The Racer's Group ready to defend Daytona 24 GT title

The Racer's Group launches three-car assault in defense of Rolex 24 GT title. Tom Hessert III To make history as youngest Rolex 24 racer. DAYTONA BEACH (January 29, 2003) -- The Racer's Group trailers arrived in Daytona today to prepare for the...

The Racer's Group launches three-car assault in defense of Rolex 24 GT title.
Tom Hessert III To make history as youngest Rolex 24 racer.

DAYTONA BEACH (January 29, 2003) -- The Racer's Group trailers arrived in Daytona today to prepare for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona. In the trailers were the team's new 2003 Porsche 911 GT3 RS, as well as the 2002 Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 2002 24 Hours of Le Mans winning GT cars, that the team will field in this weekend's race in defense of their GT title.

"Naturally, we're excited about the Daytona race, but we're confident about it. Everyone that was with us last year when we won the race is back this year, from the tire guy to the truck driver to the four drivers in car #66. The competition's a lot stronger this year, but we're absolutely prepared for what's ahead. We like our chances, and we're going to Daytona to repeat."

Buckler continued, "Last year, we won at Le Mans because we were more efficient in the pits than the rest of the teams -- we won by a margin of one minute -- and the same strategy applies to the Rolex. Twenty-four hours seems like a long time, but you have to look at the whole race as a math equation. If another team is even half of a second faster on pit stops than us through the course of the race, and there are 20 pit stops, that's 10 seconds that we have to make up on the track. Going 24 Hours straight without any mistakes is hard, but we found out last year that being totally prepared is the only way to win."

Among the 12 drivers slated to race the trio of The Racer's Group Porsches is the father-son duo of Tom Hessert Jr. and Tom Hessert III. Racing with his son in the Rolex 24 will be a dream come true for the elder Hessert, who is a former IMSA champion and three-time Rolex 24 class winner.

"It was 1997 that I last raced competitively. In fact one of my last wins came in the GT class during the 1997 Rolex 24 At Daytona," said Hessert Jr. "The real reason I am running at Daytona is to do it with my son. This will be a very proud moment for me. It is something he and I have talked about for years."

Sixteen-year-old Hessert III will make history when he slides behind the wheel of the The Racer's Group #68 Porsche as the youngest driver in Rolex 24 At Daytona history, breaking the record set by 17-year-old Clint Field in 2001.

"The really great part of it is the opportunity to race with my dad. This will be such an exciting time and such a great experience. Looking ahead I can't wait to race the full two and one-half mile super speedway, flat out," said the young Hessert.

Tickets for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 386-253-RACE. SPEED Channel will provide 16 hours of live coverage of the Rolex 24 on Saturday, Feb. 1, 12:30 p.m.-9 p.m. ET, and Sunday, Feb. 2, 6 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET.

Additional information about the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Clint Field , Tom Hessert III , Tom Hessert