Florida Resident Pilots Porsche for 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona The perfect car number to act as a harbinger of success? Perhaps it's fate's way of giving the nod to sports car racing veteran Shane Lewis. The Jupiter, Fla.-resident has been named to the driver lineup of the No. 32 GMG/Orbit/Spectra Resources Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The January 28-29 Grand-Am Rolex Series season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) will mark the 32nd 24-hour endurance race of Lewis's career, his second of 2012. The multi-time Grand-Am sanctioned series event winner will be making his 15th start in America's premier 24-hour race. Lewis will co-drive with Nicolas Armindo (Colmar, France), Bret Curtis (Valencia, Calif.), James Sofronas (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Lance Willsey (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) for the Florida-based operation.Lewis is a longtime test and development driver for the Rodger Hawley-owned Orbit Racing. The former Daytona Endurance Champion assisted Orbit at the January 6-8 "Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona" to help fine-tune the Porsche's setup on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn speedway road course. Lewis took part in the first two days of official testing before departing to compete in the Dubai 24 Hour. Shane Lewis at the Dubai 24H - His 31st career 24-hour race. Image by John Dagys While the Rolex 24 makes-up nearly half of Lewis's all-time 24-hour race starts, the California-born driver has also driven premier twice-around-the-clock races at Le Mans (1999, 2000, 2003) - leading the GT-class in 2003 - and the 24 Hours of Nürburgring ('04, '05, '10, '11) - winning his class in '10 and taking podium finishes in '04 and '11. He also has two overall victories in the 24 Hours of Nelson Ledges. Additional 24-hour events are joined by other classic endurance races including six Petit Le Mans ('98-'01, '03, '10) and seven 12 Hours of Sebring ('97-'98, '00-'03, '10).Lewis's prior Rolex 24 At Daytona starts came in 1997-2002 and 2004-'11. The Rolex 24 comes two weeks after Lewis started his 31st lifetime 24-hour race in Dubai. Racing an Aston Martin Vantage N24 GT4 at the Dubai Autodrome, Lewis started 15th in the SP3 class and finished fifth. A lengthy transmission repair interrupted a strong chance at a podium finish. Lewis has competed in every major class of sports car in every major international series. He has raced to Rolex Series and Grand-Am support series victories as well as earning podium results in the Daytona Prototype class. In 2011, Lewis won his class in the Six Hours of the Nürburgring. Official practice for the Rolex 24 begins on Thursday, January 26. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED. The telecast begins with a one-hour pre-race show at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, January 28. Live event coverage starts with the fall of the green flag at 3:30 p.m. and continues for the first seven-and-a-half hours of the endurance classic (3:30-11 p.m.). The live coverage will resume at 9 a.m., Sunday, January 29, until 4 p.m. SpeedTV.com will provide live coverage during the nighttime hours. Quotes
About competing in the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 with Orbit Racing: "I have worked with the Orbit team and their customers for on-track days and club races for many years now. When Rodger decide to come back to Grand-Am racing at Daytona this year for the 24 Hour and asked me to be a part of it, I was thrilled. When you combine our performances at Daytona together we are really a winning combination."
About racing car No. 32 in his 32nd career 24-hour race: "I am not a superstitious guy or one who believes in omens. But, I have to tell you that learning I'd be driving car 32 for my 32nd career 24-hour start, well, only good thing can come from that!" About his expectations for the Rolex 24: "There are 46 GT cars in the field this year and you could pick 10 to 15 teams that have a real shot at winning this race. I don't think that has ever been the case in the history of a class at Daytona. I think we can be one of those top teams."About the greatest challenges for an endurance driver in a 24-hour race: "You have to drive smart. That doesn't mean slow. That means patience, awareness, focus, controlled aggression, picking your moves carefully and precisely while always mindful that this is a team effort. Everything you do is for the betterment of the team. Keeping that mindset and executing it for 24 hours is always the toughest thing."About the prestige of racing in the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24: "Just the word 'Daytona' is renowned on its own. It's known around the world. Add in 'Rolex', then the milestone of the 50th anniversary and this becomes the most prestigious 24-hour race in North American history. This is a race and a grid that will be remembered. It is an honor to be a part of it."