Team Seattle drivers Ian James, Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas had a successful Roar Before the 24 test at Daytona International Speedway behind the wheel of the No. 23 Team Seattle Porsche 911 GT America this weekend. The trio of drivers will be joined by Porsche factory driver Marco Holzer for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s 52nd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Jan. 25-26.
Drivers Ian James (Phoenix, Ariz), Mario Farnbacher (Ansbach, Germany) and Alex Riberas (Barcelona, Spain) all were able to get maximum drive time at the wheel of the Team Seattle Porsche around the 3.56-mile, 12-turn World Center of Racing modified oval road course. The focus of the team was to get familiar with each other, the car and the track.
Leading the driving team is veteran sports car driver James.
“We had a good test this weekend at Daytona,” James said. “The Alex Job Racing team worked through the program for the weekend, really the things that we needed adjust from the last test. The Team Seattle Porsche got better and easier to drive every session. We are just working towards a fast and comfortable set-up for the race. Mario and Alex are great guys. Everyone is jelling well together and we welcome Marco to the team for the race. The GTD Class this year with 28 cars in the race is going to be the class to watch. There are some great drivers and teams. As a racing driver you want to run against the best and this is where the competition is this year.”
Farnbacher will be running his second Rolex 24 at the end of the month.
“We had a few issues early on Friday, but he Alex Job Team Seattle guys quickly sorted through them,” Farnbacher said. “We were able to get right down to the small details of getting a good set-up on the car. I drove here last year, but this year the competition is very high. The Porsche is really performing well in relation to the rest of the field. We will have to wait for qualifying to see what everyone really has, but the 911 has always proven to be fast here at Daytona.”
Riberas is a Porsche junior factory driver and new comer to the Rolex 24 and endurance racing.
“This is my first experience at Daytona,” Riberas said. “For me it is a magic experience to be here racing. The high-banking is completely different, really an opposite experience from the tracks that I have driven so far in my career. The first time I drove onto the banking, I thought that it was completely nuts. I am having so much fun learning this track and driving the NASACAR banking. This will by my first 24 hour race and I am slowly getting used to the traffic. It is tricky to drive and look in the mirrors the whole time. The team is very strong, my teammates are fast and we will be ready for the 24 hours.”
Alex Job, AJR team principal, is satisfied with the team’s progress over the three-day test.
“This is an all new team for us this year and I am very happy with the way the group has come together this weekend.” Job said. “Together with Don Kitch Jr. and Gabe Newell from the Team Seattle group, I think we have assembled a very formidable team for the race and the year. Ian, Alex and Mario did a great job working with the team to sort through the set-up of the Team Seattle Porsche to turn some really great laps this weekend. When Marco comes for the race he will bring a lot of speed and a great deal of set-up knowledge that will only push us closer to the front. We are excited for the race in two weeks.”