As hard as they tried, when the checkered flag fell on the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Roxlex 24 at Daytona, Guy Cosmo and Orbit Racing's No. 88 GT3 Porsche came up a few hours short. Teamed up with drivers John Baker, Johnny Mowlem, Tom Papadopoulos and Lance Willsey, Cosmo could only look back with disappointment as the team loaded up the charred remounts of the No. 88 Porsche.
"It was really fun while it lasted," exclaimed Guy. "Orbit did a great job and the car felt fantastic!"
The team had gotten off to a great start with co-driver Johnny Mowlem advancing the car to 3rd place while driving in the wet.
"Yeah, the race started well," said Cosmo. "The race started out in wet conditions, but Johnny did a great job and got us up to 3rd. Unfortunately we suffered a right rear tire blowout - no damage, but with the time we lost in pits we fell to the back of the pack."
Tom Papadopoulos took the second stint but he would climb out early as the car developed an electronic issue.
"Tom had a really solid stint going," noted Guy. "It ended short though when an O2 sensor went bad. So Tom pitted early for quick fix and then I got in. I got us back up to 12th or so during my stint."
Car owner Lance Willsey took to the wheel after Guy for a double stint as well, suffering mild damage to the rear wing after a small spin. When Johnny Mowlem's turn came back around, tire problems once again reared their ugly head.
"This is one of the crazy things about endurance racing," said Guy. "Johnny got back in and began having more tire trouble. Locating the problem resulted in 3 trips to the pit box. Ultimately it was discovered we had a punctured tire."
The team's strategy of having the drivers do double stints was displaying a positive effect. Tom Papadopoulos climbed back in after Johnny and all was ok. Tom had an excellent stint and turned the car over to Cosmo for the long lonely night shift.
With Cosmo running late into the night, he was eventually forced to pit for a fix to the rear tail lights which weren't working & a brake change. His final stint ended at about 5:30am.
"My final stint was simply the best," said Cosmo, grinning. "There really is nothing like doing the double-graveyard shift at Daytona - some of the most peaceful and rhythmic driving a racer can do - especially in a really well prepped car... I loved it!"
Cosmo's late night afterglow would be nothing but a memory by sunrise. While back at his hotel for a few hours of down time, Cosmo was awoken with a phone call and the news that John Baker had just gotten in the car and radioed in that he thought he smelled smoke. He came around to the start finish line once before the car caught fire.
Baker was able to scramble to safety, but the No. 88 Orbit Racing GT3 Porsche was out of the race.
"Bummer!" was the only description Cosmo could muster. "Like I said, the car really was fantastic. The guys from Orbit busted their behinds and really did a great job. But, hey-- that's racing. I'd like to thank Orbit Racing and all the drivers for the opportunity to drive with them. We certainly had fun while it lasted. We'll just move on to the next one."
The next race for the GRAND-AM Rolex Series will be the Grand Prix of Miami on March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
-source: guy cosmo PR