2010 Daytona Rolex 24 Hours
The 2010 Daytona Rolex 24 Hours featured a new team (although allied with the 2009 racewinning-team, Brumos), Action Express Racing, taking a close overall win over the favored Ganassi squad. The winning driver lineup in the Porsche-powered Riley consisted of Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Ryan Dalziel, and Mike Rockenfeller. Only Borcheller, a 2004 Rolex 24 overall winner, had previously won the classic overall. Barbosa won the GTS class in the 2003 Rolex driving for Mosler.
The #01 Ganassi BMW-powered Riley finished second, on the same lap, with regular drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas joined by Max Papis and Justin Wilson. Another Riley-BMW, an NPN Racing entry, finished four laps down on the 1-2 finishers as German power swept the overall and DP podium! A Krohn Racing Lola powered by Ford finished fourth to break up the Riley and German power domination; in fact, the fourth through seventh-place overall/DP finishers were all Ford-powered.
The DP class, composed of fifteen entries, featured five chassis but was dominated by Riley with ten entries. Two Dallaras and one entry each for Coyote, Crawford, and Lola completed the class. Four engine manufacturers were entered, with BMW and Ford each powering five cars to three for Porsche and two for Chevrolet. Eight chassis/engine combinations were represented, led by Riley-BMW with five. Two examples each of Dallara-Ford, Riley-Ford, and Riley-Porsche competed, with single competitors from Coyote-Porsche, Crawford-Chevrolet, Lola-Ford, and Riley-Chevrolet.
“Zoom Zoom” was the theme in GT as SpeedSource Mazda won for the second time in three years with an RX-8. Jonathan Bomarito, Nick Ham, David Haskell, and Sylvain Tremblay teamed to win the class by four laps over the TRG Porsche driven by Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Seth Neiman, and Johannes van Overbeek. Another TRG Porsche finished third in class, twelve laps behind the runnerup car, and a new Stevenson Chevrolet Camaro GT.R finished fourth, twenty-four laps behind the class winners. As in DP, the best “Detroit iron” powered car finished fourth.
Mazda’s current two wins in three years GT accomplishments in the Rolex 24 Hours (TRG Porsche won in 2009 after SpeedSource Mazda won in 2008) serve as reminders of when “Zoom Zoom” was the dominant sound in Rolex 24 GT racing. Contemporary fans, accustomed to Porsche GT wins from 1999 through 2007, may not remember the period 1979 through 1993, when Mazda held the edge. Mazda first won in 1979; Porsche then won in 1980 and 1981 before Mazda ran off a twelve-race streak of wins in the Rolex 24 Hours, 1982 through 1993! Porsche ended that streak in 1994, won again in 1995 and 1996, and then lost to BMW in 1997 and 1998 before Porsche posted its nine-win streak, 1999 through 2007.
The 29-car GT class field was dominated by Porsche and Mazda, with thirteen Porsche GT3s facing seven Mazda RX-8s. Chevrolet was represented by four cars (two new Camaro GT.R racers and two Corvettes), BMW by two M6s (one from Turner Motorsports, a highly-competitive effort), Pontiac by one GTO.R and one GXP.R, and Ferrari by one 430 Challenge (another was scheduled to compete but did not start).
The eight winning drivers have interesting stories and a wide range of experience and success.
Rockenfeller had competed in four prior Rolex 24s with his first effort coming in 2004, when he finished second in GT and third overall. In 2006 he finished third overall and in DP. Ryan Dalziel had also contested four previous Rolex 24 classics, making his first start in 2006. His only previous notable result was second overall and in DP for Samax in 2007. Barbosa had competed in seven prior Rolex 24s, and in addition to his 2003 GTS class victory he finished fifth in GT in 2002, fourth overall and fourth in DP in 2007, and third overall and third in DP in 2009. For Borcheller, 2010 marked start number twelve in the 24-hour classic; he first competed in the classic in 1998 and in addition to the 2004 overall win for Doran Racing, Borcheller won the SRP2 class in 2002 (finishing third overall) and finished third overall and in DP in 2009.
After competing in Portugal’s Formula Ford series in 1993 and 1994, Joao Barbosa first gained international attention by scoring wins (at Vallelunga and Imola) in the 1995 Formula Europa Boxer series. In 1996 Barbosa finished second in the Italian Formula 3 Championship driving the Prema team’s Dallara F396-Alfa Romeo. Joao ranked seventh in the 1997 Toyota Atlantic series. In 1998 he competed in the International Sports Racing Series, ranking ninth in CN class (secondary class) points. In 1999 he scored his first win in the US, taking the USRRC GT2 class at Lime Rock driving a Chevrolet-powered Mosler Intruder en route to ninth in 1999 GT2 points. He also won a Euroserie round in Dijon, France driving a Centenari-Alfa Romeo. Joao’s next success came in 2002 GARRA GT racing; he ranked fourth in points driving a Mosler MT900R and won the Homestead round. In addition to his 2003 Daytona 24 Hour GTS victory, Joao also won the class at Barber Park (partnered by Justin Bell) in a Mosler and then won the Mt. Tremblant (St. Jovite) GTS honors piloting a Ford Mustang en route to third in 2003 GTS points. For Mosler, Joao also won the 2003 BRDC (British) GT Spa 1000 Kilometers. In 2008, Joao ranked third in Rolex DP points for Brumos and in 2009 ranked ninth in DP points, ending the season with a win at Homestead with Hurley Haywood. With his 2010 Rolex 24 Hours victory, Joao now has a two-race GARRA DP win streak!
Ryan Dalziel moved up the ladder in British open wheel racing, ranking second in 1999 Formula Vauxhall points and second in 2000 Formula Renault points. He placed thirteenth in the 2001 British Formula 3 Championship series before coming to North America to compete in the Toyota Atlantic series. Driving for the Hilton team, Ryan ranked eighth in 2002 points. Dalziel moved to the Sierra Sierra team in 2003, finishing in the runnerup position for the title with wins on the Milwaukee oval and the Portland road course. In 2004 Dalziel again drove for Sierra Sierra and again was runnerup in the championship, this time winning four races, taking the Long Beach and Vancouver street circuit events, the Cleveland airport circuit race, and on the Road America road course. In 2005 an effort in the Pacific Coast Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5R ended prematurely at midseason, placing him fifth in points. Ryan also competed in the 2005 Toronto ChampCar race for Dale Coyne, finishing ninth. In 2007, Pacific Coast Racing contested the ChampCar series and Dalziel competed in eleven events, posting six Top Ten finishes with a best finish of seventh on the Toronto street circuit. Dalziel also competed in the Rolex DP series and in the Superleague Formula during the 2006-2008 seasons, his only race win coming in 2008 at Laguna Seca in Rolex DP driving a Riley-BMW with Henri Zogaib.
Terry Borcheller’s 2010 Daytona 24 Hours victory was his sixtieth (60th!) win in an SCCA/IMSA/GARRA pro racing event. Borcheller won the 1998 IMSA SSEC GS title and the 1998 SCCA World Challenge T1 title, and thus was champion of two series run by two sanctions in the same year! He then won the 2000 GARRA GTO title, the 2001 American LeMans GTS title, the 2002 GARRA Rolex SRP title, and the 2003 GARRA Rolex DP championship! His last Rolex DP win was the 2004 Daytona 24 Hours and his last race victories came in 2008 in the Mustang Challenge, where he won three races (Barber Park, Lime Rock, and Miller Park). Borcheller has been winning major races since his 1991 SCCA World Challenge SS class victory on the Denver street circuit.
Mike Rockenfeller’s early career efforts saw him place fourth in 2001 German Formula Konig points. He moved up to the German Porsche Carrera Cup in 2002, placing tenth. In 2003 Rockenfeller was the runnerup for the Carrera Cup title, winning the A1-Ring race in Austria. He also won the Nurburgring round of the Porsche SuperCup. In 2004 he won the German Porsche Carrera Cup title with five wins (Hockenheim, Norisring, Nurburgring, Oschesleben, and Brno) in the nine-race season and won the 2004 Porsche SuperCup races at Monaco and Hockenheim. Rockenfeller won the 2005 FIA GT2 Championship title, scoring victories at Monaco, Silverstone, Brno, the Spa 24 Hours, Zhuhai, and Bahrain. He also won the GT2 class in the 2005 LeMans 24 Hours. His 2006 efforts featured wins at Homestead and VIR in the Alex Job Crawford-Porsche en route to fifth in 2006 GARRA Rolex DP points. He also won GT2 in the 2006 Houston ALMS round en route to eighth in points for Alex Job, and his limited schedule in the Penske Porsche RS Spyder ranked him eighth in 2006 ALMS P2 points. Mike also won the 2006 Nurburgring 24 Hours for the Manthey Porsche team. From 2007 through 2009, Rockenfeller competed for Audi in the DTM and in prototypes in the ALMS and Europe’s LeMans Series. Although he did not win a race in the 2008 LeMans Series, Rockenfeller’s consistency won the driver title for Audi!
Nick Ham, David Haskell, and Sylvain Tremblay also won the GT class in the 2008 Daytona Rolex 24 Hours for SpeedSource Mazda. Ham, Haskell, and Tremblay also shared fifth-place GT finishes in the Rolex 24 for SpeedSource in 2007. Jonathan Bomarito’s 2010 GT win, his first in the Rolex 24, came in only his third start in the classic; he made his first start in 2005 and in 2009 was part of the SpeedSource quartet as well, when the result was only a seventeenth-place GT finish. Tremblay’s win was his fourth “podium” GT finish in the classic, as he finished third in 1999 and second in 2002.
Bomarito’s first pro win came in the GARRA Continental series ST class on the streets of Trois Rivieres in 2001. In 2003 Jonathan won the SCCA’s USFF2000 Championship title, scoring five race wins (Lime Rock race one, Mid-Ohio doubleheader, Road Atlanta doubleheader). Bomarito moved up to the Atlantic series in 2004, ranking ninth in points. In 2006 Jonathan won the Road America round of the Atlantic series and placed sixth in points. Bomarito won the 2007 San Jose street circuit Atlantic race en route to fifth in points. In 2008 Jonathan won three Atlantic races (Edmonton, Road America, Trois Rivieres) and was runnerup for the Atlantic series title.
SpeedSource veterans Ham, Haskell, and Tremblay have amassed double-digit win totals in major road racing events. Ham’s first pro win came in the 1991 IMSA Firehawk GS race at West Palm Beach and his 2010 Rolex 24 GT victory is his twenty-seventh in an IMSA or GARRA series race. Nick won the GTU class in the 1994 and 1998 Sebring 12 Hours classics and has now scored eight GT wins in the 2007-2010 period for SpeedSource (three in 2007, three in 2008, one in 2009, 2010 Rolex 24). David Haskell’s first pro win came in the 2001 Homestead GARRA Continental series GS race and his 2010 Rolex 24 GT victory is his twenty-second in GARRA Rolex or Continental competition. Sylvain Tremblay’s first pro win came in the 1996 Road Atlanta IMSA SSEC GS race. Tremblay’s 2010 Rolex 24 GT triumph was his thirty-seventh win in IMSA and GARRA series racing and he has shared Nick Ham’s ten 2007-2010 Rolex GT victories.