Henri Zogaib targets success in return to Rolex 24 At Daytona
SAMAX signs Zogaib, McNish, Luhr, and Rockenfeller for Rolex assault
Daytona Beach, FL (2 January 2008)- Henri Zogaib accomplished a long-held dream as he crossed the finish line in his Daytona Prototype to complete the 45th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona after a grueling twice-around-the-clock test of man and machine last January. While merely finishing the brutal race is considered a tremendous accomplishment to those who understand the mammoth effort that a race like the 24 requires, Zogaib knows he's already checked that box off his list, and has his sights set considerably higher for the 2008 running of the esteemed event.
"I just want to win this thing," said Zogaib.
And the Orlando-based businessman clearly has that goal firmly in mind, as he has signed with SAMAX Motorsport for the 46th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona this January 25-26.
SAMAX is making an all-out effort to secure success in one of motorsports greatest challenges after taking a close second place in the 2007 event. Aiming to go one better in 2008, the team has secured a tremendous driver line up with Zogaib being joined in his car by former Formula 1 racer Allan McNish and sports car stand outs Mike Rockenfeller and Lucas Luhr as co-pilots in Zogaib's Pontiac-powered Riley for the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season-opener.
"I feel like I am part of a dream team with Allan, Mike, and Lucas joining this effort," said Zogaib. "Peter (Baron-SAMAX team owner) has assembled a fantastic group of talent on both sides of the pit wall to support this car and I am very excited to have drivers of this caliber join me in this effort. We have a proven technical package in the Pontiac-Riley, great drivers, and a strong team behind us so we know we have the opportunity to do really well."
Mike Rockenfeller is no stranger to Grand Am fans, taking fifth in the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series Driver Championship in 2006 after starting the season co-driving with Luhr to the podium in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. And despite his youth, Lucas Luhr also has a long history in the Rolex 24, reaching back to a victorious GT class run in the event in 2001.
McNish, who enters the 2008 season as the defending American LeMans Series Champion, is no also stranger to the high banks at Daytona, having driven to victory in the race once already in his esteemed career. The 2008 event will mark his second Rolex appearance in Daytona Prototypes, as the Scotsman shared an entry with Rusty Wallace, Danica Patrick, and Jan Lammers in 2006.
"I am pleased to join SAMAX Motorsport for the Daytona 24 Hours, the team have proved their worth in Grand Am and especially at the 24 with a great 2nd overall last year," said McNish. "This year we have a strong driver line up with my Audi team mates Lucas, Mike and myself joining Henry, the Riley Pontiac combination and strong technical staff, we all hope to be challenging for victory."
"Personally, I have always enjoyed this race, I have had some great runs there and finished 2nd overall on two occasions (won GT1 class in 1998)," continued McNish. "It is a great warm up to the season and most teams have a strong car and driver line ups, but most importantly, it has a Rolex Daytona watch at the end for the winner!"
Steering the effort will be SAMAX Motorsport team owner Peter Baron, who has a wide range of experience in the sport from the drivers seat to the pit box.
"I am sill amazed we have this line up of drivers for the 24," said Baron "We led a sizeable amount of last year's race and were happy to finish 2nd without any mechanical issues. This year we are doing everything possible to finish one position higher and get these drivers the Overall Victory Rolex Daytona watches they all deserve!"
Despite only running a limited schedule in his Daytona Prototype last year, Zogaib closed out the 2007 Rolex season with a strong seventh place at Miller Motorsports Park. The Orlando resident got his first taste of the Series' new specification Pirelli tire in testing recently, and is excited about testing this week at Daytona International Speedway.
"The new tire is quite good and suits my driving style well," said Zogaib. "I'm looking forward to getting to work this weekend and developing a chemistry with the team and these drivers here at the test. I know we will be ready to go come race time. This is the biggest motorsports effort of my career and I am tremendously excited about it."
Zogaib has plans in place to utilize the Rolex 24 effort to highlight a charity that is close to his heart, and is looking forward to making those announcements in the coming weeks.
The Daytona Test Days will kick off on Friday, January 4th and continue through Sunday, January 6th.