TAVARES, Fla. - The Heart of Racing Porsche drivers Mario Farnbacher (Germany) and Alex Riberas (Spain) are ready for this weekend's IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix presented by Mazda to run at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, April 29-May 1.
Farnbacher will be joined by Riberas for the remainder of the season with team stalwart Ian James (Phoenix, Az.) joining them for the Watkins Glen and Petiti Le Mans. The European duo are currently third in the GTD points standings. For Riberas it will be a season of learning new tracks and getting used to the different strategies that each race will bring. With the tutelage by Ian James and Don Kitch the team is confident the young duo will be exciting to watch as the series gets into the heart of the schedule. This weekend's race on the Monterey Peninsula will be two, two-hour split races with the Prototype and GTLM cars running together and the Prototype Challenge and GTD running together.
"This weekend's race is going to be like a real sprint race just with strategy," Farnbacher said. "It is a packed field of GTD cars and I am anticipating hard fights at every turn. Laguna has traditionally been a good track for Porsche. So I have positive thoughts for the race and the new car. I am excited to partner with Alex for the season. We are good friends and he is a fast driver. Ian is a big part of the team and great stabilizing force. The three of us will work hard this season to get top finishes in the Heart of Racing Porsche."
Between races the drivers visited with patients at Children's Hospital in Seattle. "We had the opportunity to visit with Bella and Tanner at the Children's Hospital in Seattle," he continued. "I am hoping to say hi to them on live TV from victory lane. It's important for us to support and help them as they wait for heart transplants. Every lap is a win for the kids!"
Riberas is ready for the challenge that the remainder of the WeatherTech Championship season will bring.
"It's clearly something different for me, but I'm really excited to start this part of the season," Riberas said. "In the shorter races, drivers are more aggressive and at the same time mistakes are much more expensive. The biggest challenge for me will be to learn all these new race tracks which I have never driven before. Hopefully Mario and Ian will give me a few tips and we will be competitive enough to fight for the victory at Laguna. I am sure the Porsche will be strong in the shorter races. At Sebring we had great pace during the last part of the race and that gives me confidence going to Laguna this weekend.
Riberas on driving Farnbacher, "Mario is like the brother I never had. We get along extremely well and it's a dream for me to race alongside him this entire season. He is one of the quickest drivers I have ever seen and he already has some experience in the USA. I hope I can learn a lot from him and hopefully that helps us to get on top of our game. I am also looking forward to having Ian's input as well. He is a great mentor and teammate."
"Mario and Alex are two of the youngest drivers in the series," Team Owner Alex Job said. "Alex will have to do his homework and be open minded to input from Ian and Don Kitch on learning all of the new tracks he is going to run. But, he has proven to be a great team player and I think we are in for an exciting year in the Heart of Racing Porsche."
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will be televised live on FOX Sports 2, Sunday, May 1, starting at 6 p.m. ET.
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.