DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Team Seattle -The Heart of Racing is running 10th at the six hour mark of TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The No. 23 Team Seattle Porsche got off to an inauspicious start to the 53rd Rolex 24. Driver Mario Farnbacher, who started from the seventh row, had to pit just as the green flag dropped to fix a brake issue. Unfortunately, the brief pit stop did not fix the issue. Farnbacher radioed the team and said the No. 23 machine was pulling hard to the left under braking. The team had Farnbacher pit again to address the issue. At that time, the team also noticed that the front splitter was broken. The team fixed the brake issue, but it cost them one lap.
Farnbacher continued to push throughout his stint to keep the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche within striking distance of getting back on the lead lap. On lap 29, the race's first full course caution came out. During this yellow, the team got a wave around. This put them back on the lead lap when Farnbacher brought the No. 23 machine to pit lane for fuel, tires and a driver change.
"On the formation lap, I had a bad feeling with the brakes," Farnbacher said of the race start. "The pedal so hard. I've never had such a hard pedal before in this car. On the first lap, I thought maybe it was cold brakes because everything is new. I thought it would be okay on the second lap. But, on the second lap, it got even worse. The car pulled to the left all the time. I had to come to the pits and the crew looked at the car and sent me out. But, I had the same problem again. So, I came in again. They fixed it and the pedal was fine again. What a start to the season."
Ian James, of Phoenix, Ariz., was buckled in and set to do his first stint when the the crew had an trouble refueling the car. Unfortunately, a problem with the fuel hose prevented fuel from getting into the car. This untimely issue cost Team Seattle three laps.
When James finally returned to the track, he was in 19th place in GTD. He spent most of his stint maintaining his position and, in fact, he picked up a few positions before making a pit stop on lap 63. During the pit stop, teammate Alex Riberas got into the car.
"We started the race with a few issues," James said. "Mario had a brake problem on the first lap and then, when I got in, we had a problem with the fuel hose. The car is good and feels very consistent. We are two hours into a 24 hour race so I am not too bothered."
To this point in the race, Team Seattle hadn't experienced much luck through the first couple hours of the race. But, as luck would have it, the race went full course caution just a few laps after they just made their pit stop. This allowed Team Seattle to get a wave by, which allowed them to pick up a lap and were now only two laps down.
With Riberas behind the wheel, he proceeded to turn some fast laps before he relinquished the machine to teammate Farnbacher.
"I am not too happy with my first stint," Riberas said. "Unfortunately Mario had no brakes in the first laps and he went off, which damaged the splitter. We are missing some downforce in the Bus Stop as a result. But, the car is quick. If we can fix that, we will be one of the fastest cars in the field so that will be good."
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 At Daytona is being broadcast on FOX Sports 1 from 8 - 10 p.m. and then then from 10 p.m. - 7 a.m. it will stream live at IMSA.com and return to FOX Sports 1 for the finish from 7 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. IMSA Radio will carry the entire broadcast, link at IMSA.com.
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTD (GT Daytona) Class is made up of some the world's most sophisticated cars, including the Porsche 911 GT America, Ferrari 458, Aston Martin, BMW Z4, Viper SRT and Audi R8. All GTD Class cars run on the spec Continental tire.
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 nine Sebring 12-hour wins.