Daytona 24: VICI Racing hour eight report



Daytona, Florida - After eight hours of hard racing at the Daytona Speedway the #23 XM SATELLITE RADIO supported Porsche Crawford has climbed right back into the top ten following an unscheduled pitstop which was required to rectify a mechanical problem which occurred when the car was in command of the race.

This year's edition has lived up to all the expectations with non-stop action right through the field ever since the green flag was waved at just after 12:00 today (Eastern Time) to get the 44th Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve 24 Hours of Daytona underway. As darkness now grips the famous road circuit at one third distance there have been more than a dozen race leaders already. For the XM SATELLITE RADIO it has truly been a real baptism of fire, the #23 Porsche Crawford leading the race overall during early hours before an unscheduled pitstop to replace the driveshafts dropped the car down the classification.

From the start Lucas Luhr, who had placed the #23 car firmly on pole position during Thursday's final qualifying session, led the race. The German set the early track pace, posting the race's fastest laps, and leading until lap 20 when he took advantage of a yellow flag period to dive into the pits. Luhr had worked his way back into the lead by Lap 53 when he came in and handed over to fellow countryman, Mike Rockenfeller. He rejoined the race in 5th place, but had worked the car back into the lead when the first problem to arise struck during the 3rd hour, driveshaft problems forcing him to pit. Around 15 minutes were lost while they were both replaced, pushing the car down the leaderboard, and with significant ground to make up in a race that is being run at a frenetic pace. However the Porsche Crawford combination is proving very quick here, and the #23 car's drivers have been able to turn in consistently fast times as they set about clawing their way back through the field. By the quarter distance point the #23 Porsche Crawford was up to 21st place and with the third driver, Patrick Long, behind the wheel. The Las Vegas resident continued with the pace shown by his team mates, posting the fastest lap of the race during the fifth hour. However his stint did not run smoothly, as immediately following the driver change from Rockenfeller to Long, an additional pitstop was required after the car's Motec fuel management computer became disconnected and needed to be reset.

"We undoubtedly have the quickest package in the field," comments Ron C. Meixner, "but the newness of the car has not worked in our favour. We are almost in effect 'running in' the Crawford during the Daytona 24 Hours, not an ideal situation, but at least we are learning an awful lot of useful information about the dynamics of this combination as out here is as tough as it gets.

"We noticed that grease was building up inside the wheels during an early tire pitstop, which forced us to change the driveshafts, and to adjust our race strategy accordingly. We are now running at a very strong pace, around 2 seconds a lap faster than most of Daytona Prototype category our rivals, and we now hope for a trouble-free night to allow us to make up significant track position," adds Ron. "However we will also have to keep our fingers crossed that no further teething problems come to light."

After just over 1/3rd distance (8 hours 21 minutes) the #23 XM SATELLITE RADIO supported Porsche Crawford has covered 245 laps and is in 8th place overall, five laps behind the race leader. Long holds the fastest race lap, 1:44.438 (122.714mph), and the #23 car is in fact the only runner to lap under the 1 minutes 45 second barrier. It has led for 34 laps and is currently the fastest car on the track, consistently running at more than 2 seconds a lap faster than any other entry. About XM Satellite Radio


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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Lucas Luhr , Patrick Long , Mike Rockenfeller