Up All Night: Team Sahlen Brings Home Top Ten Finish from Rolex 24 Daytona Beach, FL - Both Team Sahlen Porsche GT3 Cup cars crossed the finish line this past weekend during the most coveted American endurance race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona. For...
Up All Night: Team Sahlen Brings Home Top Ten Finish from Rolex 24
Daytona Beach, FL - Both Team Sahlen Porsche GT3 Cup cars crossed the finish line this past weekend during the most coveted American endurance race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona. For 24 hours the black, red, and yellow No. 41 and No. 43 cars battled it out among Daytona Prototypes (DP) and the cars of the Grand Touring (GT) class.
The team's No. 41 Team Sahlen Porsche GT3 Cup was being driven by the Nonnamaker family (Joe, Will, and Wayne) and James Jakes. With clever pit strategy and a good endurance driving style, the car led at one point in the race. As the day turned into night it looked like the car would find the podium, and perhaps have a chance at the GT win by the end of the 24 hour race. Just past the twelve hour mark the car suffered severe damage when young Briton James Jakes had contact with a Daytona Prototype. In three hours the crew got the car back on track, much to the amazement of Wayne Nonnamaker.
"I ran back to the pits with the crew and I wasn't sure when we could get the car back out. The front radiator was smashed well into the trunk compartment. The crew pounded on the car, pulled on it with a van, and pounded on it some more. They threw together some custom made brackets to hold on the radiator and body parts and in just three hours the car was back on track! I am amazed at what they did."
The No. 41 soldiered on to a seventeenth place finish in class. The 2005 Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona also marked the first time the Phoenix ProMotions team, the company responsible for the Team Sahlen campaign, has run two cars at the prestigious race. Both cars ran without any mechanical fault except for the damage caused by James' wreck.
The No. 43 car with the driving combination of Wes Allen, Brad Blum, Victor Gonzalez, Eric Lux, and Ron Zitza brought together a strong knowledge of racing backgrounds. Ron Zitza, a driver with a dozen 24 Hour races under his belt, started the race for the car while 16-year-old Eric Lux took the checkered flag for the team in his first ever 24 hour race. The extensive knowledge of several team members mixed with an aggressive spirit landed them a ninth place finish in the GT class. The No. 43 car held a consistent top-15 position through the grueling 24 hour race.
"The drivers in the No. 43 car were a great team. They meshed very well and had a good system going. Everyone was able to contribute to the effort and we were very pleased to have each person as a member of our team for such a great event. It takes a good mix of people to finish such a demanding race and I think they had a lot of fun, too," stated Will Nonnamaker.
Team Sahlen will once again enter Rolex Grand American competition in the March 5th Grand Prix of Miami. Their three car Porsche GT3 Cup effort will be ready to make its mark in the GT class.