Kelleners Joins Kodak Team for Rolex 24 at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 7 - The Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need Racing team announced today that Ralf Kelleners will join Terry Borcheller, Forest Barber, Christian Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy...
Kelleners Joins Kodak Team for Rolex 24 at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 7 - The Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need Racing team announced today that Ralf Kelleners will join Terry Borcheller, Forest Barber, Christian Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy behind the wheel of the Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac #54 for the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 5-6.
Friday the team also participated in the first of three days of testing at Daytona in preparation of its defense of its 2004 Rolex 24 victory, turning 80 laps for the day.
Kelleners, of Dusseldorf, Germany, has been in victory lane at the Rolex 24 twice before, as he was part of the winning GT2 entry in 1997 and the winning SRP II car in 2002. He finished third overall and second in GT at Daytona in 2003.
Kelleners was part of the GT2 class-winning team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1996. In 1997 he was a factory Porsche driver at Le Mans, and in 1998 and 1999 he was a factory driver for Toyota at Le Mans.
Other accomplishments on his impressive resume include the GT1 class victory at the 1998 Petit Le Mans; a podium finish in the LMP 900 class at the Petit Le Mans (2001, driving with Dorsey Schroeder and Andy Wallace); and class victories at the Watkins Glen Six Hours (GT1 in 1998 and SRP II in 2002).
Kelleners and Borcheller have been co-drivers in the past (including that 2002 Rolex class victory) and they'll continue to do so in long-distance American Le Mans Series races and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in addition to next month's Rolex 24.
"I wanted to drive with Terry last year, but I had a previous commitment that I couldn't break," Kelleners explained. "I am very happy to be part of the Kodak team for this year's race."
Kelleners got his first taste of driving a Daytona Prototype on Friday.
"It is a comfortable car to drive," he said after his first stint. "I was hoping for a little more downforce, but it was fun.
"We're just working on our set-up, and encountering the same sort of problems as everybody else," he added after that stint. "We'll make some minor adjustments and continue to work on the set-up tomorrow and Sunday, and then we'll be in good shape."
Tracy, the 2003 CART Champ Car World Series champion, took his first laps at Daytona Friday afternoon after testing the Kodak car at Homestead-Miami Speedway in December.
"For my first half-hour in the car, I was happy with the way things went," Tracy said. "I was just getting acclimated to the car and the track. Now I'll just go back and try to learn more about the car before my next session."
The team was 18th in the first practice session Friday (1:52.7/113.668 mph); seventh in the second session (1:50.4/116.05 mph); fifth in the third session (1:49.339/117.213 mph) and 11th in the fourth and final evening session (1:49.524/117.015 mph).
"I think we have a great team and a great driver line-up," summarized Borcheller. "We feel the changes Kevin [Doran, the car builder] made are positive ones. I'm really excited about our driver line-up and our chances in the race."
The team's Web site is at www.feedstheneedracing.com, while the Grand American section of Kodak's Web site is at www.Kodak.com/US/en/consumer/garr/. For more information on Kelleners, please see www.kelleners-sport.com. Bocheller's Web site is at www.tborcheller.com and Tracy's is at www.paultracy.com. Other interesting information can be found at www.grandamerican.com, www.speedtv.com and www.restartcommunications.com.