twos and threes
Orbit Racing has been invited to compete in the prestigious 24 Heures du Mans scheduled for June 14 and 15 in Le Mans, France. It is the second-consecutive invitation for the young Florida team, after just three seasons of racing in North America.
Leo Hindery of New York, Peter Baron of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Marc Lieb of Niefern, Germany, will join forces for the third time this season, driving the No. 87 YES Network Porsche 911 GT3 RS. The trio started the season from the GT pole position at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and finished fourth in class. They posted the fastest class times in two sessions at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, but retired from the race with an engine problem. They hope race three will be a strong showing at Le Mans.
"To race at Le Mans is the greatest thrill any sports-car racer can realize, and it is an honor for our Orbit car and team to be re-invited back to this magical place and race," Hindery said. "Peter Baron and I were humbled by our experience last year - humbled first to have been invited and then humbled by our eventual mechanical breakdown - but with Marc Lieb, our new partner at Orbit, we hope this year we will only be humbled by having been re-invited."
Hindery and Baron drove together at Le Mans in 2002. They qualified fifth in GT and finished seventh, in Orbit Racing's first Le Mans start. Baron said the experience gives the team more confidence this year.
"The whole purpose last year was to gain experience and knowledge about running the event - learning the track, seeing what the pace is like and discovering what car setup is required on the famous blindingly fast circuit," he said. "We learned a fair amount. We'll be able to go back to Le Mans with a decent setup and drivers who know the track and know what it's going to take to win the race. We have a great foundation from last year and have made vast improvements in the off-season, which showed at Daytona and Sebring."
Lieb will be competing in his first 24 Heures du Mans, but he knows how to max the power of a Porsche. He won the Porsche Carrera Cup championship in 2002 and started this year with the GT pole at Daytona and a fast pace at Sebring. He will follow a careful strategy to prepare for the realization of his childhood dream - to race at Le Mans in a Porsche.
"Le Mans is so different from all other tracks, it will be hard to get used to it in the beginning. The priority is definitely to learn the circuit with all the bends and corners," he said. "It's a big dream come true! I watched all the 24-hour races when I was a kid and I was always fascinated with the Porsches. I dreamed of racing there one day and now that it's happening, I am really excited. A big thank-you to Porsche and Orbit, who make that all possible."