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Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series: Rolex 24 at Daytona

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  Rolex 24 at Daytona

Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series: Rolex 24 at Daytona

Nelson Canache
David Donohue
Shane Lewis
January 27, 2013


DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA

HERB BRANHAM: Great effort, guys. We'll go right to questions for our GX class, first time anywhere at GRAND‑AM.

Q. David, you told me before the race that this race was all about being reliable, having a reliable car, and Porsche obviously did a great job on that. When you learned that all the Mazda had retired, failed and retired, did you change your driving style to save the car or did you just keep pushing?
DAVID DONOHUE: Well, unfortunately for us the other two Porsches kept pushing, so we had to keep pushing. I found it a little bit odd that we got a couple‑lap lead early in the race, and we will really didn't continue to extend it at the same rate, which was a little disconcerting. But once we were on our own lap, it helped with our pit strategy. We were able to keep their laps off so they couldn't come up to us.
But we did push pretty hard for a long time through the night. Now, I wasn't pushing towards the end, obviously, but I think it's a testament Porsche and the Cayman. Each of these cars were independently built by small shops and probably the Napelton is probably the biggest shop because it's actually a Porsche dealership, and they've got a lot of experience, but they came within our series that they've been working on for years.
For us it was a race of preparation, and our guys did a superior job when this program was conceived in early November of building a car and making it reliable and keeping the stock parts, which are surprisingly many, many stock parts on this car, where they needed to be, and the proof is in the pudding.

Q. I just want to know, I don't believe you guys spent any time in the garage during the race, but did you guys have any minor problems with the Cayman during the race?
SHANE LEWIS: Actually, you're right, not a single time in the garage. That was probably the key to our success. One of the things that we did have issues with, we had a couple of pit lane violations. Some of it due to the pit lane speed. All the rest of the GT cars as well as the Daytona prototypes have a pit‑lane limiter. We're actually using a stock ECU that comes with the Porsche engine which doesn't allow us to have that. Keeping track of what our speed was coming down pit lane via GPS, and the GPS wasn't always that accurate at times, and it caught us out.
If it wasn't for the pit‑lane violations that we had and a couple other minor incidents on track, we would have had the cleanest run that I think anybody has had at Daytona for a long time. But not one time to the garage, not one mechanical issue other than putting tires, fuel, I think they added some oil on occasion. I requested a tear off one time. That was about as mechanical as it was. It was flawless.

Q. Shane, how much do you put that down to Ron and Mike at Napelton?
SHANE LEWIS: Oh, actually the group that came to Daytona, I was a little nervous at first because most of them had no endurance experience. They've been running the Cayman Interseries. They were like, these are the guys that are going to do the pit stops. We'd better bring some experienced people to do the pit stops and do everything else. Once I got to know them and their enthusiasm and how much effort they put into the race car, Isaac, probably the team leader when it comes to all the guys, he's done a lot of 24‑hour races and I actually drove with him last year in a Porsche. It's a testament to these guys. When I say they started this project in November and it was 24/7, it was 24/7. When they left the Roar, the flu goes around and everything, every single one of them got sick, every one, and yet they were in the shop every single day working on the car.
DAVID DONOHUE: Spreading the virus.

Q. Would you describe what was the most difficult moment or time when you were driving the car, and what does it mean for you to be the first Venezuelan driver to win this race.
NELSON CANACHE: Well, my first stint, it was nighttime already. I got‑‑ basically it was battling for the lead, and the 38 car, the other came and have a really fast driver, and we were trying to keep the car in front, and then I could have get a good gap and then drive away.
It was hard because I have to push and drive as hard as I can. I'm obviously trying always to take care of the car. Like GX class is experimental class, and we don't have like sequential gear boxes, we have H popping gearbox, and always trying to take care of the engine, the gearbox and the clutch and everything. For me, many Venezuelan drivers been trying to get this Daytona 24 win, and for me, I'm just so happy to bring this to my country. This is going to be big in Venezuela, so I can't wait to get there and be with all my people there and celebrate this win.
I really appreciate the great car that Napelton gave to us. My teammates did a great job, no mistakes. We got a couple penalties like they said, but it was really hard for us because we have to basically keep the eye on the speed to not go over the speed limit. So it was hard. It was tough.
But I'm so happy now we finally get the win.
HERB BRANHAM: GX champions, congratulations.



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