Daytona 24: Orbit Racing final report

victory! Orbit Racing wrapped the Rolex 24 at Daytona with first place in the GT class and second overall, despite losing the rear windshield in the No. 44 Classic Industries Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Mike Fitzgerald started the final quarter of the...

victory!

Orbit Racing wrapped the Rolex 24 at Daytona with first place in the GT class and second overall, despite losing the rear windshield in the No. 44 Classic Industries Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Mike Fitzgerald started the final quarter of the 24-hour race, taking the wheel at 18h10. Increasing rain forced a caution period at 18h15, followed by a two-hour 45-minute race stoppage. Fitzgerald returned for the race restart at 21h10 and Johnny Mowlem took the final stint at 22h35. Mowlem held off a hard charge by Porsche factory driver Mike Rockenfeller in the Flying Lizard Porsche to pace Orbit to a 6.973-second GT victory and second overall. Joe and Jay Policastro, who drove during the 16th hour, and Robin Liddell, who drove through most of the night with Fitzgerald and Mowlem, shared the victory.

Mike Fitzgerald
"We had a pretty good lead and we just had to take care of it. I tried to hang in there and give Johnny as big a lead as I could. We got help from the Orbit crew - they did just a fantastic pitstop at the end of the race and gave Johnny a bit of a cushion to work with so he didn't have to push too hard, driving around on slicks in the rain. I'm very grateful to [team owner] Rodger Hawley, Joe and Jay Policastro and all the Orbit guys."

Robin Liddell
"I honestly can't express how happy I am. I've been so close to getting good international wins on several occasions, and this is the one I've been waiting for, something like this. It was such a hard race through the night and such a close finish at the end, it was fantastic to keep going and have no damage. The car ran absolutely faultlessly."

Johnny Mowlem
"I can't believe I've won a Rolex, it's just fantastic! The car ran like clockwork. We lost a lot of straight-line speed with the rear window collapsing - it was like a parachute out there. But the car was brilliant and Mike and Jay and Joe and Robin did a brilliant job."

Jay Policastro
"What can I say? Great teammates, great crew, great car, great everything. It's a great thrill for my dad and I to do this, not only together but with all the great people associated with Orbit Racing. Special thanks to the Sabatello Companies and Porsche Motorsport, who gave us a great motor for this race. It was a true team effort from the time we rolled off the truck for practice three weeks ago."

Joe Policastro
"I can't explain how I feel right now, to be first in GT and second overall is just something outstanding. The crew were just fantastic and I just can't say enough about the drivers, especially my son Jay. It's raining right now, but the sun is shining over us."

-or/sp-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Robin Liddell , Johnny Mowlem , Joseph Policastro Jr. , Mike Rockenfeller