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






2002 Rolex 24hrs - Practice & Qualifying

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  Day Three  

The 2002 Rolex Tests are now completed, and much has been accomplished toward preparing our Lola B2K/10-Porsche for the demands of this year's Rolex 24 at Daytona. For Day Three of the Tests, our plan was to sit out the morning session (just two sessions on Saturday, vs. three sessions each on Thurs and Fri) while completing a motor swap. The motor that we ran for the first two testing days was the same motor that we ran at the Daytona Finale and all previous and subsequent testing, so it's time for a refresh for that motor.

After the last session on Friday, the Champion mechanics got the Porsche gearbox disconnected before the garages closed for the day, and first thing Saturday morning the gearbox was removed and all connections released to prepare the old motor for removal. We then installed what we hope will be our race motor for the Rolex 24, with the intention of running it in during the final hour of testing Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, while the crew worked at changing motors, the track conditions were absolutely ideal, and almost all of the top teams set their fastest times of the Tests in the cool but calm morning air (hence good engine power) and on a rapidly warming track (good for getting tire temps in the proper range quickly). Andy Wallace's best time of 1:42.791, set on Thursday, would stand as Champion's best time of the Tests, good for seventh-fastest overall.

The race motor will now be removed from the car and put through a battery of very careful checks to determine if it is sound and wearing properly, no leaks, etc. It will be set aside and the previous motor - after a thorough refreshing - will be put back in the car for all the pre-race testing and practice prior to the Rolex 24 itself. Then the race motor will be reinstalled and the final preparations made for the race. In the meantime, the entire car will be torn down and checked and rechecked, then built back up, all with the goal of having every component of the car fully ready for the rigors of the 24-hour grind on the Daytona high banks.

We know ours is not the fastest car on the Daytona grid, but experience has taught us that the endurance qualities of the proven GT1-98-derived Porsche flat six turbo continue to make it one of the best drivetrain packages in endurance racing. Sadly, this same drivetrain failed at just over seven hour's distance in last year's Rolex 24, but not as a result any actual problem with the motor itself. What put the Champion Porsche-Lola out in 2001 was sand. Yes, sand - specifically, silica casting sand used to form the mould which metal is poured into to create our Porsche's gearbox casing. In this particular drivetrain, the engine oil tank is actually part of the gearbox casting, rather than there being a separate oil tank (the current Audi uses a similar arrangement).

The gearbox we chose as our race unit for last year's Rolex 24 was a relatively new casting, rather than one of our older, more proven units. During the course of the early hours of the race, pockets of silica casting sand that had been trapped within the gearbox metal during the casting process began to leak sand into the tank, contaminating the engine oil. This sand was duely filtered out by the oil filter. But more sand was present than could be held by the filter, and when full it bypassed (as it is designed to do) directly to the engine - thus sending sand-contaminated oil directly into the motor - with the inevitable consequence of damaging the engine, causing it to seize and fail shortly into Sascha Maassen's opening stint. There was no fixing this problem and the car was retired. And now you know, "the rest of the story"...

Stay with us for news and developments as we continue to prepare for the 2002 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

1 - #27 Judd Dallara Doran Lista Racing 01:40.170 - 127.942mph

2 - #36 Elan R&S Jim Matthews Racing 01:40.761 - 127.192mph

3 - #2 Judd Crawford Crawford Racing 01:41.135 - 126.722mph

4 - #16 Ford R&S Dyson Racing Team 01:41.249 - 126.579mph

5 - #49 Judd Ascari Team Ascari 01:41.828 - 125.859mph

6 - #37 Judd Lola Intersport Racing 01:42.663 - 124.836mph

7 - #38 Porsche Lola Champion Racing 01:42.791 - 124.680mph

Porsche race motor ready for fitting to the Lola chassis Front of the Lola B2K/10 Kevin and Bobby getting the old motor ready for removal
Testing completed, the meticulous job of race preparation now begins...
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