PORSCHE-POWERED DAYTONA PROTOTYPES, NEW 911 GT3 CUP/TYPE 997 RACE CARS TURN FASTEST LAPS AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY PRACTICE FOR 2006 ROLEX 24 DAYTONA BEACH, Florida - January 8 - No points were scored; no races were won; no positions ...
PORSCHE-POWERED DAYTONA PROTOTYPES, NEW 911 GT3 CUP/TYPE 997 RACE CARS TURN FASTEST LAPS AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY PRACTICE FOR 2006 ROLEX 24
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida - January 8 - No points were scored; no races were won; no positions were gained; and nothing was proven, but 29 Porsche-powered race cars entered in the 2006 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona have show the world that they will be competitive in both Grand American Road Racing classes, with a Porsche team turning the fastest lap in each class.
Uwe Brettel, president of Santa Ana, Calif.-based Porsche Motorsport North America, credits Porsche's success this past weekend at Daytona to the customers who have prepared and entered the race cars.
"Our U.S. racing customers are among the best-known road racing car owners in the country, and their relentless attention to detail, testing, and engineering feedback has results in these confidence-building performances at Daytona," said Brettel.
"While our cars, both the Daytona Prototypes with Porsche power, and the new 911 GT3 Cup/Type 997, turned fast laps this weekend, the race is a 24-hour event, and both our engineers and our teams have a lot of work to do before there is any celebrating to be done," said Brettel.
Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports and drivers Mike Rockenfeller, Patrick Long and Lucas Luhr, driving the new Shred-it Crawford Porsche, wrapped up the three-day Rolex 24 test atop the speed chart. In the final session of the test on Saturday afternoon, the team turned the fastest lap of the test with a time of one minute, 43.431 seconds, 123.909 mph. All three drivers have won the GT class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Porsches, and as has owner Alex Job, but Job realizes that his satisfaction with the speed of the Porsche Crawford needs to be tempered with his concern for the lack of testing time between now and the race.
"We had some electrical issues and some drive line concerns on Thursday which really limited our time on the track," said Alex Job. "This weekend was an opportunity for us to get in tune with the car, get the drivers some time behind the wheel and start to think about a good racing setup on the car that will be able to carry us for the 24 hours. The car is showing some good speed, but that is not surprising with our driver lineup. The Crawford chassis is as proven as the Porsche engine, but the two together have not been proven. I had really hoped that we could have run more laps this weekend, we have a lot of work to do on the car between now and the race."
The team of David Donohue, Darren Law, Sascha Maassen and Ted Christopher, driving the Brumos Red Bull Porsche Fabcar, posted the third best overall time of the entire three-day test with a lap of one minute, 43.953 seconds, 123.286 mph.
"This organization has been planning this change for more than a year now," Donohue said. "It's good to see the Red Bull back where it was the first year. We've just got to bask in the limelight while we can but behind the scenes we need to keep pushing because there's none at rest. I'm sure there a lot of people who aren't showing all their cards. It really only counts on Sunday afternoon how fast you are."
The changes to the No. 58 car, one of the original Daytona Prototypes when the class debuted in 2002, including a new chassis, are too numerous to list even for Donohue.
"It's probably easier to say what is the same, quite frankly," Donohue said. "The Porsche engine is improved, but the key is that the structure of the car is different. We needed it quite badly and we've lowered the mass and weight of the car. Last year we ran overweight by more than a hundred pounds. We just couldn't get it out. The bodywork shape is about the same but what's underneath is different."
There were two other Porsche-powered Prototypes, with the Brumos Porsche Fabcar of Hurley Haywood, J.C. France and Ted Christopher, not turning any times during the weekend, while the Synergy Racing rx.com Porsche Doran of Burt and Brian Frisselle, plus Patrick Huisman, making it into the top ten during Saturday's final session, 1.5 seconds behind the Alex Job effort.
Last year's Rolex 24 GT class champion Wolf Henzler, driving the Tafel Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup/type 997, was the fastest GT competitor all three days of the Daytona test, turning the fastest overall lap of 1:52.704, 113.714 MPH in the team's #74 car, which will be driven in the race by Andrew Davis, Eric Lux, Graham Rahal and Charles Espenlaub. Henzler's teammates in the race, in the #72 Tafel Porsche, will be Robin Liddell and Johannes van Overbeek.
Second fastest for the weekend in GT was the Farnbacher Loles Red Bull Porsche 911 GT3 Cup/type 997 driven by Dirk Werner, Dieter Quester, Toto Wolf and Philip Peter. Third was the SAMAX Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup/type 997 of Lance David Arnold, Jan Seyffarth, Johnny Mowlem and David Shep.
"The new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup/type 997 made its North American road racing series debut at Daytona this past weekend, and our Porsche customers have shown the Grand-Am field that they intend to compete for the GT victory at the Rolex 24," said Brettel, who again cautioned that fast times at a practice session do not equal victory for a car which has never run a 24-hour race.
The Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona will start at 1:00 PM on Saturday, January 28, and will be televised live by Speed Channel for 17 of the 24 hours (exact schedule to be announced). Fans can follow the entire race with live timing and scoring provided by www.grandamerican.com (which also has complete results from all sessions this past weekend), while the progress of the Porsches in the race will be posted on www.porsche.com/motorsport.