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






2002 Rolex 24hrs

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  Practice & Qualifying Story and Times  

Wednesday was arrival and setup day at Daytona, in preparation for this weekend's 40th Anniversary Rolex 24. There are two practice sessions on Thursday prior to qualifying - one in the morning and one in the early afternoon.
Then comes first round qualifying, followed by a night practice under the lights. Times for all sessions are posted below.

It was mostly an uneventful day for the Champion Porsche crew, making sure the car was properly set up and comfortable for all four drivers. It was also an opportunity to get our newest driver Lucas Luhr some additional seat time, as he had not driven a prototype prior to driving the Champion Porsche-Lola at the recent Daytona Test Days.

Andy Wallace got the nod to qualify the car, and managed a best 8th spot in first qualifying, which locks in the top 35 grid positions for the race. Wallace's best time of 1:44.231 puts the Champion Lola on Row 4 to start the 40th Anniversary Rolex 24, which the team is happy with. We know that our car is not one of the "speed" cars in this race, but we feel it has the pace to be in contention for overall honors come Sunday, given a steady pace and minimal time in the pits. As always in endurance racing however...time will tell...

Champion hit the first real snag of the week during night practice. In this session, all drivers in each car must set a time in the car, and Andy Wallace brought up the rear after Luhr, Maassen and Haywood. Not long into Wallace's night stint, the car experienced a catastrophic failure of the left rear axle flange, which essentially disintegrated. This is the part which fits into the gearbox casing, and has a "tripod" socket into which the axle itself (specifically its "tripod joint") plugs. When the flange failed, the car lost all drive and came to a stop on the back straight, and had to be towed in from the session, its day done.

This failure was quite a surprise, although the axles were planned to be changed before the race anyway. As a result of the failure and resulting stranding of the car on course, the team have elected to install a "spool" in the rear end, which effectively locks the differential so that in case of an axle failure or loss of a wheel, the opposing rear wheel still gets traction and so the car can be driven back to the pits for repairs. The downside is that the spool rear end will induce understeer, changing the handling characteristics of the car to some extent, though not greatly. Technical Director Brad Kettler is confident that this particular problem is now resolved.

Champion missed out the early morning practice on Friday while repairs from the previous night were completed and final race preparations were undertaken. As the first 35 grid spots were locked in from First qualifying, we could not have bettered our fourth row starting spot and so skipped Second Qualifying to concentrate on race preparations. All four driver ran in the final practice Friday afternoon, and pronounced the car ready to race. The remainder of Friday was spent in last minute preparations, installing and adjusting the onboard TV cameras, and making sure that our differently-sized drivers would all be comfortable in the Lola's cockpit. These are things that make for an altogether better race, and enhance the chances of doing well.


Thursday Practice 1

1 - #16 Dyson Racing - 1:46.632

2 - #2 Crawford Racing - 1:43.755

3 - #27 Doran Racing - 1:43.831

4 - #74 Robinson Racing - 1:45.901

5 - #38 Champion Racing - 1:45.989

Thursday Practice 2

1- #49 Ascari - 1:43.905

2- #36 Matthews - 1:45.013

3- #13 Risi - 1:45.033

4- #20 Dyson - 1:45.038

5- #38 Champion - 1:45.848

First Qualifying

1 - #27 Doran - 1:42.058


8 - #38 Champion - 1:44.231

Night Practice

1 - #27 Doran - 1:42.304


9 - #38 Champion - 1:46.662

Friday Final Practice

1 - #2 Crawford - 1:44.638


6 - #38 Champion - 1:46.190

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