Watkins Glen: Farnbacher Loles Racing preview

Farnbacher Loles Racing will have six hours to show its championship-winning form this week, in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. Team owner Gregory Loles hopes two factors will boost the team's three...

Farnbacher Loles Racing will have six hours to show its championship-winning form this week, in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. Team owner Gregory Loles hopes two factors will boost the team's three Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars in Saturday's six-hour race -- a series rule change adding weight to the Pontiac cars that have dominated the GT class this season and a forecast for wet weather.

"The Glen is one of the most famous circuits in the world, easily my personal favorite in the U.S. Our team has endless laps around this place and we feel very prepared for this race," Loles said. "The Porsche will be more competitive here than the drubbing we sustained at Lime Rock [the last race]. We must remain optimistic the adjustments made earlier this week will add to our competitiveness. I would be less than honest to say the forecast for rain doesn't bring a smile to our faces ..."

threes

Defending Rolex Series GT champion Dirk Werner of Kissenbruck, Germany, will drive the No. 87 Porsche at Watkins Glen with his usual co-driver Dominik Farnbacher of Ansbach, Germany, and Wolf Henzler of Nurtingen, Germany. Henzler earned GT class wins in 2005 and 2006 at Watkins Glen, and he's ready for a third victory.

"I had three starts at The Glen and I have good memories of those races. In 2005, I won with Leh Keen and Cory Friedman and in 2006, I won with Robin Liddell," Henzler recalled. "I am looking forward to racing there because I like the race track -- not only because of its history. To be in the 87 with Dominik and Dirk gives me hope for a good race result again and a push for the team in the 2008 season with so much bad luck."

local lore

Eric Lux, currently attending school in Jacksonville, Fla., considers the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen road course home turf because of its proximity to his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. Lux will team with 2005 class winner Leh Keen of Charleston, S.C., and Pierre Kaffer of Salenstein, Switzerland, in the No. 86 Porsche.

"The diversity of the corners -- and especially the high-speed corners -- really makes this an enjoyable circuit to race on. The circuit seems to go on forever with the scenery changes and elevation changes. It can give you the impression that you are racing on the original circuit, which went through the countryside," Lux noted. "Leh has had several good results and a win at the circuit, so it is safe to say we are both looking forward to going for the win."

tight end to tight turns

Former pro football player Steve Johnson of Bristol, Va., will share driving duty in the No. 88 Porsche with Dave Lacey of Toronto, Ont., and John Potter of Salt Lake City, Utah. Although he's lost 20 pounds, Johnson believes smaller drivers will have an advantage on the demanding Watkins Glen track.

"Watkins Glen is a track that has it all -- very technical and at the same time plenty of places for straight-line speed. The uphill esses 'flat out' is one of the most exhilarating things a human could possibly do," he said. "I wish that I didn't weigh 250, because I can really feel the car strain coming up out of the toe of the Boot [turn]. I really wish that Grand-Am would weigh the cars with the drivers in them. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!"

-credit: flr

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Robin Liddell , Dave Lacey , Cory Friedman , Pierre Kaffer , Wolf Henzler , Steve Johnson , Lehman Keen , Eric Lux , Dominik Farnbacher , Dirk Werner , John Potter