WeatherTech Racing Porsche qualifies 15th for Rolex 24 at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - WeatherTech Racing driver Jeroen Bleekemolen, of Monte Carlo, qualified the No. 23 WeatherTech Racing Porsche prepared by Alex Job Racing 15th on the GT grid, in preparation for this weekend's 51st GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Rolex 24 at Daytona.
On his seventh circuit around 12-turn, 3.56-mile modified oval track, Bleekemolen turned his fastest qualifying lap with a 1:48.716 (117.885 mph). Bleekemolen believes that warmer track temperatures contributed to the qualifying performance.
"It definitely was not a good qualifying run for us," Bleekemolen said. "I think, in certain conditions, we are really fast. We are on the pace. But, we struggled a bit when it got warmer and the track temperature went up. This morning we were good and then this afternoon we seemed to lose overall grip. It's a nice feeling to start at the front and it's a shame we did not make it. But, for the race, it doesn't matter too much. It's just about surviving the beginning. I'm sure we'll have a strong car for the race. I am really confident about that. We've got to work a bit harder on the setup and try a couple of other things. All in all, I'm not too worried."
"We're obviously disappointed in qualifying 15th," Team Owner Alex Job said. "We expected to be with the front group (the top four GT qualifiers are driving Porsches). But, somehow we must have missed the setup."
"Jeroen said, 'When the temperatures are cooler, we're right there at the front. But, when the temperatures get warmer, we fall back.' We definitely missed on the car setup with warmer temperatures. Qualifying doesn't matter in the big picture. It's a 24-hour race. But, it certainly helps the team's momentum when you start higher than 15th. We certainly expected to be in the top 3 to 5. But, we're not there. Now, we'll go to work on the car and make it a good race car."
Fellow drivers Cooper MacNeil, of Hinsdale, Ill., Damien Faulkner, of Ireland, and Marco Holzer, of Germany, will share driving duties with Bleekemolen in the No. 23 WeatherTech Racing Porsche.
SPEED Channel will carry live coverage of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on TV and the Internet. Live TV coverage is from 3 to 11 p.m. Jan. 26. During the overnight hours from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. Jan. 26/27, fans can watch the race on the Internet at SPEEDTV.com. Live TV coverage resumes at 9 a.m. through the race finish Jan. 27.
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 67 wins (since 1995), including a 1999 Rolex 24 GT Class win. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won four championships (GTC 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts eight Sebring 12-hour wins.
The GRAND-AM category suits one of the most popular factory produced racing cars in the world, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Developed for Porsche's one-make series around the world, the new version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is based on the road-going 911 GT3 RS. The power unit featured in the new 911 GT3 Cup is largely identical to the production engine of the 911 GT3 RS with the same output of 450 bhp and the same maximum engine speed of 8,500 rpm.