SCC: Synergy Racing Daytona test notes

Synergy Racing among fastest at Rolex 24 testing at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 6, 2007) -- Synergy Racing secured its spot among the top GT contenders to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 26-27, with a highly successful test at ...

Synergy Racing among fastest at Rolex 24 testing at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 6, 2007) -- Synergy Racing secured its spot among the top GT contenders to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 26-27, with a highly successful test at Daytona International Speedway this weekend. By the end of the three-day test, the No. 81 EMC Mechanical/Gamewell Mechanical Porsche GT3 Cup (997) was turning some of the fastest laps in the GT class.

While the team only had possession of its new Porsche GT3 Cup (997) for a week prior to the test, the crew and all-star driver line-up were able to modify and tweak the car throughout the test to become the second fastest in the GT class during Saturday morning's session with a 1:52.991 lap averaging 113.425 mph on Daytona's 3.56-mile road course, putting it among the five fastest GT cars of the weekend.

American Steve Johnson (Bristol, Va.) is teamed with a trio of top European Porsche racers--Patrick Huisman (The Netherlands), Richard Westbrook (England) and Richard Lietz (Austria)--in the EMC Mechanical/Gamewell Mechanical Porsche for the Rolex 24, and all four drivers report they are extremely pleased with this weekend's test.

"It has been a fantastic test," said Westbrook. "It was a test in the true sense of the word, because when we got here we were struggling, but the guys have worked so hard and we ended up after three days with a very, very good car. After the first day, we were up against for sure. But the guys are so good; now we can go into the race feeling confident."

"We started off a bit rocky, but things came together quickly," Johnson agreed. "We have a good platform by which we can fine tune from. The crew has gelled over these three days, and the drivers are fantastic. I think Patrick, Richard and Richard are probably as good as it gets."

Team Seattle ahead in donations and on the track Team Seattle, the philanthropic racing organization that raises funds for Seattle Children's Hospital during the Rolex 24, is already ahead of where it was last year in its fundraising efforts. The organization's founder Don Kitch (Bellevue, Wash.) reported the group currently has pledges for more than $425 per lap completed during the race.

"We expect to be lapping at somewhere between $600 and $700 by the time the race gets here," said Kitch, who is one of eight Team Seattle drivers competing in Synergy's No. 82 and No. 83 Porsche GT3 Cup cars.

In addition to being ahead in pledges, the group of drivers is also ahead of where they were last year on the track. This year's three-day test ran so smoothly the team opted to forgo some of the final practices on Saturday because it felt the drivers and cars were where they needed to be, and it was best to preserve the cars for the grueling 24 hours that await them later this month.

David Gaylord (Graham, Wash.), Don Pickering (Reno, Nevada), Hal Hilton (Issaaquah, Wash.) and Ben McCrackin (Corpus Christi, Texas) are the drivers of the No. 83 Porsche, which turned a top average speed of 108.305 mph at 1:58.305 on Friday. Chris Pennington (Redmond, Wash.), Chris Pallis (Mercer Island, Wash.) and Tony Bawcutt (Kirkland, Wash.) join Kitch in the No. 82 Porsche, which had a best lap of 1:59.769 at 107.006 mph.

Team Seattle continues to take pledges for its Rolex 24 effort to benefit Children's Hospital. More information, including pledge forms, are available online at

KONI Challenge drivers pleased with test Synergy Racing also tested one of its KONI Challenge (formerly Grand-Am Cup) entries at Daytona this weekend. Drivers Brent Martini (Laguna Beach, Calif.), Michael Avenetti (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nevada) took laps in the No. 71 Porsche 997 during the three-day test in preparation for the series' season opener, which will be held on Friday, January 26 as a precursor to the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

"I think the test went great," said Martini. "We're using our old car from last year. We've made a number of modifications to it, and they all seemed to have worked. We'll use all that to continue to build the second car for the Daytona season opener. We were fortunate to have Pat Long back with us to help test, and he and I agree this is the best handling car we've ever had."

The No. 71 Porsche's quickest lap of the weekend came on the final day of testing, clocking a 2:03.660 lap averaging 103.472 mph around the 3.56-mile circuit. The time was the 15th fastest of the weekend among the field of 65 KONI Challenge entries.

-credit: synergy racing

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Patrick Huisman , Patrick Long , Brent Martini , David Gaylord , Hal Hilton , Steve Johnson , Chris Pallis , Ben McCrackin , Chris Pennington , Richard Lietz , Tony Bawcutt