Event Preview: Wright Motorsports Makes Preparations for Team’s 28 Hours of Racing At Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (January 27, 2021) – Race week for the 59th Rolex 24 At Daytona kicks off this Thursday, and Wright Motorsports will run their first official race event of the 2021 season pulling double duty in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Michelin Pilot Challenge’s BMW Endurance Challenge. The longtime Porsche customer racing team, sponsored by 1st Phorm, Mountain Motorsports, and Una Vida Tequila will take part in a total of eight practice or qualifying sessions between the two programs, building up to Friday’s Michelin Pilot Challenge race and the Rolex 24 on Saturday and Sunday. The two events total 28 hours of racing over the course of the two days.

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
The entire IMSA field just completed the Roar Before the 24, an official four-day series event, allowing teams sufficient time to test and shakedown the race cars before the main event. This year’s Roar introduced a new addition to the format: a 100-minute qualifying race to set the grid for this Saturday’s 24 hour long endurance racing event. An incident in night practice resulted in the team switching to another chassis after qualifying for the Motul Pole Award 100, moving the team’s starting position back from pole position to 19th place. However, determination by the crew to make it to the grid in time with a competitive car proved beneficial and together the team, with drivers Ryan Hardwick and Patrick Long, gained ten positions during the race, also breaking into the top ten to start Saturday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona from ninth on the grid.

Hardwick and Long will be joined by returning drivers Jan Heylen and Klaus Bachler, who both drove with them in the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R for select WeatherTech races in 2020.

The 3:40PM Eastern start of the 59th Rolex 24 at Daytona will air live on NBC for the first hour, then move to NBC Sports, Saturday, January 30. For just $3.00, fans can watch the race live with no interruptions on NBC Sports Gold’s TRACKPASS, which is available on smart TVs, tablets, computers, and cell phones. IMSA Radio is slated to provide comprehensive coverage of all on track WeatherTech sessions worldwide, and international audiences can find their Rolex listings via imsa.com/internationalcoverage.

Michelin Pilot Challenge
The team made their 2021 Michelin Pilot Challenge debut last week as well, immediately showing they will be strong contenders for the new season’s championship. As the Roar Before the 24 progressed, the No. 16 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport’s lap times and finishing positions improved with each session, with the team finishing the final session in first place. This weekend’s event will consist of three practice sessions, beginning Wednesday afternoon, followed by qualifying on Thursday, January 28. The BMW Endurance Challenge will begin on Friday, January 29th, and be one of only two races on the 2021 calendar to have a runtime of four hours.

The broadcast of the BMW Endurance Challenge will air live on NBC Sports Gold’s TRACKPASS, or imsa.tv for international audiences, beginning at 1:30PM Eastern. IMSA Radio will also offer coverage of this session only. For all event information, visit imsa.com.

Driver Quotes

Ryan Hardwick
No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R
No. 16 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Personally, I am really looking forward to the Rolex race weekend. More so than just about any other race weekend that I can remember. I can’t wait to compete in my first Michelin Pilot Challenge series race, and also drive in my 3rd consecutive Rolex 24 hour. I am coming off a weekend at the Roar where I did some of the best driving of my life, and I’m ready to show that same pace when it counts this weekend in the Rolex. I’m confident that our Wright Motorsports team is the most prepared team in the GTD field, and that my co-drivers are all as eager as I am to go for the win this weekend.

Patrick Long
No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R
This is a deep field of great entries, and a top-five is going to be a real challenge. We had a phenomenal Roar week right up until night practice when it all fell apart. We dug deep and the team did an amazing job to get us onto the grid for the qualifying race. The qualifying race was a pretty messy affair. Cars were all over the place, but we are proud of the team effort that was able to get these laps under our belt and gain some data with this new car. We’ll push on to the Rolex.

Jan Heylen
No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R
No. 16 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport
It’s nice to be back at Daytona for the 24 hours. I think we had a lot of good things happen for us in the Roar. A few things didn’t come our way, but all in all, we have a team that is very well prepared for this event, and we have a big week ahead of us. We’re with the best team in the paddock, so I know preparation won’t be an issue. The Porsche in general is competitive, and if it were come down to the last hour in the race, we have a car we can fight with. I’m looking forward to the start of the races. It’s nice to be here with Patrick and Ryan again, and having Klaus with us again. We have a good team and a good lineup.

Klaus Bachler
No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R
I’m looking forward to being back here to race next weekend at the 24 hour race. Great job by the whole team to bring us back so we could do the qualifying race. The car was well prepared for this event. Now we have a few days where they can fully prepare the new car. I’m looking forward to getting back on track again. Hopefully we have a good result and finish well.
Event Schedule

Wednesday, January 27
1:45PM – 2:45PM Michelin Pilot Challenge Practice 1

Thursday, January 28
9:45AM – 10:45AM Michelin Pilot Challenge Practice 2
11:05AM – 12:05PM WeatherTech Practice 1
2:45PM – 3:00PM Michelin Pilot Challenge GS Qualifying
3:20PM – 4:20PM WeatherTech Practice 2
7:15PM – 9:00PM WeatherTech Practice 3

Friday, January 29
9:25AM – 9:55AM Michelin Pilot Challenge Practice 3
11:20AM – 12:20PM WeatherTech Practice 4
1:35PM – 5:35PM BMW Endurance Challenge

Saturday, January 30
3:40PM Rolex 24 At Daytona Green Flag

1st Phorm
1st Phorm is a sports nutrition company based in St. Louis, MO. In 2009, CEO Andy Frisella and his business partner Chris Klein started the brand, and since then, it has become the fastest growing supplement company in the world. 1st Phorm has set the standards in the industry for quality and helping people reach their goals. This new racing partnership is not their first time in the exotic car scene either. 1st Phorm has been the title sponsor for the Gold Rush Rally for six years running. With over a million followers across social media, 1st Phorm has amassed a huge cult-like following known as, “The Legion of Boom.” They stand for a movement in the fitness world. To turn it back to what it was meant to be. Helping others improve their lives, to be a good human… and to drop the excuses and do the work. 1st Phorm is a winning brand and they don’t expect anything less when it comes to their race team. For additional info: www.1stphorm.com

Mountain Motorsports
Mountain Motorsports is a group of motorcycle and powersports dealerships with multiple locations in the southeastern United States. The company was founded by lifelong friends Ryan Hardwick and Justin Price when they opened their first location as a single-line Honda dealership in Sevierville, Tennessee in 1999. The company has since grown into one of the largest retailers of motorcycle and powersports vehicles in the nation, spanning nine dealership locations representing eleven of the industry’s most well-known brands. For additional info: www.mountainmotorsports.com

Una Vida Tequila
Una Vida translates to One Life. That is how this brand started. By people who want to live their “One Life” to the absolute fullest and to their highest potential. A group of guys from the Midwest who love great quality tequila, and want their One Life to have meaning and impact others.

One Life, One Tequila is our CORE BELIEF. We’re building the only tequila brand you will ever need to drink. Una Vida is bigger than just tequila we’re also building a culture of people who want to live their life to their utmost potential.

Our story begins and continues to grow bottle by bottle. It’s a life mission for us to create a community of people who all raise a glass knowing they’re living their ONE LIFE! For more information, visit unavidatequila.com

Wright Motorsports
Wright Motorsports is the premier Porsche race engineering facility in Ohio and a multi-series, international racing team known for superb car preparation, expert race strategy and driver development. Located in Batavia, Ohio, it is owned and directed by John Wright, a certified Porsche factory-trained technician. As a crew chief John Wright has played a key role in winning eight driver and seven team championships in World Challenge, IMSA (ALMS) and the Grand-Am Rolex Series. Wright Motorsports won the team championship in Porsche GT3 Cup USA in 2012, 2013 and 2015, and went on to win the Pirelli World Challenge Overall, Sprint, Team and Manufacturer’s titles in 2017. The 2020 season will see the team return to IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship. For more information, visit wrightmotorsports.com

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com



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