Defending Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT Champions Farnbacher Loles have added three Porsche factory aces to its roster of drivers for next month's Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Sascha Maassen, Jorg Bergmeister and Timo Bernhard join a host of others slated to tackle the twice-around-the-clock road racing classic.
The Danbury, Connecticut-based team will field a total of seven Porsche GT3 Cup cars in the Grand Touring class, two of which in collaboration with Team Seattle.
In the No. 86 entry, Maassen and Bergmeister join Wolf Henzler, Eric Lux and Leh Keen while the equally strong No. 87 car features the driving strength of Bernhard, Pierre Ehret, Dominik Farnbacher and 2007 Series GT Champion Dirk Werner.
"We are very happy to welcome Timo Bernhard, Sascha Maassen and Jorg Bergmeister to bolster our already stellar lineup," said Farnbacher Loles Principle Owner Gregory Loles. "This is a significant development not only for Farnbacher Loles, but also for the fans and the series. It also gives us considerable responsibility to put Porsche back on the podium in this storied race."
Maassen returns to the series after competing in Cheever Racing's Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype for the 2007 edition. The German racer's primary focus for the past two seasons has been in the American Le Mans Series, driving one of Penske Racing's Porsche RS Spyders in the LMP2 class. He along with Ryan Briscoe scored three wins in 2007, including two overall triumphs. But before then, Maassen was a true veteran of GT Porsches. His two class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and four straight victories in the Twelve Hours of Sebring all came while steering production-based Porsches.
Like Maassen, Bernhard's sportscar career began in the GT ranks. The 26-year-old German notched numerous wins in both the American Le Mans Series and Rolex Series. One of his most memorable moments came in 2003 when he helped steer Kevin Buckler's The Racer's Group Porsche to an overall victory in the Rolex 24. It marked the first time that a GT-class team won the race outright since 1977. Bernhard also claimed victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2002 driving for TRG. He also is the two-time and defending champion of the Nurburgring 24 Hours.
In 2006, Bernhard transitioned into prototypes, joining Penske Racing's operations in LMP2. He and Romain Dumas claimed Porsche's first overall victory in ALMS at Mid-Ohio that year, beating the stranglehold of Audi. 2007 marked an even more remarkable year for Bernhard as he and Dumas claimed eight class wins, six of them being won outright, on their way to the LMP2 driver's championship. Bernhard scored a top-ten finish in last year's Rolex 24, co-driving a Porsche-powered DP for TrueSpeed Motorsports.
Bergmeister began to make his mark in Porsche Carerra Cup before jumping into the GT ranks in 2002. Along with Bernhard, he shared the historic overall win in the Rolex 24 in 2003. The following year, the tall German notched a class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans before tackling both the ALMS and Rolex Series in 2005. He won the driver's championship in the ALMS. In 2006, he repeated as GT2 champion and also earned the Rolex Series DP driver's title, driving for Krohn Racing.
After his success in both of America's premier sports car series, Bergmeister once again became a full-fledged Porsche factory driver in 2007. He moved to Alex Job Racing in the Rolex Series, pairing with Patrick Long in a Porsche-powered Crawford. The duo notched one win but endured a season plagued by disappointment and bad luck. Over in the ALMS, he joined Flying Lizard Motorsports and earned three class wins with co-driver Johannes van Overbeek. But Bergmeister lost out on his third consecutive GT2 crown to the dominant Risi Competizione Ferrari. Bergmeister will be making his first GT start in the Rolex 24 since 2004 when driving for TRG.
The No. 88 Farnbacher Loles Porsche will feature the driving services of Dave Lacey and Greg Wilkins. A fourth Porsche will be piloted by Ben McCrackin, Ross Smith and Russell Walker. Additional drivers and lineups will be revealed soon.