Tafel Racing tests for Rolex 24 at Daytona
DAYTONA, Fl. - Tafel Racing came to Daytona International Speedway recently for three days of testing to prepare for Rolex 24 at Daytona, an event that will challenge everything about the performance and preparation of their cars.
The 74 Rembrandt Charms Porsche GT3 Cup will be driven at the Rolex 24 by Wolf Henzler of Germany, Eric Lux of Buffalo, NY, Dominik Farnbacher of Germany, and team owner Jim Tafel of Alpharetta, GA. Of those, only Farnbacher is new to the Tafel team this season. Henzler had the best lap time in his car in the last test session on Saturday with a 1:53.168 on the 3.56 mile road course.
Henzler explained that although he has raced at Daytona numerous times there are always things to learn at a test. "Sure, I've driven here before, so it's not about learning the track; it's a time to learn what is new on the car for this season-what the crew has done in the off season to improve it. For example, we have new Hoosier tires, so I am getting used to the way they change the handling of the car."
Henzler's co-driver from the 2006 season, Robin Liddell of England will be behind the wheel of the 72 Porsche GT3 Cup this season along with teammates Andrew Davis of Bogart, GA; and Nathan Schwartzbaugh of La Habra Heights, CA, who is new to the team this year. Liddell set the pace for his teammates, posting a fastest lap in his car of 1:53. 109 in Saturday's first session, the quickest of any Tafel driver during the test.
Davis explained the role of a driver at a test, "As a driver, it seems like your natural reaction to being on the course is to turn quick laps, but that's not always what it's about on a test day. As a team we're trying to prepare for an endurance race that comes up in just three weeks, so at a test, turning quick laps might at times take second place to trying to learn what will give the best performance over the long haul of the 24 hour race."
The 73 Red Bull/The One and Only Resort car will be driven by Lars Eric Nielsen of Denmark, Dieter Quester and Phillip Peter both of Austria, and Brent Martini of Laguna Beach, CA. The best lap in the 73 was a 1:54.926 set on the first day of testing by Lars Eric Nielsen.
Tafel Racing was also one of only four GT teams invited by Grand Am to participate in the inaugural Roar Before the 24 during the test days, which included a fan question and answer forum with several of the Tafel drivers. Jim Tafel, one of the participants, said, "I thought from a team owner's standpoint and from a driver's standpoint that it [the Fan Forum] provided a great deal of information and a lot of value to a fast-growing series. It's always great to get out and interact with fans, something we don't always get to do when we are caught up in preparing the car."
-credit: tafel racing