DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Heart of Racing Porsche is currently third after six hours of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona.
Mario Farnbacher (Germany) started eighth in the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche and dropped a few spots early in the race until the event's first full course caution came out on lap 11. During the yellow, IMSA officials announced the pass around and the No. 23 team thought the pass around included them. Unfortunately, it didn't. As a result, Farnbacher served a stop plus a three minute and 34 second penalty when the race went green on lap 16.
"Right at the beginning, we made a mistake," Farnbacher said. "We did a pass around and we weren't allowed to do a pass around. Because of this, I got a three minute stop and go penalty. That put us back [two laps]. Now, we are fighting to get back on to the lead lap. [Despite the penalty], we ran pretty well. We didn't try to push too much so we could save the car for the end of the race. There's still a long way to go."
Farnbacher did a double stint to start the 54th Rolex 24 before turning the No. 23 Alex Job-prepared Porsche over to teammate Ian James (Phoenix) on lap 75. Though James started his first stint two laps down, he managed to keep the The Heart of Racing team in contention near the top 10. On lap 95, he came to pit lane for fuel, tires and Farnbacher got back in to start his third stint.
"It was pretty uneventful," James said of his stint. "We are in a conserve the brakes mode. There is only so fast we really want to go. I was just in cruise mode. We're trying to get Mario five hours [of driving] so the team gets points regardless of what happens the rest of the race. Our strategy is to sit back and wait. We're fine tuning the car and making it a little better with each stop. The car is nice to drive."
During Farnbacher's third stint, he benefited from a few timely cautions, coupled with turning some fast lap times to get back on the lead lap. In fact, he battled his brother Dominique for second place before briefly taking the overall GTD lead on lap 142. One lap later, the team called Farnbacher to pit lane for fuel, tires and a driver change. That's when Alex Riberas (Spain) took the wheel for his first stint.
"I had my brother in front of me and it was a lot of fun to drive against him," Farnbacher said. "There's a lot of respect between my brother and I. I tried to stay clean, save the car and give a good car to my teammate."
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 $227 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.
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 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.