about the 24-hour endurance classic, set for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24 and 25, on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway infield road course in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Richard Campollo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

"Esto va ser una locura!"

Dominik Farnbacher, Ansbach, Germany

"It is nice to come back for the 24h race this year again, after competing since 2004. In 2005, I won the race and I want to have another victory this year. We had a great test in early January and it showed that our team and the new Porsche are well-prepared for the long race. So my goal is to drive consistently fast lap times and make no mistakes throughout the race, and that will bring us a good result at the end. My teammates are also very strong and it will be pleasure to drive with them and compare our cars to all the great makes and drivers out there."

Michael Gomez, Madison, Ala.

"The Rolex 24 At Daytona continues to be one of the most exhilarating and challenging experiences of my life. The only personal comparison I can make is the combined mental exhaustion of being up all night on call as a doctor, the physical exhaustion of running a marathon and the adrenaline rush of sky diving. And I wouldn't have it any other way..."

Daniel Graeff, Miami

"Since I was a boy, I've dreamed of this place, these cars and this race. For some, it's conquering Everest or the Tour de France, but for a racer this is the pinnacle. A hallowed place that has tested individual and machine and sought out greatness. I am awed, honored and blessed to be here where giants have walked. There is nothing, nothing more challenging to the core than running this race, with and against these great drivers and these great teams."

Wolf Henzler, Nurtingen, Germany

"It's my fifth time going to Daytona for the 24h and it is still something special. This 24h is very famous around the world, not only because of its tradition. I always enjoy driving there because there are so many other competitors and the combination of the banking and corners makes Daytona such an interesting race track. There are not many tracks where you can reach such a top speed at the end of the straight. It is also one of the tracks where you can really get a good benefit from the slipstream of another car. During the night, the track is lighted very well, which is quite good for safety reasons, especially when you are in a GT car and a couple of DP cars are coming to pass you. I am looking forward to the race and hope I will finish on the podium."

Steve Johnson, Bristol, Va.

"I love racing at Daytona! Aside from the history and tradition, it is one of my favorite tracks for several reasons. First, it's fast. Second, in the three areas that it is imperative to be quick (turn 1, the Kink and the Bus Stop), my body weight works to my advantage. Lastly, watching the sun come up with a car still on the lead lap is one of the greatest accomplishments in all of sports."

Pierre Kaffer, Andernach, Germany

"I'm really looking forward to Daytona and I'm happy to be again a part of the great Farnbacher Loles team. Last year was my first year, so I had a lot to learn in Daytona. This year, with my experience, I can be a lot better right from the beginning. Of course, we need a little bit of luck in Daytona, but I think we are a strong team. I know that Farnbacher Loles does a professional job all the time and I feel like I'm in a family. I'm really looking forward to joining this family again. Hopefully, this year there will not be any rain and the sun will be shining, so the fans will have more fun."

Dave Lacey, Toronto, Ont.

"I was very pleased with our performance at the [advance] test. With consistently quick times among this team of experienced, but non-pro drivers, I really like our chances in the 24 Hour. Our chief objective is to keep the car clean and stay out of trouble. I'm also excited as this is my daughter's first 24-hour race. As a six-month old, I'm not sure she'll remember much, but it's great to get her inaugurated to Daytona early!"

Jim Lowe, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

"The Rolex 24 at Daytona is IT -- the big one we wait for and plan for all year. And when it starts, it never fails to amaze. It just keeps going on and on, building in intensity, until the checker Sunday afternoon. This is my fourth time at the 24 and each time I'm surprised at the dedication, hard work and focus required just to finish, let alone win. Hopefully, all that will come together for the JLowe Racing team to make it to the front."

Eric Lux, Jacksonville, Fla.

"This will be my fifth Rolex 24 hours of Daytona and my second with Farnbacher Loles Racing. [Team owner] Greg Loles has given us a great Porsche for this race including a strong driver line-up. I have been training hard for this race and hopefully the fifth one will be the charm! I can't say enough about the team and how much I'm looking forward to this race. I truly hope I will be able to find sponsorship to be able to compete in the rest of the Grand-Am season!"

Matthew Marsh, Hong Kong

"Back home in Hong Kong, people are impressed when they hear I'm competing in the Rolex 24 hours. Like Le Mans or Monaco, the word Daytona has gravitas even outside the motorsport world. Daytona scores extra points by its unique attributes: a round-the-clock race in winter time, the widest variety of drivers, the closeness of the racing, the chance to win a Rolex and, of course, the banking of the Speedway. All of these are wow factors. Obviously, it's an honor to race at Daytona; more importantly, it's a pleasure."

Jim Pace, Ridgeland, Miss.

"The Rolex 24 At Daytona is magical! I've been coming here since 1990 and it is still magical. The teams, cars and unbridled enthusiasm of the drivers never grows old around the Rolex. To win here is big, VERY BIG. No matter where you race after this, to have a Rolex win is a real treasure. This January, the starting grid will be filled with those seeking that same treasured prize, a Rolex Daytona!"

Giacomo Petrobelli, Padona, Italty

"Arriving for the first time last year I immediately understood why this track and the 24 hours attracts so many top drivers -- the uniqueness of the track with the combination of the very high-speed banking and the slow infield makes this a really fascinating track to drive, and tricky to get a good setup for! After being fast but not finishing the race last year, I look forward to improving on that performance. Finishing the race is, of course, the first target, and with a bit of luck we might even get a good result..."

Kevin Roush, Upland, Calif.

"To get another real chance at winning the Rolex 24 is a dream come true. I have to give a big thank you to Wheel Enhancement and Farnbacher Loles for giving me such a great opportunity that all we drivers have to focus on is taking care of the car. I came here once as a spectator in 1996 and could barely take sitting and watching those cars racing throughout the night. Each time I hit the banking in turn six, I think back to those days and how stoked I am to be here."

Allan Simonsen, Melbourne, Australia

"The Daytona Rolex 24 Hours has always been one of the greatest races in my eyes. Coming over from Australia, you get to race against the big NASCAR names. I hope '09 is our turn to win the watch."

James Sofronas, Newport Beach, Calif.

"I have been waiting for many years for the opportunity to drive in the famous Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and this finally came together with Farnbacher Loles and GMG. Greg [Loles] and I -- fellow Greeks -- have known each other for five years and have looked for opportunities to work together with our respective race teams. I and GMG focus more on sprint racing, where Farnbacher Loles has an exceptional record in endurance racing, so there is no better team to drive for. This also gives me an opportunity to get a firsthand look into the team and how they operate, from endurance prep to strategy, so we may be able to expand our relationship for future racing opportunities. There is no question they know how to win. I can't wait to get into the No. 88 Porsche on January 24th for my first Rolex 24 start."

Tim Sugden, Leeds, England

"As we all know, the first race of the Grand-Am championship is always the biggest! Unlike other sports, the jewel in the crown kicks off the season. Our red No. 64 Porsche is entered by JLowe Racing in conjunction with the superb Farnbacher Loles team. For me as a Brit, this race is one of the most famous and charismatic events in the world and just to be at Daytona in January makes the hairs stand up on your neck. To actually do the race with such an awesome team and amazing teammates is all a driver can ask. As a race, there are so many elements but the sensation of three wide, on the banking, in the rain, at night, and at 180MPH!! has to be one of the most amazing feelings a GT driver can have. I am so lucky to have been welcomed into this team. The atmosphere is great and we are all working towards one goal... a new Rolex Daytona watch. Now how cool would that be!?"

Johannes van Overbeek, Oakland, Calif.

"The Rolex 24 At Daytona is arguably the most famous endurance race in the United States, if not the world. The Rolex 24 is bigger than any driver or team. I continue to be awed by this event and I will be even more awed if we are lucky enough to be presented with a new Rolex on Sunday afternoon!"

Dirk Werner, Kissenbruck, Germany

"This year's Daytona 24 will be my fourth in a row and I am really excited about it. This race is special because it is the first and the longest race at the same time on a track that has a very special atmosphere. The winter break gave me some time to relax, but now the focus has to come back to racing. The race is physically demanding and you have to be very concentrated to avoid mistakes, which is the most important thing if you want to win this race. The conditions for the 87 car that I will drive are perfect. My teammates are some of the best Porsche drivers in the world and the car is prepared by a highly professional and successful team. I will do my best to help the team and my teammates to win this race."

Ron Yarab, Poland, Ohio

"Winning the 24 hours of Daytona is like climbing Everest, except there are 50 other guys out there ready to push you off the next ledge you come to."

-credit: flr

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Series GRANDAM