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Archive of Porsche Lola Race Reports/News/Photos 2000/2002






2001 24HRS Daytona

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2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona - Day 1

Setup and Technical Inspection

Note - All Race Week Photos appear at the bottom of this report

Daytona Beach - Wednesday, 31 January

Today was the first day of the 2001 Rolex 24 race week for Champion Racing and the over eighty other teams contesting this year's event. Once the car and equipment were unloaded and the garage area set up, the team set about preparing for technical inspection, followed by the myriad small tasks involved in getting ready for the first practice sessions on Thursday. The Champion Lola is just one of four Lola B2K/10's entered for this race, but is unique in being the only Porsche-powered car in the Sports Racing Prototype class.

Thursday sees the first track action of the week, and a full day it will be with two practice sessions, the first qualifying session and a two-hour night practice all on the schedule. The first qualifying session sets the first row of the starting grid. Full Thursday schedule is as follows: 10am-11am - 1st Practice (all classes) 1:20pm-2pm - 2nd Practice (all classes) 3pm-3:15pm - First-round Qualifying Sports Racers and Sports Racer II 6pm-8pm - Night Practice (all classes)

Wednesday was overcast and rainy, and with more rain predicted for Thursday, getting the proper setup for first-round qualifying will be even more of a challenge than usual. With rain possible on Friday as well, and a dry race currently being predicted for the weekend, the dry weather setup data gleaned from Champion's extensive testing over the last four months here at Daytona could well pay dividends.

2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona - Day 2

Practice and First-round Qualifying

Daytona Beach, Florida - Thursday, 1 Feb

Thursday at the 2001 Rolex 24 saw the first track action of the week, with two practice sessions, first-round qualifying and night practice. Champion Racing's preparations for the race continued today with no real surprises.

In the first practice Dorsey Schroeder and Bob Wollek drove the car, setting seventh fastest time overall for the session at 1min:46.875sec vs. the #16 Dyson car's fastest time of the session of 1min:42.978sec. This is right where we expected to be, and the car is running perfectly.

In the afternoon, the second practice session was very wet, and the decision was taken by the team to sit out the wet practice session so as to not risk the car any more than necessary. The rain continued until the first round of qualifying was set to begin, so Grand Am decided to run a single, combined 45-minute qualifing session for all classes instead of the separate qualifying sessions for each class as scheduled. Because of the altered qualifying format, only the first row overall was locked in for the race, instead of the more than thirty cars that would have had their times locked-in had the separate class qualifying gone forward.

Because only two cars would be able to sit out Friday's final qualifying, and because we did not feel that our car stood a realistic chance of being one of those two cars, the decision was again taken to sit out the first round of qualifying and begin on race prep instead, since the car has to participate in final qualifying anyway, and better weather is predicted for Friday.

Having the entire afternoon to prepare the car, the team was able to look after the few minor items that had arisen from the first practice, and the car was ready in time to participate in the full night practice session. Dorsey Schroeder, Hurley Haywood and Sascha Maassen all took a turn at driving in the night practice, which was dry, windy and cool.

Two practice sessions are on the schedule for Friday, one before final qualifying and one after. If the track is wet when qualifying happens, it will be a combined-class 45-minute session just like today's. If it's dry for final qualifying the classes will run in separate sessions per the original schedule.

2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona - Day 3

Practice and Final Qualifying

Daytona Beach, Florida - Friday, 2 Feb

The weather in Daytona has not gotten any better, and it's now looking like it will remain cool, cloudy and with a chance of rain throughout the race weekend. Nevertheless, the Champion Porsche had a very good run in Friday's final round of qualifying, with Dorsey Schroeder setting fourth-fastest time of the session, which is good for sixth starting spot on the Rolex grid. The top six overall qualifiers are listed below, including fast-lap time:

1 -- 16 Dyson Racing 1:47.381(front row times locked-in after first qualifying session)

2 -- 74 Robinson Racing 1:49.201

3 -- 12 Risi Competizione 1:41.118

4 -- 37 Intersport Racing 1:41.697

5 -- 20 Dyson Racing 1:42.919

6 -- 38 Champion Racing 1:43.444

Dorsey's best time originally put the Champion Porsche-Lola Sports Racing Prototype in fifth starting position, and that held up until just minutes before the end of the session when Ralf Kelleners, who formerly drove Champion's Porsche GT1 Evo, set a blistering lap in the Risi Competizione Ferrari 333SP to top the second-round qualifying session and putting him in the third overall starting position, and dropping Champion's car to sixth, remaining on Row Three of the starting grid.

In the Friday's final pre-race practice, Champion set the second-fastest time of the session at 01:43.310 (.134sec faster than the car qualified at); the Porsche's time bested only by the Pole-sitting Ford-R&S of Dyson Racing with a 01:42.766. The Champion team is very pleased with our starting position, particularly since endurance is a bigger asset for our Porche than is outright speed. But 24 hours is a long time. We feel that if we can take care of the car and stay out of trouble, the Champion Porsche-Lola will be right in the hunt come Sunday morning.

The green flag falls for the 39th 24 Hours at Daytona at 1pm Saturday.

2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona - Race Day
After qualifying sixth overall, and running in the top five for the first seven and 1/2 hours, the Champion Porsche-Lola experienced a loss of oil pressure leading to failure of the motor at approx. 8:30pm, while Sascha Maassen was running a comfortable 4th-place overall. The car has retired from the race. Needless to say, the entire Champion Racing team is very disheartened by this quite unexpected development.  

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