DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (December 18, 2002) -- Orbit Racing announced last week that NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kyle Petty will join the team for the third-straight year at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Feb. 1-2. Petty will partner with Leo Hindery, Peter Baron and Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb in the #43 Porsche GT3 R.
Petty helped pilot Orbit's #43 Porsche to a fourth-place GT finish at the 2001 Rolex 24 At Daytona. However, the car was knocked out of the 2002 twice-around-the-clock event after an incident in the 19th hour, resulting in a seventh-place finish in class.
Petty also teamed with John Andretti in one of the team's Porsches at the 2001 Bully Hill Vineyards 250 at Watkins Glen, where the NASCAR duo captured the GT victory.
"Obviously this is a team capable of winning the 24 hours. They showed what they could do, at least as far as I was concerned, back at Watkins Glen when we won there in their Porsche two years ago," said Petty. "Leo Hindery and those guys have a top car, and if our luck had been a little bit better at Daytona the past couple of years, well, we might have been right up there at the front when everything was said and done."
In hopes of improving the team's luck in 2003, a Porsche factory driver has been added to the #43 Porsche's driver lineup. Lieb, of Stuttgart, Germany, captured the 2002 Porsche Carrera Cup series championship in Europe with four wins and three poles. He also scored two wins this season in FIA GT Championship races.
Hindery, of New York, N.Y., and Baron, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will partner with Petty for the third-straight year at the Rolex 24. The two recently finished in fifth and sixth place, respectively, in the Porsche Cup Award standings, recognizing the top privateer Porsche drivers around the world.
Hindery is the Chairman and CEO of The YES Network, a premier sports and entertainment network formed initially around the New York Yankees. He has been International Cable Executive of the Year and was named by Business Week as one of the "Top 25 Executives of the Year."
"Leo has really blossomed as a driver this year," remarked Orbit Racing team owner Rodger Hawley. "It's really amazing to look at how much his lap times have improved from the beginning of the season at the Rolex 24 to the Finale in Daytona."
Orbit Racing will also field the #44 and #45 Porsches at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The #44 machine will be piloted by the father-son duo of Joe Policastro and Jay Policastro. The pair is currently seeking two co-drivers to round out the Porsche's driver lineup. The #45 Porsche is expected to be raced by a group of European drivers to be announced at a later date.
Petty and other Orbit Racing drivers will be on hand for Pre-season Testing at Daytona International Speedway, Jan. 3-5. First round qualifying for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona will be held on Thursday, Jan. 30, with the classic race beginning on Saturday, Feb. 1 and ending on Sunday, Feb. 2.
Tickets are currently on sale for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona and may be purchased by calling the Speedway ticket office at 386-253-RACE. Additional information about the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.