Wright Motorsports will come to Daytona International Speedway well prepared, with two Porsche works stars leading the driving strength. The Ohio-based team announced Wednesday that Sascha Maassen and Patrick Pilet will join BJ Zacharias and car owner/driver Phillip Martien behind the wheel of its Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
The twice-around-the-clock road-racing marathon known as the Rolex 24 at Daytona often brings out the best names in motorsports, and Masseen and Pilet are no exception.
Maassen, a two-time GT winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, spent last season with Penske Racing's Porsche RS Spyder program in the American Le Mans Series. The 39-year-old German returns to Daytona in search of his elusive first victory on the high banks.
"For a 24-hour race, I always hope to have no problems with the car and not to be involved in any incidents," Maassen said. "If this is the case I am sure we will be somewhere in the front at the end."
Pilet, meanwhile, completed his rookie season in the ALMS with Flying Lizard Motorsports, placing third in the GT2 category. The 2007 Porsche Carerra Cup France champion made his American racing debut at Daytona last season, driving an Alegra Motorsports Porsche.
"Our first challenge is to have everyone well prepared and ready for this very tough race," Pilet said. "We will have to work hard on the set-up during the January test, but I'm convinced that we'll able to fight for the victory."
While both Porsche works stars combine for countless laps of experience at Daytona, their co-driver Martien will be making his Rolex 24 debut. An owner of a construction firm, Martien has worked with Wright Motorsports and Zacharias for the last two years in preparation for this challenge.
"The adrenaline is already pumping," Martien said. "I think staying focused for the full 24 hours will be the hardest thing for me. I've been working with a personal trainer for a year to get in shape to do this. I'm hardly going to get any sleep during the race, so the thing for me at my age will be to try to be as sharp as I can be for the full 24 hours."
Martien, who holds a degree in engineering as well as business and finance management, is banking on the experience of not only Maassen and Pilet, but also Zacharias, whose coached him along the way.
"I think we have a really good package," Zacharias said. "Porsche has done some good updates. We still have some work to do to sort out the new Pirelli tires we'll use in 2009, but I think our team is one of the best ones out there."
Martien and Zacharias clocked laps around the 3.56-mile, 12-turn road course last month, with the full team in participation for the official test on Jan. 3-5.
In addition to the Rolex 24, Wright Motorsports plans to enter additional select Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series rounds this season.