VIR: Farnbacher Loles Racing preview

Farnbacher Loles Racing heads to Virginia International Raceway this week, looking for a second-consecutive Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT victory on the 3.27-mile road course in Alton, Va. The team charged to the class win at VIR last year...

Farnbacher Loles Racing heads to Virginia International Raceway this week, looking for a second-consecutive Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT victory on the 3.27-mile road course in Alton, Va. The team charged to the class win at VIR last year en route to winning the series GT team and driver championships. With three strong entries this year, a repeat performance is possible.

Defending GT champion Dirk Werner of Kissenbruck, Germany, and Dominik Farnbacher of Ansbach, Germany, will lead the charge in the No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Leh Keen of Charleston, S.C., and Eric Lux of Jacksonville, Fla., will drive the No. 86 Porsche. And Steve Johnson of Bristol, Va., will join Dave Lacey of Toronto, Ont., in the No. 88 Porsche. The two-hour 45-minute race is scheduled for April 27.

power team

Dirk Werner and Dominik Farnbacher were teammates last year, but drove different cars. They battled for first place at VIR, with Werner and his co-driver, Bryce Miller of Hoboken, N.J., taking the victory. Werner and Farnbacher are teamed together this year in the No. 87 Porsche.

"At VIR, Dominik and I were very good last year and I think if we team together, we have a very good chance to win the race," Werner said. "VIR is one of my favorite U.S. tracks. It has a lot of fast turns, a lot of turns where you need to have courage to drive fast, so it's really a driver track. I'm really looking forward to the race -- I think we'll have a good chance to win."

Farnbacher agreed: "Last year, I was right behind Dirk and we were fighting for first. We were so much quicker than the rest of the field! Unfortunately, I made a little mistake and went off the track and damaged my radiator, so we didn't get the one-two finish. But it was a very good race and I think we will be great this year as co-drivers."

all-American pair

Leh Keen and Eric Lux are proud to be Farnbacher Loles Racing's all-American driver duo. They share a passion for racing on road courses like Virginia International Raceway that test their ability on a variety of turns.

"VIR is one of the first tracks I raced at, so it's always been one of my favorites," Lux said. "It has everything from the slow-speed esses to the high-speed esses, some really technical corners and downhill, fast corners to uphill corners. It's fairly narrow. Leh likes the track as much as I do. Mexico, Virginia, Watkins Glen and Laguna -- we like those kind of tracks; it's really easy to get into a rhythm and just go out racing without even thinking about it. Virginia should be another great track for us."

Keen noted, "My fave part of the course is the oak tree turn -- the slowest turn on the track, but that's definitely not why. It's because it leads to the fastest part of the track, the long straight. I do my best, usually sideways over the exit curb, get the power down, then a relaxing full wide-open throttle trip down the straight and over a big rolling hill, sit back and relax and think about how to finish off the lap as best as I can, then come over the top of the hill and shoot down into the braking for the next corner."

tall team

Dave Lacey's usual co-driver, Greg Wilkins, has taken a leave of absence from his corporate duties and from racing for health reasons. Steve Johnson moved from Synergy Racing to drive with Lacey, starting with this week's race.

"Our best wishes go to Greg and his family during this difficult time, and we hope to have him back with us as soon as possible," team owner Gregory Loles said. "In the meantime, we're welcoming a new driver to our team, Steve Johnson, who is joining us for the balance of the season. I want to welcome him and also acknowledge the Synergy Racing people for making this a very smooth and efficient transition for all of us."

Johnson, a former tight end with the New England Patriots football team, matches Lacey's six-foot-plus height. Lacey noted the pair will not need to adjust the seat in their No. 88 Porsche during driver changes.

"I'm looking forward to VIR," he said. "It's one of my favorite tracks, with the high-speed esses the best section, in my opinion. It will be fun because Steve and I are the biggest guys in the paddock, so we should have no seat-fitting issues at all."

-credit: -- farnbacherlolesracing.com --

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Dave Lacey , Greg Wilkins , Steve Johnson , Lehman Keen , Eric Lux , Dominik Farnbacher , Dirk Werner , Bryce Miller