DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Heart of Racing Porsche drivers Mario Farnbacher Germany), Ian James (Phoenix), Alex Riberas (Spain) and Wolf Henzler (Germany) are ready to race and raise money in The Heart of Racing 911 GT3R at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 54th running of the Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona, January, 30-31.
The team of four drivers from around the globe will converge on the World Center of Racing this weekend to go for victory in the all-new No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche GT3R. Another goal for the team is to raise money for children's cardiac care at Seattle Children's Hospital. The Heart of Racing Porsche will be turning laps with the hopes of winning the Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona, but also making circuits for the Heart Center at Seattle Children's Hospital. Over the past 19 years, the effort headed by Don and Donna Kitch, has generated over $5.5 million for the cause. As the team heads into Daytona there are already pledges equaling $129 for every lap that the No. 23 Heart of Racing Porsche turns in the race. Pledges can be made at https://giveto.seattlechildrens.org/teamseattle.
"The Rolex 24 is here. Every year my brother and I do a booth picture in the shopping mall next to the track as a good luck photo for the Rolex weekend so we are going to keep that tradition going," Farnbacher said. "The level of competition is very high as we witnessed at the Roar test three weeks ago. There are so many new cars with great driver line-ups this is going to be a very competitive race in the GTD Class. It will for sure be a 24-hour sprint race."
"With 22 cars in the GTD field, most of them new, the competition is the strongest we have seen in GT racing in America in the last 10 years. It's going to be epic," James said. "During the race I make sure that I stay hydrated and nourished before and after each stint. Good hot shower and a massage re-energizes you for the next run. I also try not to use too much energy up in the lead up to the race. It's a long week. My first Daytona 24-hour race I had to drive over 13 hours in the rain as my two teammates would not drive in the rain, that's a lot of driving."
I have been working hard at the High Performance Centre where I live to create a pretty accurate diet plan to make sure my energy levels are high everytime I'm in the car for this weekend," Riberas said. "I also make sure I pack my earplugs with me to get some decent sleep. Everybody is aware that the competition is very strong this year. All of the teams are ready to win this race and so are we. I can't find a reason why we shouldn't dream about Victory Lane. For sure it's going to be hard. But it would be boring if it was easy. A funny story in 2014, my first ever Rolex 24 weekend, we had to do a few VIP laps with a group of Seattle Children's Hospital guests. It turns out my rental car had some technical issues so after a couple of corners the car was literally on fire. Mario was right behind me and went on the radio and screamed 'Alex, stop! Your car is on fire.' I just looked at the mirror and thought - wow, no better way to start this journey."
"It is very difficult to judge the competition at the moment since the GT3 spec cars are new in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this year," Henzler said. "However I assume the competition will be very tough. There are so many good cars with impressive driver line-ups competing many cars could win. I really don't have any 24 rituals, I am afraid that I would forget and it will bother me when I am in the car. Regarding sleeping, I never really get a chance to sleep during a 24 hour race because I am always excited about how the race is going and look on timing and scoring. However, I do lay down and try to relax."
Team owner, Alex Job, knows the The Heart of Racing team needs a good run at Daytona to start the year of strong.
"Last year we had a mechanical issue that had us parked in the garage just before midnight," Job said. "The points for Daytona are very important for the rest of season. If we would have done well last year, we would have been leading the class going into Petit Le Mans. The team knows this and are very motivated to have a good run this weekend."
This year the team is installing a new incentive, "THE" Cardiac Crew. For every on track position that the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche improves as a result of the Cardiac Crew's fast pit work, a donation will be made to Seattle Children's Hospital and The Heart Center.
In addition the team's 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Championship season will be documented by Craig Brooks and Kontent Partners. To view the trailer got to http://bit.ly/1VewZvj.
The 54th running of the 24 Hours of Daytona will be televised over FOX Sports1 and 2 as well as streamed live at IMSA.tv. Starting on Saturday, January 30, FS1 will carry the start going live at 2 p.m. ET. FOX Sports 2 picks-up at 4 p.m. IMSA.tv will take over at 10 p.m. At 7 a.m. on Sunday, FOX Sports 1 returns, over to FOX Sports 2 at 10:30 a.m. and back to FOX Sports 1 for the finish at 1 p.m.
The Heart of Racing accepts donations and pledges for Seattle Children's Hospital at teamseattle.com.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD (GT Daytona) Class is made up of some the world's most sophisticated cars, including the Porsche 911 GT3 R, Ferrari 488, Lamborghini Huracan, Aston Martin, BMW M6, Viper SRT and Audi R8. All GTD Class cars run on the spec Continental tire.
The Heart of Racing
Founded in 1996, by Don and Donna Kitch, Team Seattle and The Heart of Racing is a group of sports car road racing fans, drivers, and corporate partners making a difference in our community by combining two passions: A love of motorsports and a commitment to Seattle Children's Hospital and pediatric cardiac health care nationally. The team uses the promotion and exposure of the racing program to fund raise and increase awareness of the financial needs for quality pediatric medical care. Since inception, Team Seattle has generated over $5.5 million for their cause. The Heart of Racing accepts donations and pledges for Seattle Children's Hospital at teamseattle.com.
Alex Job Racing
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 70 wins (since 1995); including two Rolex 24 GT Class wins in 1999 and 2013. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won five championships (GTC 2013, 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts ten Sebring 12-hour wins.
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD (GT Daytona) Class is made up of some the world's most sophisticated cars, including the Porsche 911 GT3 R, Ferrari 488 GTB, Lamborghini Huracan, Aston Martin DB9, BMW M6, Viper SRT and Audi R8 LMS. All GTD Class cars run on the spec Continental tire.