Daytona24: Porsche Motorsport preview

15 Porsche-Powered Race Cars to Contest Daytona Prototype, GT Class Glory at 49th Rolex 24 at Daytona; 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Racer Makes World Debut

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- January 26 -- Porsche-powered race cars, all-time leaders in the history of the Rolex 24 at Daytona with 22 overall wins and 72 class victories, will again occupy a significant percentage of the field for this weekend's event, January 29 -- 30, at Daytona International Speedway.

The opening event for the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season currently has 49 entries, and 15 of them are Daytona Prototype and Rolex GT class Porsches, including 14 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racers.

"This is the largest gathering of Porsche driving champions in the world, and we are proud that our customers have chosen to field top-of-the-line Porsche race cars to compete in the Rolex 24. Our entries include seven factory drivers, 15 drivers who have won here in the past, four Porsche Mobil1 Supercup season champions, five Le Mans 24 winners, plus seven drivers who have won either Grand-Am or ALMS season championships. Add to that the expert preparation from our customer teams and the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, the most produced race car by a street car manufacturer, and it gives Porsche entries a good chance for success," said Jens Walther, president of Porsche Motorsports North America.

Leading the way in the Daytona Prototype class is the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Riley entry with Porsche factory drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA), with team owner Seth Neiman and Johannes van Overbeek (both USA) sharing the driving chores. Bergmeister has won the GT class three times, one of those an overall win in 2003 in a TRG Porsche 911 GT3 RS, while Long won with Joerg in 2009 in a TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Their Porsche-Riley, powered by the 500 hp Porsche 911 GT3 RSR-based six-cylinder engine, is the winning Daytona Prototype from the 2009 event.

The other five Porsche works drivers (in bold) have their sights set on victory in the traditionally fiercely-contested GT class with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: Marco Holzer (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) compete for Magnus Racing along with team owner John Potter and former Grand-Am Cup champion Craig Stanton; Patrick Pilet (France) races for the TRG/Black Swan Racing/GMC Racing squad with Jeroen Bleekemolen, Bret Curtis, team owner Tim Pappas, and James Sofronas; Wolf Henzler (Germany) will drive a TRG Racing team Porsche with Andy Lally, Spencer Pumpelly, Brenda Gaughan and Steve Bertheau; Marc Lieb (Germany) will share driving time with a legendary teammate for the mutiple Daytona-winning Brumos Racing team, which swaps from prototypes to the GT class this year as Hurley Haywood (USA). the most successful pilot at the Rolex 24 with five overall and six class wins, is on board with Leh Keen and Andrew Davis.

Other Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entries in the Rolex GT class include the TRG car for Ryan Eversley/Daniel Graeff/Ron Yarab,Jr./Richard Zahn and NASCAR star Kenny Wallace; the Burtin Racing entry of Claudio Burtin/Jack Baldwin/Nick Tandy/Martin Ragginger/Nicolas Armindo; Belgian-based Muehlner Motorsport car driven by Peter Ludwig/Mark Thomas/Dion von Moltke/Corey Friedman; Canadian-based Bullet Racing with Kevin Roush/Darryl O'Young/Brian Wong/James Walker; Rick Ware Racing with Jeffrey Earnhardt/Doug Harrington/Maurice Hull/Scott Monroe; Paul Miller Racing with Rob Bell/Bryce Miller/Bryan Sellers/Tim Sugden; TRG/Nadeau Motorsports with Jim Michaelian/Bob Doyle/Coulter Mulligan; TRG with Dominik Farnbacher/Tim George, Jr., Ben Keating and Lucas Luhr; Chris Smith Racing with Bill Sweedler, Shane Lewis, Mitch Pagery and Thomas Sheehan, and Mitchum Motorsports with Randy Pobst/Derek Whitis/Joey Atterbury/Cooper MacNeil.

The Porsche 911 is the most accomplished race car ever at the Rolex 24 with 38 combined class and overall wins, with Porsche having scored 22 overall wins at the January classic since its inception in 1962. Since the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup has been the Porsche standard-bearer in GT (2005), it is the most successful GT car, leading the Grand-Am competitors in championships, victories, pole positions and podium finishes.

-source: porsche motorsport

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis , Mark Thomas , Kenny Wallace , Randy Pobst , Lucas Luhr , Andy Lally , Jack Baldwin , Hurley Haywood , Rob Bell , Patrick Long , Claudio Burtin , Johannes van Overbeek , Spencer Pumpelly , Andrew Davis , Marc Lieb , Craig Stanton , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Tim Sugden , Seth Neiman , Bryan Sellers , James Sofronas , Ryan Eversley , James Walker , Chris Smith , Darryl O'Young , Wolf Henzler , Paul Miller , Lehman Keen , Peter Ludwig , Dominik Farnbacher , Kevin Roush , Patrick Pilet , Marco Holzer , Martin Ragginger , Richard Lietz , John Potter , Dion von Moltke , Derek Whitis , Jeffrey Earnhardt , Daniel Graeff , Nicolas Armindo , Bret Curtis , Bob Doyle , Richard Zahn , Joey Atterbury , Cooper MacNeil , Coulter Mulligan , Ben Keating , Maurice Hull , Scott Monroe , Ron Yarab
Teams Paul Miller Racing , Magnus Racing , Muehlner Motorsports America