Second row start for season finale
TAVARES, Fla. - The Heart of Racing team will start its 10-hour quest to win the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (TPNAEC) at Road Atlanta tomorrow.
Drivers Mario Farnbacher (Germany), Alex Riberas (Spain) and Ian James (Phoenix, Ariz.) lead the TPNAEC by one point in the GTD Class. The 10-hour season ending Petit Le Mans race run at the 2.4-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta circuit will be decided by 9:10 p.m. tomorrow evening.
In this afternoon's qualifying session, Farnbacher had the wheel of the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche GT3R. In a tight battle for pole position he laid down a fast lap on his third circuit of the undulating Road Atlanta circuit. For a moment he held the top spot until he was bested by Jeroen Bleekemolen in the Viper who posted a blistering lap of 1:21.305. The young German would come back on his sixth lap and post a time of 1:21.898 good for a third place starting position for tomorrow's 11:10 a.m. start.
"Our goal is to win the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup," Farnbacher said. "The team always gives us a good race car. We have been focused on the set-up of the car for the race, not so much for qualifying. We are starting at the front of the field which is good. I am looking forward to a competitive race tomorrow and our car coming out on top at 9 p.m."
"The team has been working a lot on the car all weekend," Riberas said. "We have used every available lap of free practice to make the car better. We have done our homework, we understand how the car behaves. We are sure we will have a good Porsche for the full 10-hours of the race tomorrow. The only unknown is to see how the track progresses tomorrow, but right now we are ready to compete for the win."
"We always focus our efforts on the race set-up with the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche," James said. "The team and drivers has worked on the handling of the car, with a big effort on the set-up when night falls. We may have not had a great qualifying car, but we have a lot of confidence in our race car. We are going for the win tomorrow."
"Mario, Alex and Ian have worked very hard with our engineers and crew on the race set-up all weekend," Team Owner Alex Job said. "We really don't have a qualifying set-up, we prefer to focus on the big prize. Although we are not in contention for the overall GTD championship we are very much in the picture to win the TNAEC and that is the goal."
The WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Petit Le Mans will be televised on FOX Sports 1 starting at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 4. Live timing can viewed at IMSA.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.