Audi Drivers Join SAMAX For Daytona 24
Topics: Audi, 24 Hours of Daytona
January 3, 2008
SAMAX Motorsport signed Audi factory drivers Allan McNish, Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller to join Henri Zogaib in one of its Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototypes. The team, which returns to the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona with powerful drivers, has one mission – and that is to win the race.
Last year, the team’s entry consisted of Milka Duno, Patrick Carpentier, Darren Manning and Ryan Dalziel and they finished less than two minutes behind the Chip Gansssi Racing machine, the victor. The SAMAX entry was in the midst of a three-car battle for the win during the closing hours but ended up settling for second place, according to Motorsport.com.
Baron intimated his goal to achieve ultimate Daytona glory this year. "I am sill amazed we have this lineup of drivers for the 24," said Baron. "We led a sizeable amount of last year's race and were happy to finish 2nd without any mechanical issues. This year we are doing everything possible to finish one position higher and get these drivers the Overall Victory Rolex Daytona watches they all deserve!"
Baron’s goal for 2008 is expected to be accomplished with the help of three iconic race drivers. McNish returns to the seat of a DP for the second time. Since then, McNish, driving the Audi R10 TDI with Rinaldo Capello, achieved Driver's Championships in the American Le Mans Series.
"I am pleased to join SAMAX Motorsport for the Daytona 24 Hours," said McNish. "The team has proved their worth in Grand-Am and especially at the 24 with a great 2nd overall last year. This year we have a strong driver lineup with my Audi team mates Lucas, Mike and myself joining Henri. [With] the Pontiac Riley combination and strong technical staff, we all hope to be challenging for victory."
McNish is nothing new to winning at Daytona. He achieved a class victory in 1998 and supported it with another second place overall finish in 1999. He also bagged overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998.
"Personally, I have always enjoyed this race," McNish added. "I have had some great runs there and finished 2nd overall on two occasions. It is a great warm-up to the season, and most teams have a strong car and driver lineups. But most importantly, it has a Rolex Daytona watch at the end for the winner."
Two of Audi drivers - Luhr and Rockenfeller - also sport a remarkable racing experience credentials. Luhr is a longtime Porsche driver. He grabbed the GT class win at the Rolex 24 in 2001. He entered Audi team last year after winning the LMP2 Driver's Championship with Sascha Maassen in 2006. He spent much of 2007 season competing in the German DTM Series, but also made two starts in Audi's R10 TDI prototype.
Rockenfeller, meanwhile, also spent last season racing mainly in the DTM. Before joining Audi team, the German was a regular rival in the Rolex Series. He will return for another season of DTM this year but will also be part of Audi's sports car program.
Race aficionados will certainly expect a heart-throbbing action this season. And drivers will hit the Audi clutch with much gusto.
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