(September 20, 2008) — All three Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsches led the GT class during the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series finale at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday, but the 2007 championship team had to settle for a pair of top-10 finishes after almost seven hours of racing.
The No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car led the team contingent, with Wolf Henzler of Nürtingen, Germany; Bryce Miller of Hoboken, N.J., and Dirk Werner of Kissenbrück, Germany, finishing eighth in class. The No. 88 Porsche was close behind, as Dominik Farnbacher of Ansbach, Germany; Steve Johnson of Bristol, Va., and Dave Lacey of Toronto, Ont., notched a ninth-place finish. Leh Keen of Charleston, S.C., and Eric Lux of Jacksonville, Fla., finished 13th in the No. 86 Porsche.
Keen started from the GT pole and was the first of the team’s class leaders. Henzler and Farnbacher then each led, followed by Keen again, then Lux and Werner.
The No. 88 Porsche pitted out of sequence to the rest of the class, giving the car the GT lead and fourth place overall early in the race. But it was the first team car to encounter trouble, with an intermittent alternator problem and a seatbelt glitch that slowed an early pitstop.
The No. 86 was hit next. Lux was the GT leader when a Daytona Prototype car slammed his Porsche off-track, forcing a long garage stop to repair suspension, bodywork and brakes. Werner and the No. 87 Porsche took over the class lead, but spun off-track as sudden, heavy rain created treacherous conditions mid-race.
But the Farnbacher Loles crew got everyone back on track and the three team Porsches took the checkered flag. They will have a brief hiatus before heading to Daytona International Speedway next month to start testing for the 2009 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Farnbacher Loles will team with the Children’s Tumor Foundation at the Rolex 24 to raise funds through its Racing for Research program. The team hosted a group of enthusiastic young fans at the Miller race to start the campaign.
Gregory Loles, team owner: “First of all, congratulations to Banner Racing for a well-deserved championship. Today we entered the race with three podium-level cars and it’s great all three led the race at some point. Unfortunately, once again, being in the wrong place at the wrong time cost us dearly. I am proud of the performance our team demonstrated this weekend and look forward to coming back with a championship campaign next year. Last but not least, I want to thank all our sponsors for making our race program possible.”
Leh Keen, No. 86: “The car was really good – the guys did a really, really awesome job. I had one of my best stints ever. I think we could have been up there for sure; we had a podium car. I felt sorry for Eric when he got tangled up with a DP and for Dirk in the 87 car. The team could have had a double podium. But we got back out and drove and had some fun. And the car was still pretty good!”
Eric Lux, No. 86: “What happened today was unfortunate and uncalled-for. I really hope Grand-Am does something in the future to enforce penalties when contact like that happens. But Farnbacher Loles gave us a great car, as usual. I didn’t think we were going to see the track again today. It was a massive impact to a critical part of a Porsche – in the rear. I figured our day was done, but we were out of the pits in about 25 minutes, which was awesome. We’ll hopefully come back again next year and see what we can do then.”
Wolf Henzler, No. 87: “It’s a little bit of a disappointing season. I was looking for a win to finish the season, but we had bad luck in the wet. Looking forward, I hope I can come back to Farnbacher Loles next year, and I hope we can turn all the back luck we had this year into good luck next year.”
Bryce Miller, No. 87: “I think we had a winning car today, for sure, with Dirk and Wolf as part of the lineup. It’s just unfortunate that we had the incident when the rain came, and I don’t know how some of the cars were able to hold their fuel as long as they did. We were hedging our bets that they would have to pit at the end, but that’s racing. We’ve experienced a lot of good success together as a team, so it doesn’t hit so hard. I’ll just try to keep focused on next year’s program and work with guys like Dirk and Wolf to get faster.”
Dirk Werner, No. 87: “I’m very disappointed. I feel bad for the team because this was not how we expected our last race to go. We had three fast cars, but none of the cars made it to a good position at the end of the race. The results don’t show the work the team has done over the year and also this race. I hope next year we’ll continue speed-wise from where we were this year. Because the cars were really good, we had a great team and we had a great year despite the fact that we didn’t have great success. We had a few good results, but that’s not what we were looking for. So next year …”
Dominik Farnbacher, No. 88: “I’m very happy, but I’m sore and I want to go to bed! I was in the car a very long time without a cool suit and I was running out of water, so it was very dehydrating. But I like to race and it was nice to be back in the Porsche again. I’m very happy to be part of this team.”
Steve Johnson, No. 88: “We caught a bit of a bad break just before the caution in the rain. We got passed about three seconds before the caution came out, so we just missed being on the lead lap. Instead, we went a lap down and just kinda stuck there all day. But ninth is a great finish for us. It’s our fourth top-10 of the year. I hate to see the season end – back to work – but I’m looking forward to the [Rolex] 24!”
Dave Lacey, No. 88: “It was a great run. Dominik did a fantastic job to start us off. The car was pretty consistent all day; we didn’t get into trouble at all. Steve brought it home in P9, so it was a good way to end the season. It’s a great bunch of guys who have been working on this car and I’m very thankful for their efforts. They always field a quality product and it’s great to be behind the wheel of a car you can trust and you know well. I’m happy with the whole Farnbacher Loles team and I’m looking forward to next year.”