Daytona Test: Porsche day one notes

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Race Cars Make up 22 of The 27 Entries in GT Class For 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona; Practice Days Underway DAYTONA BEACH, FL - January 7 - The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, the only race-ready vehicle entered in the Rolex 24 at...

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Race Cars Make up 22 of The 27 Entries in GT Class For 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona; Practice Days Underway

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - January 7 - The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, the only race-ready vehicle entered in the Rolex 24 at Daytona which is built race-ready by a car manufacturer and delivered directly to the racer, is the car of choice in the GT class for this year's event, to be held February 5-6, 2005 at Daytona International Speedway.

"If you race any other brand of race car, you have to build it on your own, struggle to get technical information and parts, and then hope nothing goes wrong at the track," said Uwe Brettel, president of Porsche Motorsport North America.

"If you buy a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for the Rolex 24, it is built at the factory on the same assembly line as the showroom version of the Porsche 911, delivered race-ready, built to the Grand-Am rules, and backed by a parts truck full of parts in the paddock and factory engineers to help teams troubleshoot any problems they might have," said Brettel.

Official practice days for the Rolex 24 run today through Sunday, January 9 at the Daytona International Speedway. Times for all cars and all sessions can be found on the official Grand-Am web site - www.grand-am.com.

Highlights of this year's Porsche contingent include six entries from Kevin Buckler's The Racer's Group, including a new Porsche for Joe and Jay Policastro, winner's of last year's GT class, and a Porsche dubbed Team 16 for the three 16 year-old drivers who will be making their Rolex 24 debut (see quotes below).

The Flying Lizard Motorsport team, which finished second a year ago, is back with the a familiar driver line-up including Porsche factory driver Patrick Long - the only American factory driver currently working for Porsche. German Supercup champion Wolf Henzler and his Farnbacher Racing team have made the trip to contest the class in the Porsche Cup car which dominated that series last year, and Michael Levitas, whose TPC team won the SGS class, has a three-car Porsche effort including such stars as Randy Pobst, Mike Fitzgerald, and Spencer Pompelly, while Grand-Am Cup champions Wayne and Will Nonnamaker have entered two cars.

In the Daytona Prototype class, the two original cars - the Brumos Fabcar Porsches - are back for a third season with stiffer chassis and improved performance. Sascha Maassen

and Lucas Luhr have joined Hurley Haywood and J.C. France in the #59 car, while the #58 Red Bull entry has regulars David Donohue and Darren Law joined by Mike Rockenfeller, Timo Bernhard, and Romain Dumas.

Here are some quotes from Porsche drivers and teams at the opening of practice on Friday, January 7:

J.C. France, Daytona Beach, FL, #59 Brumos Fabcar Porsche prototype -

"As one of the original Brumos Fabcar Porsche drivers, I have seen both the winners circle (the first year) and out of the top five (last year). We had the first Daytona prototype, but there are 32 of them this year in Grand-Am, and everyone is doing their homework. We have worked hard with Brumos, Porsche and Fabcar to update our car, and we think it will pay off this season."

David Donohue, Malvern, PA, #58 Red Bull Brumos Fabcar Porsche prototype -

"A lot of people try to draw attention to the Porsche powerplant's disadvantage in horsepower and torque to the rest of the field, but I think the answer lies elsewhere. We have done work on both the chassis and power train over the winter, and people will be surprised. The addition of Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr - veteran Porsche GT competitors - will put us right up with any of the top teams.

Hurley Haywood, Ponte Verde, FL, #59 Brumos Fabcar Porsche prototype -

"The handling issues which we had last year have been solved as the chassis has been stiffened, and we look forward to be competitive this year. There is no other series in the world where 32 prototypes can face off for either a sprint race or an endurance contest, with no clue as to who will win - a good set of rules plus manufacturer support has resulted in great sports car racing. No one is dominating this series. I have run this race more than 30 times and won it five times, but since I was on the ground floor at the inception of this project, a sixth win at the Rolex 24 would be the best."

Mike Rockenfeller, Germany, #58 Red Bull Brumos Fabcar Porsche prototype -

"I feel really comfortable sitting in this car, but I know driving it will be completely different than the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR that I am used to. The biggest issue so far is the fitting of the seat, but I know the Brumos team will solve that before the day is out.

Timo Bernhard, Germany, #58 Red Bull Brumos Fabcar Porsche prototype -

"I am really looking forward to running in the big class, and I know that my drives in the GT class and the experience of being overtaken by a prototype will help me when I become the prototype overtaking a GT car. I have been very fortunate to have two Rolex watches with an overall win in 2003 and a class win in 2002 here, and getting a prototype win with Brumos would be very special."

Darren Law, Phoenix, AZ, #58 Red Bull Brumos Fabcar Porsche prototype -

"The improvements Brumos, Fabcar and Porsche have made to our car are significant, but we will not know until the end of the 24-hour event exactly how significant - our finishing position will tell everything. I had to give up my ride with the Flying Lizard team in the other series to keep my commitment to Brumos, but the effort that everyone has put in over the winter convinced me that Grand-Am was the way to go for 2005.

Paul Truess engineer, #75 and #76 Flying Lizard Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Cars -

"We will only be running one car in the Rolex 24 race, but we have brought two Cup cars to test. The #75 car, which was fastest in two of the sessions today, was the car that finished second in the GT class at last year's event and third overall in the event. Modifications for this year's rules include a standard GT3 Cup engine and the five-lug wheels instead of the center-hub wheels we ran last year. We came very close to winning the class last year, but we really learned what it takes to finish first, and we will apply those lessons this year. Having an experienced factory driver (Mike Rockenfeller last year and Patrick Long this year) really helps as they have spent lots of time in these Cup cars in Supercup and Carrera Cup events."

The Racer's Group Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car #16 - Brad Coleman, Martinsville, Va., Colin Braun, Ovalo, Texas, Adrian Carrio, Monument, Colo. (all 16 years-old) and Ross Bentley, Redmond, Wash. -

Bentley is the founder and head coach of Speed Secrets Driver Development Services, which provides specialized programs and coaching services to maximize performance; coaching includes driving techniques, physical preparation, mental strategies and career counsel. His "students" for this event are all 16 years-old, including Colin Braun, national karting champion and Formula TR Pro Racing titleholder, whose father Jeff has been his engineer for 11 years with mother Diane and brother Travis acting as crew. Adrian Carrio is also a karting champion and finished second in the Formula TR Pro Racing series, and is looking forward to the team aspect of endurance racing, while Brad Coleman ran the Star Mazda series and moved in for the past year with former Le Mans and Porsche Cup winner Price Cobb for training.

Other Porsche news from Daytona:

--The #75 Flying Lizard Motorsport Porsche, with Johannes van Overbeek/Jon Fogarty/Seth Neiman/Lonnie Pechnik/Patrick Long driving, was fastest for three of the sessions on Friday in the GT practice (including the 90-minute night stint), with Levitas' #36 Porsche fastest in the late afternoon.

--The fastest non-Porsche in the GT class with the PTG BMW M3 of Auberlin/Gleason/James/Hand, which ran as high as second in one of the sessions.

--The #58 Red Bull Brumos Fabcar Porsche ran as high as eighth place among the 31 prototypes that ran Friday's sessions.

-porsche-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Colin Braun , Randy Pobst , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Kevin Buckler , Will Nonnamaker , Hurley Haywood , Darren Law , David Donohue , Timo Bernhard , Patrick Long , Johannes van Overbeek , Price Cobb , Michael Levitas , Joseph Policastro Jr. , Brad Coleman , Romain Dumas , Seth Neiman , Lonnie Pechnik , Mike Rockenfeller , J.C. Fra , Wolf Henzler , Adrian Carrio