TAVARES, Fla. - Alex Job Racing (AJR) drivers Bill Sweedler (Westport, Conn.), Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), Frankie Montecalvo (Highlands, N.J.), and Pierre Kaffer (Germany) are ready to put No. 23 Audi R8 LMS to work for a full day at this weekend's IMSA WeatherTech Championship Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona International Speedway.
The 55th running of the Daytona classic has the team from nearby Tavares excited for their 23rd involvement in the twice-around-the-clock race. The team has won the race twice (1999 with Porsche and 2013 with an Audi R8) and was leading up until 90 minutes last year. They know anything can happen and will with 27 cars entered in the ultra-competitive GTD class this year. Coming off a successful Roar Before the 24 test where they were a fixture in the top five, they hope to turn that performance into win on Sunday afternoon with their all-new Audi R8.
"I am really excited to find out how the Audi R8 stands up to the 26 other cars in the GTD field at Daytona this weekend," Bell said. "I know we have a very good race car with the Audi R8. How good the others will be won't be revealed until the sun comes up on Sunday. It's always a shock to the system to come out of the gate with the longest event and then everything else is a breeze the rest of the season so I am doing my usual round of training: cycling, kayak, running, CXC simulator. The challenge Saturday to Sunday for me is sleeping when you're supposed to sleep. My mind is still racing and I never can really shut down when I need to."
"I think the Audi R8 is an incredible GT3 platform," Montecalvo said. "The performance from AJR at the Roar test just shows how competitive we should be this weekend at the 24. In preparation for Daytona, I have been studying video and data gathered from the test to learn as much as possible. I also plan on some karting prior to the race. For Daytona I plan on just giving it my all for the team. They will have the car prepared and they have a lot of endurance experience. I've learned you can just do your best and that's all that matters."
"I am ready to go for my second 24 hour win and the team's third this weekend at Daytona," Sweedler said. "It was a great feeling to leave the Roar test with everyone really in sync with the car and each other. Frankie and Pierre blended in perfectly with myself and Townsend and the AJR team. The lap times are great for all four drivers and we are ready to take on 24 hours of racing this weekend."
"GTD this year is very strong," Kaffer said. "With Alex Job, I'm with a very good team and together with my great teammates I am sure we will have the pace. I know I can count on our Audi R8 to be reliable and fast. That's what we need in a 24 hour race like Daytona. I am looking forward to a hard fought 24 hours of racing."
"We have put in the work in the shop on the Audi R8 LMS," Alex Job, team owner, said. "There has been shuffling of the B.O.P. since the Roar, so we will have to see what practice and qualifying brings to see where the giant 27-car GTD field lines up for Saturday. I think strategy this year more than ever will play a huge role especially going into Sunday morning with driver rotations."
The Rolex 24 At Daytona race weekend is set for Jan. 26-29. The green flag drops at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Jan. 28, with pre-race coverage on FOX starting at 2 p.m. (ET). FOX will carry the first two and a half hours of the race before switching over to FOX Sports 2 from 5 to 10 p.m. (ET) and then again from 11 p.m. (ET) to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. Race coverage will continue on FOX Sports 1 at 12:30 p.m. through the end of the race.
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.
Audi of America
Audi began a new chapter in 2009 with the introduction of the Audi Sport customer racing program. For the first time, it was possible for motorsport customers to acquire a race car designed for the track. Since its inception, the success of the R8 LMS has been significant throughout GT3 racing series worldwide, with multiple victories in the Pirelli World Challenge since 2012. The all-new R8 LMS had strong endurance racing debuts, winning both the 2015 24 hours of Nürburgring and the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, concluding the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech season with the Manufacturer's Championship in GTD. The Audi R8 LMS shares more than 50% of its parts with the Audi R8 street car including the naturally aspirated V10 5.2 liter engine, the Audi Space Frame and a variety of other components. Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. The Audi Group delivered over 1,800,000 vehicles to customers globally in 2015, and broke all-time company sales records for the 6th straight year in the U.S. Visit audiusa.com, audiusa.com/newsroom or audiusa.com/motorsport for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.