JMB Racing USA Gives The Ferrari Challenge its First Finish at The Rolex 24! Miramar, February 9, 2005: The 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona did not really start as planned for JMB Racing USA. On Thursday, a few hours before qualifying, the JMB Racing...
JMB Racing USA Gives The Ferrari Challenge its First Finish at The Rolex 24!
Miramar, February 9, 2005: The 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona did not really start as planned for JMB Racing USA. On Thursday, a few hours before qualifying, the JMB Racing USA Ferrari #11 was involved in a crash, forcing the team to skip the first qualifying session due to heavy damage. Like they did after the January test, the JMB crew, headed by crew chief, Sebastien Brochard and lead mechanic, Christian Manseau, performed another miracle and was able to repair the car for Thursday night practice allowing all JMB drivers to find their marks before the race.
On Friday, thanks to the combined effort of Matt Plumb and the JMB USA technical director, Hayden Burvill, they were able to find a good qualifying set-up. With Matt Plumb's driving performance, the JMB car #11 was able to secure a 7th starting spot on the GT grid despite missing the first qualifying session, a performance that surprised many pros in the paddock!
On race day, the team was ready for the challenge but still had a big question mark floating over their heads on the potential of the car in the race. The 2005 Rolex 24 marked the first ever apparition of a Ferrari 360 Challenge car in an American 24-hour race and no one really knew if the car would be able to perform at its peek during a full day of competition.
"Thanks to superb car preparation, lots of work from the entire crew, a good drivers' line-up and a little bit of luck, our team was able to race 24 hours without any problem" declared team co-owner, Ludovico Manfredi. "Our Ferrari 360 Challenge was the only Ferrari car prepared in the United States for this endurance event and I am very satisfied that we finished the race. Three months ago when we decided to take on the challenge to convert that car to the Grand American GT rules, there were not a lot of experts in the paddock that would have put too much money on the chance of the Ferrari Challenge model to race twice around the clock without breaking down. I guess JMB Racing USA and Team Mastercar, the other Ferrari team entered in the race, proved that this car can be reliable and competitive in an international competition".
The Ferrari #11, sponsored by Cheyne Capital, Lacoste, Cross Pens, Liquidlogic, Costa del Mar, Leander Estates, Red Bull Civils, Cobalt Friction, duPont Registry, OMP, MOTUL and Executive Flyer and driven by Americans Matt Plumb, Pete Boss, Jim Michaelian and British David Gooding, raced 684 problem-free laps and finished 25th overall and 11th in GT class, a good performance for a first participation!
"The combination of pro and 'gentlemen' drivers was not at all a drawback to our performance in the race," said Emmanuel Lupe, team manager of JMB Racing USA. "Matt, Pete, David and Jim were able to maintain a good pace throughout the 24 hours. Our Shelton-prepared Ferrari engine was outstanding and never had a sign of weakness during the entire event. We have a plan to develop the car for the next races that would, on paper, add a touch of speed to the car for qualifying and in race conditions," said Lupe.
The team is now back in Miramar, Florida to prepare the car for the next Rolex series event at Homestead, Miami Speedway, scheduled for Saturday, March 5th, a race where JMB USA will want to shine because the team will be racing at home before its fans!