VISIT FLORIDA Racing to Kick Off 2017 IMSA Season At Home with the Rolex 24 At Daytona

VISIT FLORIDA Racing to Kick Off 2017 IMSA Season At Home with the Rolex 24 At Daytona

Event: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s 55th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, a 24-hour endurance race at Daytona International Speedway

Track: 3.56-miles in length with 12 turns, features the high banks of the NASCAR oval as well as the infield road course section

International Driver Line-up: Marc Goossens (Belgium), Renger van der Zande (Netherlands), and René Rast (Germany)

Driver History at Daytona:
Marc Goossens, who took a podium finish of third in the Rolex 24 last year for VISIT FLORIDA Racing has a deep history at Daytona. He entered his first Rolex 24 event in 2004 and has been on the podium four times (2004 – 2nd overall Prototype, 2012 – 2nd in GT, 2014 – 3rd in GTLM, 2016 – 3rd overall Prototype).

Renger van der Zande has competed in the Rolex 24 At Daytona three times in the Prototype Challenge class. He finished fifth in his 2014 debut and followed that up with a sixth place finish in 2015 and a fourth place finish in last year’s race. He steps up to the top Prototype class for the first time in 2017.

René Rast is a two-time Rolex 24 race winner (2012 & 2016, Magnus Racing), Rast has competed in the previous five Rolex 24 At Daytona events in the GT category. He is also a two-time winner of the 24 Hours of Spa, taking the victory in both 2012 & 2014 in an Audi R8 LMS. He also won the 24 Hours of Nurburgring driving the Audi in 2014. He would like nothing more than to add a Rolex 24 At Daytona victory to his list of 24-hour race accomplishments.

VISIT FLORIDA Racing in the Rolex 24: VISIT FLORIDA Racing made its Rolex 24 at Daytona debut in 2004 with the Daytona Prototype. After 13 years with DP machinery, the team makes the transition to the LMP2 machine for 2017. The organization has finished among the top-five over the previous four years – including back-to-back podium finishes of third in 2015 and 2016.

New in 2017: With all-new regulations for the top Prototype class in 2017, VISIT FLORIDA Racing fields a Gibson-powered Riley Mk. 30. The Gibson engine is a normally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8, and is the specification engine for all competitors in the World Endurance Championship LMP2 category. Riley Technologies has an unparalleled history in the sport, and the Rolex 24 At Daytona will mark the competition debut for the Mk. 30.

Car Specs:
Chassis – Multimatic / Riley Carbon Fiber semi stressed

Safety equipment – Crushable Nose box, 6 point safety harness, Onboard fire suppression system, Air conditioned cockpit for driver safety and comfort.

– X-Trac six-speed sequential, paddle operated rear wheel drive.

Roar Testing:
With the all-new Riley-Gibson platform for 2017, the VISIT FLORIDA Racing squad worked through its test plan and ran times among the top-five throughout many of the seven test sessions. All three drivers, Marc Goossens, Renger van der Zande, and René Rast were on hand for the test.

Addition of Michael Harvey: Prior to the 2017 season, VISIT FLORIDA Racing added Michael Harvey to the team as Director of Race Operations. Harvey, who has a long and varied range of experience in the sport, most recently managed the competition efforts for Fall-Line Motorsports’ multiple-championship winning programs in IMSA and SCCA competition as well as serving as a Series Director for the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA series.

New Partners for 2017: In addition to longtime partner VISIT FLORIDA, VISIT FLORIDA Racing has partnered with: Speed Chills, iRacing, Motegi Racing, Riley Technologies, Go Puck, GoPro, Burt & Scheld, Under Armour, and Whelen.

Marc Goossens: “We’ve had several good tests and I think that the things we tried showed us where we need to be setup wise. Now it is just about making the car more reliable. I think that the key to doing well in this race is being the team that spends the least amount of time in the pits. Whoever does that, is going to be the one challenging for the win in the end. It was great to be on the podium in this race last year and hopefully we can be there at the end to fight for a big result again this year.”

Renger van der Zande: “I am very happy with my new teammates this year and the team environment at VISIT FLORIDA Racing. The Rolex 24 is one of the biggest racing events in the world. You see all of the hot shot drivers in Prototype racing are here. Several competitors are ex-Formula 1 drivers and are World Champions, so we’re competing among the best of the best. One of VISIT FLORIDA’s strengths is the team’s experience and calling the right strategy when the race changes with caution periods or with the weather here in their home race. I think there are a lot of cars that have a lot of reliability question marks, so we will try to minimize that and try to win.”

Rene Rast: “I think that we can fight for victory. Where all the teams are right now (in outright pace) is up in the air because we do not know much about the other competitors and their new equipment. Obviously it would mean a lot to me to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona. This is one of the few prestigious races that I haven’t won overall yet. I have a lot of faith in the VISIT FLORIDA Racing guys that they can prepare the car to be a contender in the final stages of the race.”

Weekend Schedule:
Saturday, January 28 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM FOX
Saturday, January 28 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM FS2
Saturday, January 28 11:00 PM – 12:00 AM FS2
Sunday, January 29 12:00 AM – 12:30 PM FS2
Sunday, January 29 12:30 PM – 3:00 PM FS1

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