126 Porsche Drivers In 34 Entries Contest Both Classes Of 2007 Rolex 24 At Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- January 25, 2007 - As one of the races that has shaped Porsche motorsports history, the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona has defined success and...
126 Porsche Drivers In 34 Entries Contest Both Classes Of 2007 Rolex 24 At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- January 25, 2007 - As one of the races that has shaped Porsche motorsports history, the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona has defined success and molded champions for some of the sport's best drivers.
For 2007, the Porsche contingent includes nine Porsche-powered Daytona Prototypes and 34 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars running in the GT class, with 126 drivers representing the finest sports car drivers in the world. According to Uwe Brettel, president of Porsche Motorsport North America, the pride of running a Porsche combined with the Daytona 24 Hour tradition gives this event special meaning for both the manufacturer and every Porsche team.
"Our greatest drivers, representing the best sports car drivers in the history of auto racing, built their careers with wins at the 24 Hours at Daytona. From our first overall win here in 1968 to our GT win last year, Porsche has been the leading manufacturer at Daytona, and the effort of our customer teams this weekend promises to bring another good result," said Brettel.
Daytona Prototype (DP) - endurance over speed
The first year of the Daytona Prototype class - 2003 - there were only two Porsche-powered cars at the Rolex 24. Last year there were four. This year, there are nine, with Brettel's confidence that one of the Porsche customers can win the race overall.
"Last year, the Alex Job Racing Ruby Tuesday Porsche Crawford led 14 hours of the event, and finished third only after some recurring axle problems - something that has been addressed and corrected for 2007," said Brettel, who noted that both new teams and squads that ran different powerplants in 2006 have switched to Porsche power for this year's event. He also pointed out that Porsche's 3.8-lter six cylinder engine will have to run at maximum performance to stay with the Pontiac, Ford and Lexus V-8s.
The Ruby Tuesday entry, to be driven by defending DP champion Jorg Bergmiester and fellow Porsche factory drivers Patrick Long and Romain Dumas, won several races last season and hopes to contend for the series championship this year with Bergmeister and Long driving the car for the season. Bergmeister was in the winning Porsche that took the overall victory in 2003 at Daytona
Five-time overall Rolex 24 winner and six-time Rolex 24 class winner Hurley Haywood will drive the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley. Haywood goes for win number six this weekend - his 34th start in this classic 24-hour event - with regular Rolex Series co-driver JC France as well as Champ Car race- winner and Formula 1 veteran Roberto Moreno and Portuguese sports car racer Joao Barbosa, who earned a GTS class victory in the 2003 Rolex 24. 2004 Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice will co-drive the No. 58 Red Bull/Brumos Racing Porsche Riley with 1996 IRL IndyCar Series co-champion Scott Sharp-- who took an overall Rolex 24 victory in 1996-- and Brumos regulars David Donohue and Darren Law.
1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., who owns and drives the No. 39 Crown Royal Special Reserve Porsche Crawford, will share that seat with 2004 Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winner Christian Fittipaldi and Porsche factory drivers Sascha Maassen and Emmanuel Collard. Collard scored an overall Rolex 24 victory in 2005.
Other familiar names to open-wheel racing aficionados include Indianapolis 500 veterans Ed Carpenter, Tomas Scheckter, A.J. Foyt IV, Stephan Gregoire and IRL and Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George, who will all drive in the No. 00 Vision Racing Porsche Crawford.
A team which ran a different powerplant last year, but switched to Porsche this year is Dyson Racing - the 1997 overall Rolex 24 winner. This year, in their Porsche Crawford, Rob Dyson, Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Oliver Gavin will try to put the New York-based team on the top step of the podium.
Former Rolex 24 overall winner Terry Borcheller is co-driving the No. 18 XM Satellite Radio/VICI Racing Porsche Fabcar with 1998 Rolex 24 GT1 winner and Porsche Supercup veteran Uwe Alzen, Carrera Cup champion Robert Renauer and Formula 1 and Champ Car competitor Gaston Mazzacane.
Porsche factory driver Timo Bernhard -- an overall winner in 2003 with Bergmiester - -is slated to co- drive the No. 47 TruSpeed Motorsport Porsche Riley with past Rolex 24 class winners Rob and Charles Morgan, while Harrison Brix, who won the final Rolex Series SGS class race at California Speedway in 2004, will co-drive the No. 51 Cheever Racing Porsche Fabcar with Rolex 24 veterans Mike Newton and Tommy Erdos.
25 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Cars in GT
In what could potentially be the largest single class to ever start the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a field of 43 GT machines are entered to take the green flag of the 45th Rolex 24 At Daytona Saturday, with a chance to eclipse a record set more than 20 years ago - with 25 of those cars being Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racers.
Only once in the 44-year history of the Rolex 24 At Daytona has a single class eclipsed the 40-entry mark. The 1983 Rolex 24 saw 40 GTO class cars start the race, the most in race history. The record could fall this weekend, however, if more than 40 of the 43 GT cars entered for the race start this year's twice-around-the-clock classic.
Last year's Rolex 24 At Daytona saw 36 GT cars start the race, which was fourth-most all-time. Both the 1976 and 1977 editions had 37 GT entries.
Headlining the Porsche fleet is TRG, which will field five Cup cars in the Rolex 24. The defending Rolex Series GT class team champions have won the Rolex 24 at Daytona twice in the last five years and took the overall victory in 2003. Defending GT driving champ Andy Lally returns to TRG in 2007, and will share the No. 66 iRise/F1 Air Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with defending Rolex 24 GT winner Spencer Pumpelly, RJ Valentine, Mark Greenberg and team owner Kevin Buckler. Other TRG drivers with previous Daytona success include Johannes van Overbeek, Ralf Kelleners, and Chris Gleason.
Also returning for another run at Rolex 24 At Daytona glory will be Farnbacher Loles Motorsports, the 2005 Rolex 24 GT-winning team. With four Porsche GT3 Cup cars entered -- including the lead car of Leh Keen, Pierre Ehret, Dirk Werner and Jorg Hardt - they will be competitive until the end. Other top Farnbacher Loles drivers include 2005 GT winner Shawn Price, Le Mans class winner Gunnar Jeannette, Grand-Am Cup title-holder Craig Stanton, ALMS regular Justin Jackson, and IMSA GT3 Cup stars Bryce Miller and Tom Pank.
Tafel Racing, fresh off a second-place team finish in last year's GT championship, and Synergy Racing, who played the bridesmaid role in 2005, will each field a three-car Porsche effort in the Rolex 24. Wolf Henzler and Dominik Farnbacher -- 2005 Rolex 24 GT winners -- headline the Tafel Racing lineup, while the Synergy group is led by Austrian Patrick Huisman and ex-NFL tight end Steve Johnson. Other Tafel stars include IMSA GT3 Cup champion Nathan Swartzbaugh, ALMS GT champion Dirk Mueller, veteran Robin Liddell, Austrian competitors Phillipp Peter and Dieter Quester, Grand-Am GT champion Brent Martini, and Grand-Am Cup winner Eric Lux. Other Synergy drivers include Porsche Supercup stars Richard Westbrook - the 2006 series champion - and recently-announced Porsche factory driver Richard Lietz, plus the two car effort from Team Seattle, which raises money every years for Children's Hospital in Seattle to help kids fight cancer.
Doncaster Racing, which won the SGS class in 2004 - the only year the class existed - is here from its Toronto based with David Lacey, Greg Wilkins, Lance Arnold, Johnny Mowlem and Tom Popadopoulos in a Porsche GT3 Cup, while Ian Baas, who was one of the drivers in last year's winning Porsche in GT, is paired with Joel Feinberg, Bruce McQuiston and Joe Safina in the Extreme Motorsports Group Porsche.
-credit: porsche motorsport