Daytona Porsche preview

34 Porsches Entered In The 34th Running Of The Rolex 24 At Daytona by Chris Dirato, PCNA RENO, NEVADA, January 30, 1996 --- The 1996 edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona IMSA sports car race, scheduled for Feburary 3-4, will have a definite ...

34 Porsches Entered In The 34th Running Of The Rolex 24 At Daytona

by Chris Dirato, PCNA

RENO, NEVADA, January 30, 1996 --- The 1996 edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona IMSA sports car race, scheduled for Feburary 3-4, will have a definite Porsche flavor as nearly half of the 81-car field will be comprised of Porsche 911s. Some 34 Porsche 911 and Porsche 911 Turbos will be competing in the twice-around-the-clock classic when the green flag drops at Florida's Daytona International Speedway, Saturday, February 3, at 1 p.m.

With 19 previous overall victories, Porsche is by far the most successful manufacturer in the history of the Daytona 24-hour race. However, recently imposed rule restrictions prohibiting the use of Porsche's turbocharged engine in the event's premier World Sports Car category will make it extremely difficult for Porsche to defend its latest Daytona overall win earned last year. Instead, Porsche teams will compete for class victories in the Exxon GTS-1 and GTS-2 categories.

Among teams expected to vie for the GTS-1 crown is the Rohr Motorsport two-car Porsche 911 Turbo entry with drivers Hurley Haywood, John O'Steen, David Murry, Scott Goodyear, Jochen Rohr, Axel Rohr, Herbert Schurg and Carl Rosenblad. In 1995, Haywood, Murry, Jochen Rohr and Bernd Maylaender piloted a Porsche 911 Turbo to a second in GTS-1 and fourth overall.

For Haywood, a Ponte Vedra, Florida, resident, this year's Rolex 24 at Daytona marks his 25th anniversary competing in North America's most prestigious sports car endurance race. Over this period, his racing achievements have included five overall wins in the Daytona 24 hour race and three overall titles in the 24 Hours of LeMans. The 47-year-old is the first driver to win the 24 hour races at Daytona and LeMans in the same year (1977).

The Rohr duo will likely be pressured by another two-car Porsche 911 Turbo team entered by Champion Porsche of Pompano Beach, Florida, North America's largest Porsche dealer. Champion's international cast of drivers includes Hans Stuck, Derek Bell, Thierry Boutsen, Dorsey Schroeder, John Fergus and Bill Adam.

Another Porsche 911 Turbo warranting attention in GTS-1 is the entry co-driven by defending IMSA GTS-2 Champion Jorge Trejos. Trejos, from San Jose, Costa Rica, will partner Martin Snow and veteran Porsche competitor Dennis Aase.

In the GTS-2 class, one of the top contenders and more interesting cars will be a Porsche 911 co-sponsored by Brumos Porsche, a Jacksonville, Florida, Porsche dealer with a long and successful tradition at Daytona. The No. 26 Brumos-sponsored car, a unique mid-engined 911, will be handled by drivers Tom Hessert (former IMSA Champion), Charles Slater (IMSA owner) and Philip Collin.

Sure to challenge this entry is the Porsche 911 driven by defending Daytona GTS-2 champions Lilian Bryner and Enzo Calderari of Switzerland and Ulrich Richter from Germany. Swiss driver Ferdinand de Lesseps joins this winning trio in their GTS-2 class car.

The Rolex 24 at Daytona will be covered extensively by ESPN2. The cable sports network will televise qualifying on February 1-2, and offer nine and one-half hours live race coverage in two segments, February 3-4. Check local listings for exact times.

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Series IMSA Others
Drivers Scott Goodyear , David Murry , Carl Rosenblad , Hurley Haywood , Thierry Boutsen , John Fergus , Dorsey Schroeder , Derek Bell , Martin Snow , Tom Hessert , Enzo Calderari , Lilian Bryner , Ferdinand de Lesseps , Dennis Aase , Jorge Trejos , Bill Adam