Daytona 24: Farbacher Loles Racing preview

Farnbacher Loles Racing will start the 2008 season in force, fielding a triple team of seven Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars for 32 drivers in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT champion returns with a three-car team...

Farnbacher Loles Racing will start the 2008 season in force, fielding a triple team of seven Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars for 32 drivers in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT champion returns with a three-car team that will compete in the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series (car Nos. 86, 87 and 88), a two-car team competing in selected races (Nos. 83 and 89) and the two-car Team Seattle (Nos. 84 and 85).

Team owner Gregory Loles explained how the seven-car entry evolved:

"It's not really seven cars, it's what we call 2-3-2. We have the two Team Seattle cars -- anyone would want to be part of this effort that raises funds to help children. We have three cars that are running the full season. And the two other cars are clients. One car is our IMSA Cup guys and the other is our sister company Farnbacher Racing's European clients. We ended up at seven, not because we were trying to get to a huge number of cars, but because we have different elements in our business."

The Farnbacher Loles drivers have a wealth of experience in endurance racing. Their collective 24-hour score: 122 races, 24 wins, 51 podium finishes. They hope to add to those totals by finishing this year's Rolex 24 At Daytona, set for Jan. 26 and 27 on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The No. 87 (GT Champion) Porsche took Farnbacher Loles to the 2007 Rolex Series GT team title. The drivers all have won 24-hour races. Dirk Werner, the 2007 GT driver champion, has two endurance wins, in England and Dubai. Pierre Ehret and Dominik Farnbacher each have a class win in the Rolex 24 and a class podium at Le Mans. Porsche factory driver Timo Bernhard's results include two sports-car championships and five 24-hour victories, including two Rolex 24 wins, one overall.

The No. 86 (Power) Porsche is also packed with talent. Full-season drivers Leh Keen and Eric Lux have the experience to win their first Rolex 24: Keen has a win and two podiums in Rolex Series endurance races and Lux was the first 16-year-old to finish a Rolex 24. Porsche factory driver Jorg Bergmeister, the 2006 Rolex Series DP champion, has two Rolex 24 wins -- one overall -- and a class win at Le Mans. Sascha Maassen, also a Porsche factory driver, has won four sports-car championships and twice topped his class at Le Mans. Wolf Henzler is a past Porsche Cup winner who has also earned a Rolex 24 GT pole position and win.

The No. 88 (Doncaster Racing) Porsche will have the experienced talent of full-season drivers Dave Lacey and Greg Wilkins, who have already earned two Rolex 24 class podiums together. Wilkins also has a prototype class win at Le Mans. They'll be supported by Pierre Kaffer and Frank Stippler, who have excelled in European Porsche championships. Eric Curran adds a winning record in Grand-Am competition, including a Rolex 24 podium.

The No. 83 (Fitness) Porsche drivers have diverse racing backgrounds. Ben McCrackin, making his third Rolex 24 start, usually races a Farnbacher Loles Porsche in the IMSA GT3 Cup. Tim Bergmeister has already scored two 24-hour podium finishes, one in his first sports-car race, on the tough Nurburgring circuit, the other in Bahrain. CR Crews has raced on four continents and now competes in the Indy Pro Series. Peter Ludwig earned a Grand-Am KONI Challenge win and two podiums in two starts last year. Russell Walker is a Star Mazda Championship competitor.

Four Italian drivers will race the No. 89 (Italian) Porsche -- Luca Drudi, Raffaele Giammaria, Giacomo Petrobelli and Gabrio Rosa. They will benefit from the experience of Jorg Hardt, who delivered a strong performance for Farnbacher Loles during the 2007 Rolex 24.

Team Seattle, which has raised $2.7 million for the Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, selected Farnbacher Loles Racing to field two cars in its 12th and final Rolex 24. Chris Bingham, Bill Cotter, Chris Pennington and Don Pickering will drive the No. 84 Porsche. Ross Bentley, Don Kitch Jr., Steve Miller and Chris Pallis will be behind the wheel of the No. 85 car.

"We're very privileged to have the driver lineup and the confidence that so many people have in our team to run their cars. We also have incredibly strong people on the other side of the wall. Our technical director Horst Farnbacher, chief engineer Lars Giersing, team manager Frank Resciniti and Team Seattle team manager Michael Gue are the power behind our success," Loles said.

"We had very consistent results last year and a 24-hour race is about consistency. But as well-prepared as we are and as confident as we are, it's a 24-hour race and there are many good cars ... We've done everything I think we can do in preparation."

-credit: flr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Chris Bingham , Sascha Maassen , Jörg Bergmeister , Pierre Ehret , Ross Bentley , Dave Lacey , Don Kitch Jr. , Greg Wilkins , Raffaele Giammaria , Pierre Kaffer , Wolf Henzler , Lehman Keen , Peter Ludwig , Chris Pallis , Eric Lux , Dominik Farnbacher , Ben McCrackin , Chris Pennington , Tim Bergmeister , Russell Walker , Jorg Hardt , Giacomo Petrobelli , Steve Miller