Dubai 24H: SPEEDCOM/MarcosRacing BMW midway report

SPEEDCOM/Marcos Racing BMW 120D Retires In Eighth Hour of Dubai 24 Hours but Fundraising Continues

Engine Woes End Day Early For No. 134 But Donor Part Helps Teammates Carry On Race And Mission

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (January 14, 2011) - The 134 Florida Orange Juice/SPEEDCOM/Marcos Racing International BMW 120D team of Hal Prewitt, Will Turner, Don Salama and Toto Lassally saw their bid for a repeat win in the Dunlop Dubai 24 Hours end early Saturday but not the effort to raise funds for a pair of children's charities through

Prewitt had just taken the wheel of the second-place No. 134 for a Saturday evening driving stint in what had been a trouble-free run to that point by all four SPEEDCOM/Marcos drivers. He was accelerating up to speed after an on-course safety period when he felt the steering stiffen. Prewitt made it to the pits where the Marcos Racing crew confirmed the problems went beyond the steering.

No. 134 goes to the garage. "The team tells me it was a pretty serious crankshaft failure in the engine," Prewitt said. "I have honestly never heard of something like this happening without a major hit or something, but it did and the pulley system on the front of engine came loose and undone when the crank broke. That's why the steering went off and it turns out it was a much bigger issue with the engine."

Turner and Salama saw their debut race on the Dubai Autodrome come to an early end but were still impressed with the Marcos team and the performance of the diesel BMW.

"That car was actually coming to us," Salama said. "Even in the night with old tires, I could run fast laps in that car within a second of our pole time all night long, and it was consistent. The car was as powerful at the end of the stint as it was on the first lap of the two hours. This is the mistake probably because I was starting to believe that we actually had a chance, not the fastest car but we were up to P-2, and we were moving like perfect. Then all of a sudden we had a significant and unusual event for the crank to break. You never hear about this type of problem but it happened, and that's racing."

Turner started the No. 134 BMW and joined only Salama in getting two full stints before the early exit. The retirement could have also meant the end for this year's (ELC) charity fundraising drive, but some sportsmanship between teammates ensured that another Marcos entry and the ELC effort will both have a chance to continue to the race's checkered flag on Sunday.

No. 135 The sister No. 135 Marcos Racing International BMW 120D of Jan Versluis, Trevor Knight, Kurt Thiel and Frank Nebig encountered a myriad of mechanical issues from the race's first hour. The team overcame an early wheel bearing failure and related rear suspension change only to be forced to the sidelines again with a fuel-line failure at the time of No. 134's retirement.

"Part of doing well in a 24-hour race is luck, but luck just bit us," Turner said. "But our retirement was also a lucky break, and in a charitable way, because a part of our car is helping our team car live on. We actually took a fuel line off our car and donated it to their car and that's giving the 135 guys a chance to keep up the laps for a good cause. So, let's just cheer them on now."

The 26-hour webcast that began a 1 p.m. local time on Friday will continue in an abbreviated schedule until the race finish Saturday at 2 p.m. The webcast and donation link can both be found at The No. 134 BMW completed 173 official laps before retiring. Donors have the option of calculating their per-lap pledge based on that laps-completed amount or adding the total laps that the No. 135 BMW will complete. Fixed dollar amount pledges will not be effected.

Through, ELC allows donors - through per-lap or single amount pledges - to support either Camp Boggy Creek, One Child, or both worthwhile causes through a 50/50 pledge option. One Child is an orphan and foster care ministry while Camp Boggy Creek provides a traditional camping experience for children suffering from chronic and life threatening illnesses. Camp Boggy Creek is the Official Charity of GRAND-AM while SPEEDCOM Communications is now in its fifth year as the Official Communications Supplier of GRAND-AM.

In addition to pledging your support, you can follow all of the racing action from Dubai at through a live timing link and the non-stop web cast hosted by renowned international motorsports commentator and former online GRAND-AM host Alfredo Nin and other SPEEDCOM/Marcos team members and ELC supporters who will be on site in Dubai. The web cast will span 26 hours to include both pre-race and post-event coverage on Friday and Saturday.

-source: adam saal

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About this article
Series Endurance
Drivers Will Turner , Don Salama , Kurt Thiel , Toto Lassally , Hal Prewitt , Frank Nebig