Daytona 24: Porsche pre-race notes

Top Porsche teams abandon conservative race plans for Rolex 24. All agree that factory drivers, Porsche reliability make this event a sprint rather than a wait-and-see race; Teams tweak little things which could make a difference. DAYTONA...

Top Porsche teams abandon conservative race plans for Rolex 24.

All agree that factory drivers, Porsche reliability make this event a sprint rather than a wait-and-see race; Teams tweak little things which could make a difference.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL. - January 31 - Leo Hindery, a Hillsborough, California resident who spends most of his time in New York City working with New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, might be a big executive in the business work, but in the garage area preparing for the 2003 Rolex 24, he's just another excited driver hoping for that elusive Daytona win.

"All our Orbit Porsche 911 GT3 RS drivers turned their personal best times in practice this morning, and we think we can win the GT class - and maybe the race overall. Everyone figured out what their race pace will be, and no one is going to hold anything back" said Hindery, CEO of the YES Network, the cable network in the Northeast that broadcasts New York Yankee, New Jersey Devils and New Jersey Nets games.

German Porsche factory driver Mark Lieb ignited the team's hopes by capturing the GT pole yesterday, and today's practice was spent fine-tuning the suspension and rear axle. According the Lieb, there was less dirt on the track today, so turning a clean la p was easier. Meanwhile, in The Racer's Group garage, team owner and lead driver Kevin Buckler was plotting his strategy for the 24-hour event. After winning both the Rolex 24 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year in his Porsche 911 GT3 RS racers, Buckler's opinion abo ut how to run the race carries some weight.

"With all these factory drivers and fast cars in GT, we don't want to be two laps down with a couple of hours to go because we were too conservative. We're going to set a very fast race pace, and run hard," said Buckler.

Porsche factory driver Timo Bernhard put the Buckler's #66 Porsche on the front row of the GT class by qualifying second.

Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr, who co-drove to a joint American Le Mans Series championship last year, are driving with Larry Schumacher and Martin Snow in the Schumacher - Champion Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS. They both agreed that this race will be more l ike last year's Le Mans, where the two Porsches were within one minute of each other for the final 12 hours of the event.

"Sascha was on the other team at Le Mans - we had to drive against each other. It will be a hard fight here; no holding back," said Luhr.

The 2003 Rolex 24 at Daytona will be televised live - the first eight hours and the last seven hours - on The Speed Channel starting at 12:30 PM Eastern time on Saturday, February 1. Speedvision will telecast a 30-minute pre-race show followed by the gree n flag at 1:00 PM, and will stay with the race until 9:00 PM. The network will then pick up the event on Sunday morning at 6:00 AM, and carry it through the checkered flag at 1:00 PM - plus the victory circle and post-race celebration. Also, the more tha n 110 affiliates of the Motor Racing Network (MRN) nationally will provide coverage on the radio - check local listings for time in your area.

Porsche's main site is www.porsche.com/motorsport.

-porsche-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Leo Hindery , Timo Bernhard , Martin Snow