DAYTONA BEACH, Florida - February 4, 2001 - The Porsche marque showed again why it has dominated endurance racing worldwide for the last three decades as the ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida - February 4, 2001 - The Porsche marque showed again why it has dominated endurance racing worldwide for the last three decades as the #31 Petersen Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Mike Fitzgerald/Randy Pobst/Christian Menzel/Lucas Luhr has won the GT class and finished second overall at the 2001 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
In what has been an incredible run for the factory-built Porsche 911 GT3 R and GT3 RS race cars, Porsche earned the top five positions in the GT class, and captured seven of the top ten overall positions. It also marks the 53rd class victory for Porsche a t the Daytona 24 hour event, with 27 of those wins for the Porsche 911s. The venerable 911 has won more than 20,000 races since its introduction in 1964.
The victory for the #31 Porsche, which took over the lead when the BMW M3 V8 lost its engine during hour #19, is not only meaningful for its four accomplished drivers, but for veteran Petersen Motorsports crew chief Walter Gerber as well. Gerber, who has run many successful Porsche race teams, had never had a class win at Daytona, not to mention a podium finish overall.
"This is a career win for me as well, and I am grateful for team owners Michael Petersen and Dale White for giving me the opportunity to work on these cars, and for hiring the best GT drivers in the country to race them here at Daytona," said Gerber, who s aid the #31 car had no mechanical problems all weekend.
Each one of the drivers is an accomplished racer, but none of them had ever won the 24 Hours at Daytona. For Luhr (winner of four American Le Mans Series races last year), Pobst (winner of three ALMS races last year), Fitzgerald (Grand-Am GT champion and world-wide Porsche Cup winner), and Christian Menzel (top European GT driver), winning at Daytona is one step above everything.
"What an accomplishment for The Westward Ho/Petersen Motorsports Porsche team - a class win and second overall," said Fitzgerald, who plans to run the entire American Le Mans Series with Petersen for 2001 in the Porsche.
Third overall and second in GT - is the #86 Freisinger Motorsports with Wolfgang Kaufman/Cyril Chateau/Lance Stewart Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Third in GT is the defending Rolex 24 GT championship group of drivers - Fabio Rosa/Gabrio Rosa/Fabio Babini/Alex Caffi - in the #56 Seikel Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RS, while the #43 Orbit Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Kyle Petty/Leo Hindery/Peter Baron/Gian Luigi Buitoni fourth in class. Rounding out the top five in the GT class is the #81 G&W Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Darren Law/David Murry/Cort Wagner/Matt Drendel.
There was a special drama in the battle between #43 and #81, as the G&W car passed the Orbit racing machine with only two laps to go. The two Porsches proceed to run nose-to-tail right up to the checkered flag, where many of the multi-car teams were block ing the track posing for finish-line photos. #81 driver Darren Law went high on the banking, but was blocked by the Corvettes and the Marcos cars, while #43's Peter Baron went low on the apron and avoided the finish-line congestion.
In GTS, the #01 Bytzek Motorsport Porsche GT1 of Henry Bytzek/John Brenner/Larry Schumacher/James Holtom finished sixth overall and third in class. The other Bytzek car, the #0 Porsche GT of Scott Maxwell/David Empringham/Richard Spenard/Klaus Bytzek, le ad the GTS class early, but overheated the transmission and spent many hours changing the unit in the garage area. Although #0 got back in the event, it was 177 laps behind the leading Corvette.
Web sites that have final overall results the Grand American Road Racing site (www.grand-am.com), the ON TRACK site, (www.ontrackonline.com), The Race Site (www.theRaceSite.com), Speedvision site (www.speedvision.com), the CompuServe site (www.motorsports forum.com), and www.motorsport.com.
Besides Porsche.com, other web sites that will follow the overall event include the Grand American Road Racing site (www.grand-am.com), the ON TRACK site, (www.ontrackonline.com), The Race Site (www.theRaceSite.com), Speedvision site (www.speedvision.com), the CompuServe site (www.motorsportsforum.com), and www.motorsport.com.
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<pre> 2001 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona - Final GT Results
Car # Drivers
31 Mike Fitzgerald/Lucas Luhr/Randy Pobst/Christian Menzel, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, 648 laps
86 Wolfgang Kaufman/Lance Stewart/Cyril Chateau, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, 644 laps
56 Fabio Rosa/Gabrio Rosa/Fabio Babini/Alex Caffi, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, 637 laps
43 Kyle Petty/Leo Hindry/Gian Luigi Buitoni/Peter Baron, Porsche 911 GT3 RS 630 laps
81 Darren Law/Matt Drendle/David Murry/Cort Wagner, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 630 laps
10 Rick Fairbanks/Bill Auberlen/Chris Gleason/Chris Miller, BMW M3 V8, 627 laps
39 Michael Petersen/Hugh Plumb/Michael Culver/Kim Hiskey, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 627 laps
50 Craig Stanton/Andy Hajducky/Bob Oniglia, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 618 laps
34 Spencer Pumpelly/Steve Ivankovich/Rick Dilorio/Tom Pumpelly, Porsche 911 GT3R 585 laps
40 Luca Cattaneo/Antonio DeCastro/Renato Bicciato/Franco Bugane,Porsche 911 GT3R 583 laps