Rolex Motorsports Daytona 24H hour 3 report

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Rolex Motorsports press release

TRIPLE THREAT

Christian Fittipaldi, Darren Law and David Donohue
Christian Fittipaldi, Darren Law and David Donohue

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Of the 58 teams to take the green flag today at the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona, most have a lineup of four or more drivers. Only nine, however, have chosen to run this weekend’s 50th anniversary race with three drivers, one of which is Action Express Racing’s #5 Corvette DP with David Donohue (Malvern, Penn.) and Darren Law (Phoenix, Arizona), who together were part of the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona championship team, along with Christian Fittipaldi (Brazil) who was last found in the winner’s circle in 2004.

For Donohue, being a team of three is an advantage. “We all get along very well and the feedback on the car and what we like in a car is all very similar,” said Donohue. “The challenge becomes a physical challenge, not that it takes so much physical strength to drive these DP cars at Daytona, but there is always the load on your body which can cause defeat, but we still think we have an advantage with such a strong driver lineup.

Having raced a Riley Porsche last year, Donohue explained that during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 the team had worked hard on the new Corvette DP that has a new chassis, new body and a new engine. While assessing what influence the aero had versus the mechanical (since both were new), the team was trying to anticipate the unknowns and head off any issues before they became problems.

“Of course we would all like to win another Rolex timepiece and I honestly think we have a good shot at it,” said Law. “I’m going into this race with a lot of confidence. This team and this group of drivers have already won at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. David and I have won it together, so we all know what it takes to win and I think the three of us are a great driver combination. There are no egos here and everyone is working to make things better and I think we really have a very good shot at it.”

Conceding that it is definitely more fatiguing for the drivers when there are only three sharing the wheel during the twice-around-the-clock endurance challenge, Law also explained that it was an advantage for the program to not shortchange someone of their time in the car. “We lessen our chance by one for mistakes as far as changes and differences between us, and we have a better chance of getting the car right.”

From Donohue’s perspective, this race is extra-special, and comes after an interesting period. “The Rolex 24 At Daytona this year is huge, being the 50th anniversary of the race,” said Donohue. “My father won it in 1969; I won it in 2009; there are these benchmarks to be set. The 50th is extra special and it comes at a unique time because over the last five or six years the Rolex 24 At Daytona has grown at a much quicker rate than perhaps any other race in the world. It’s become a real who’s who of motorsports because it has not just sports car racers; we also get NASCAR drivers, Indy Car drivers and Formula 1 drivers. The best of the best are here. These great drivers are able to get into really good championship winning cars because our championship has enough competitive cars in it and they need extra drivers. So we get top drivers from various curricula of racing and it keeps elevating. Not only that, but the crowds of fans keep growing and there is a certain electricity in the air because of the historic nature of this race. It would be so huge if our team wins the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona that I would be speechless.”

During the third hour of the race Darren Law got a free pass to get back on the lead lap after running one lap down since the beginning of the race. By the four hour mark of the race there had been 12 lead changes and the circuit had seen contentious behavior, even between teammates, as exhibited by the contact between two of Chip Ganassi Racing’s cars: the #01 and #02 BMW Rileys. One of the biggest disappointments thus far in the race was the withdrawal of the #10 SunTrust Racing Corvette DP which had qualified in P2. The #10 experienced catastrophic engine failure and put an end to Max Angelelli (Monaco) winning his second Rolex 24 At Daytona title.

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Series GRANDAM
Tags action express, donohue, fittipaldi, law, rolex