Team Seattle -The Heart of Racing drivers Ian James, Mario Farnbacher, Alex Riberas and Maco Holzer are ready to take on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s 52nd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona in their No. 23 Team Seattle Porsche 911 GT America this weekend, Jan. 25-26.
Drivers Ian James (Phoenix, Ariz), Mario Farnbacher (Ansbach, Germany), Alex Riberas (Barcelona, Spain) and Marco Holzer (Bobingen, Germany) form a formidable team to conquer the 3.56-mile, 12-turn World Center of Racing modified oval road course. The focus for Team Seattle “The Heart of Racing” is on winning the race, but also on collecting maximum dollars for children’s pediatric care.
“We are entering our 18th year of combining racing with our passion of raising money to help the Seattle Children’s Hospital and pediatric cardiac health care nationally,” Don Kitch, Team Seattle-The Heart of Racing team manager said. “Through our racing efforts we have raised over $5.5 million dollars to help children with pediatric health issues. This year, with the help of Gabe Newell, I think we are going to have our most successful Rolex 24 At Daytona on the track and with pledges to help support our great cause. We are accepting donations and pledges at theheartofracing.org or teamseattle.com.”
On the driving side, James is looking at his most competitive Rolex 24 ever.
“This year’s Daytona GTD Class is probably the most competitive in recent memory,” James said. “Great teams, great drivers and the biggest class, it is without doubt the toughest class at the Rolex 24. So far the Porsche has proved it is in the mix with the other GTD manufacturers. Until the green flags drops I don’t know if we will know exactly how it stacks up. What I do know is the 23 Heart of Racing entry is up for the fight. Preparation in terms of conditioning, diet and schedule is very important leading into our crown jewel race. More than anything we need to keep hydrated and fueled throughout the weekend.”
Farnbacher is excited to be running his second Rolex 24.
“First of all I have to say it is one of the biggest and one of the most popular races in the world,” Farnbacher said. “So it is always awesome to get the chance to do the race. This year it will be my second time. This year is a lot different from 2013. We now have four different classes in one race. So this means a lot more cars are on track. Also the level of competitive drivers is now on a higher level. My goal is to run consistent laps and have no mistakes in my stints. We will also try to save the car and drive fast at the same time. Between driving and when I am out of the car, especially at night I have to sleep. We need to sleep a few hours, because it is challenging for your body. It is all for recovery. I think with my co-drivers and with the Team Seattle Porsche we have a very good package to finish the race successfully. But, as always in racing, we will need a bit of luck. So a lot of crossing of the fingers.”
Riberas is running his second 24 hour race and is looking forward to the spectacle of Daytona.
“This will be my second 24 hour race I’ve ever done and I’m sure I have plenty of room for improvement in terms of dealing with the night driving,” Riberas said. “I’m looking forward to everything. I’ve heard so many stories about it and everyone tells me it’s a huge event. I just can’t wait to see the environment and to drive surrounded by this big show. In my first experience in Dubai, I was too excited to go to sleep, which wasn’t optimal for my performance. This time I will try to relax and work a bit more with our physiotherapists to rest properly during the night and keep myself fresh. At the moment it looks like the Audi R8s are a bit stronger than everyone else, but one thing is the tests days and the other thing is the race. I’m pretty sure we will not know where we are until qualifying.”
Alex Job, AJR team principal, has the team ready for a good result on Sunday.
“Team Seattle has always done a great job to translate the excitement of motorsports into raising money for Seattle Children’s Hospital,” Job said. “We are ready to turn maximum laps to make a lot dollars for the kids and be in a position to be a factor in the race on Sunday afternoon. I am confident after the Roar test that we have all of the components on the team to have a really solid Rolex 24 At Daytona.”
Team Seattle has produced an informational video on its Heart of Racing program. To view, please click on the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWtG6RNJJkI&app=desktop
The new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona will be broadcast live on FOX starting at 2 p.m. on Jan. 25. At 4 p.m. FOX Sports will pick-up the broadcast. IMSA.com will carry the action at 9 p.m. through the night and FOX Sports will return at 7 a.m. and take the race to the finish on Jan. 26.