Brumos Brings Home Hard-Fought Fifth Place in Rolex 24 GT Debut
Jacksonville, FL: The 49th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona is now in the history books and Brumos Racing's highly anticipated GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT debut didn't disappoint their fans. In keeping with Brumos tradition, the team fought back through serious setbacks to deliver a top five finish, establishing themselves as serious championship contenders for 2011. Starting the race in 9th position, the Brumos #59 Porsche 911 GT3 led the race in class for 79 laps, as all four Brumos drivers took their turn in the lead. The Daytona endurance classic played out under picture-perfect Florida weather to record crowds, including a large number of Brumos friends and family who turned out for the 29th Brumos Boosters Brigade.
The team worked hard in the days before the race, as noted by qualifying and starting driver Andrew Davis. "This race was a total battle from the green flag," he said. "The car ran really well and we found ourselves in the lead. I was really proud and honored to lead so many laps in the Brumos #59. I've never seen a crew work so hard in the pits to get a car turned around. The fortitude the guys showed through adversity makes me proud to be part of this team. It's great to come out of the 24 Hours of Daytona with a top five. You want the watch and you want the win, but in time, those points are going to be very important. We're going to look back and see that this race was the start of our championship run. I can't say enough to thank the Brumos organization and the Goldcrest Motorsports group."
Leh Keen took over from Davis, followed by Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb, the first of the Brumos drivers to put the #59 in the lead. He brought the car in to Hurley Haywood in first place and although Haywood suffered damage to the front splitter, he held on to bring the car back still in the lead. Davis was next to take the #59 to the front, holding it there for 41 laps. Next up was Keen, who also led for 6 laps before hitting debris on track that damaged the right front and punctured the radiator. Repairs were made in the pits, but the lengthy stop put the #59 13 laps down. Despite the setback, the drivers gained ground steadily when a water leak in the rear during Haywood's second stint brought the car back in. A heavy fog that rolled in before sunrise put the course under yellow for 57 laps, preventing the #59 drivers from regaining lost ground. Both team and drivers persevered, pleased to end the grueling event in the top five.
Marc Lieb enjoyed his return to the Rolex 24, saying, "It was quite an up and down event but it was an exciting race. It was great to be back in Daytona and part of the Brumos team, but we really had some tough luck. We were leading after six hours and in good shape with everything going to plan. Then we were fighting the last hours to get the laps back. We had a good car and a good lineup and everyone was doing their best, but luck just wasn't with us."
Leh Keen described his first race as a Brumos driver as an amazing experience. "The car just looked great and we really had the car to beat," he said. "This race is such a tough one anything and everything can happen, but we had a good result in the end. We came out with good points that are going to help us all season. Just being in the Brumos #59 and teamed up with Hurley Haywood and Marc Lieb and my full-time co-driver Andrew Davis was really an honor."
Haywood was also pleased with the results, saying, "We are looking at the championship now for Andrew and Leh and we're in good shape. A lot of the drivers who finished ahead of us aren't going to run the full season, so we have valuable points going forward and on to Homestead."
Team owner Dan Davis was very proud of his team's first outing, saying, "All of our guys and gals did a great job under some very difficult circumstances. We got into the GT program late and everyone at Brumos and at Goldcrest Motorsports has worked very hard getting us ready in such a short time for such a demanding race. I am very happy that we managed to salvage a top five finish despite some very difficult challenges. Porsche gave us a great car and our team and drivers gave us their best effort. We are all focused on a championship run and can't wait to get to Homestead."
Brumos will be back in action for Round 2 as the Rolex Series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway.
-source: brumos racing