for Tafel Racing; San Jose's Harrison Brix to Drive No. 73
In its simplest form competition is about winning. Without the distraction of the championship and protecting equipment for the next event, Tafel Racing is approaching the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Raceway Laguna Seca with a singular focus: VICTORY. T
he four hour endurance race into the dark on October 18th marks the final race of the 2008 American Le Mans Series GT2 season. Securely locked into second-place in the Drivers' Championship with three victories (St. Petersburg, Fla., Long Beach, Calif. and Mid-Ohio), Dominik Farnbacher (Ansbach, Germany) and Dirk Müller (a native of Germany now living in Monaco) will share the No. 71 Tafel/Bell Micro Racing Ferrari F430 GTC with no objective other than to win. Open wheel standout Alex Figge (Denver) will lead the No. 73 Tafel Racing Ferrari F430 GTC this weekend joined by three-time Tafel Racing starter Pierre Ehret (Santa Rosa, Calif./Germany) and local driver Harrison Brix (San Jose). It marks Brix's first start for the Cumming, Ga.- based operation.
San Jose-native Brix comes to Tafel Racing from fellow Ferrari team Risi Competizione. In his seven American Le Mans Series starts, all in 2008, the executive with Silicon Valley- based American Wireless has earned one top-five finish (Long Beach) in the No. 61 Ferrari F430 GTC. Overall, in a limited schedule, Brix, 27, has seven Top 10s in his American Le Mans Series career. He began racing karts at age 12, moving to the Skip Barber Series in 2002 where he won the 2003-04 Western Series title with nine victories and nine pole positions. Brix moved to sports car racing in 2004, earning his first victory in the Grand-Am SGS class at Fontana. Monterey will mark the first time that Brix has teamed with Ehret or Figge. Ehret has his own California ties operating the Flamingo Resort Hotel in Santa Rosa where he spends much of his year.
Jim Tafel (Alpharetta, Ga.) steps out of the No. 73 to make way for Brix at the season-finale. Tafel raced eight times this year earning a career-high fourth- place finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
The No. 71 took second-place on the 2.238-mile, 11- turn Monterey, Calif. track to close-out the season last year. Farnbacher earned his second career podium finish in the American Le Mans Series in 2007. Figge found open wheel success at Laguna Seca before earning a second-place in the Rolex Series at the track famous for its "Corkscrew" turn in 2006. Brix had some of his earliest experiences and successes at the track which is less than two hours from his home. Laguna Seca is one of the few tracks at which Müller, the 2000 American Le Mans Series GT2 Champion, has not yet won. He did earn the GT2 pole position in 1999.
Live, full coverage of qualifying for all four classes will be offered on SPEEDTV.com. The coverage will begin on Friday, October 17 with GT2 and GT1 time trials at 3:05 PM (PT), 6:05 PM (ET).
A tape-delayed, two hour broadcast of the Monterey Sports Car Championship begins at 2 PM (ET), October 19 on NBC Sports. XM Satellite Radio will broadcast the full race broadcast on a one day delay on Sunday, October 19 at 4 PM (ET) on Channel 144. Live timing and scoring of each on-track session and the live American Le Mans Series Radio Web broadcast can be found at AmericanLeMans.com.
QuotesTony Dowe, Technical Director: "The disappointment of not winning at Petit has been replaced by the motivation to beat the Lizards at their home. We can now forget about the championship, that's gone, and concentrate on just winning at one of the best circuits. A win here will help carry us through the winter months as we prepare for next year and Sebring."
Dominik Farnbacher, Driver, No. 71: "Dirk and my goal is, of course, to win the race and to give the team something they deserve after working so hard during the season. Before last year I only knew Laguna Seca from watching MotoGP and playing Gran Turismo on my Playstation. My motivation for this race is that I love the track and the hills and elevation changes. I only drove Laguna once in my life, and that was last year when Wolf and I got second with Tafel Racing. It was a very good feeling when we had such great success last year. So I have a new goal for this year's race: last year second, this year first."
Dirk Müller, Driver, No. 71: "I'd like to thank the whole team for the great effort they have been doing up until now. We had a superb season and we were able to fight for the championship. After my FIA GT championship last year I am second in the ALMS this year. This leaves room for the future. Now we are entering the last event with just one goal; to win it. Laguna has always been very high in my personal ranking. It has been a while since I raced here but approaching the 'Corkscrew' is an amazing moment which I will never forget. I am very much looking forward to it."
Harrison Brix, Driver, No. 73: "I am very excited to be joining Tafel Racing for the season finale. I expect that the team will have a strong showing. I think that the driver pairing will work out very well. Having shared the track with Alex in Daytona Prototype, I know that he is great behind the wheel. I am looking forward to working with him. I have had a lot of good luck at Laguna Seca. I have been fortunate enough to win many races there in Skip Barber and have always enjoyed racing there. My goal for the event is to finish on the podium. It is always good to end a season on a high note. Finishing on the podium would be a great end to the season. I am very happy to be a part of a very professional and successful team at my home race."
Jim Tafel, Owner: "I am disappointed not to be driving at Laguna Seca but we had to make the choice that was best for the team. I decided to step out as a way of saying 'thank you' to Ferrari for all they have done for us this season. I know that Harrison is going to do a great job teaming with Alex and Pierre. I am looking forward to doing my part as team owner working with our partners Bell Micro, East Coast Jewelry and Ulysse Nardin."