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ZF Motorsports Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona Newsletter
Posted by: newsla on Jan 25, 2014 - 04:22 PM
Grand Am News
ZF Motorsports Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona Newsletter

ZF Friedrichshafen AG today announced that it has become an official technical partner of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The TUDOR Championship is the top sportscar category in North America and features 12 rounds at top racing venues throughout the U.S. and Canada.


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Left, Julio Caspari, ZF president NA; Norbert Odendahl, ZF managing director, race engineering; Scott Atherton, IMSA president and COO.

Around the globe, many renowned racing teams and car manufacturers have been relying on ZF's innovative technologies and first-class service. From the top Formula 1 teams, Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) competitors to the World Rally Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, ZF helps race teams get to the winners circle. Through this new partnership with the TUDOR Championship, ZF is focusing its North American motorsports efforts towards the further development of the new sportscar series. This three-year commitment will establish a firm presence and increased awareness of the ZF brand in this important market.

Dr. Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, comments, "the new TUDOR Championship will go beyond North America with the fusion of DTM and Super GT. This opens up an international growth perspective for worldwide sportscar racing and is the decisive factor for our new partnership. The TUDOR Championship series is the perfect stage for us to demonstrate the technical excellence of ZF products. With wide media coverage, and a high level of race weekend attendance, the TUDOR Championship is also an excellent platform for further communication programs directly aimed at the North American market. We aim to contribute to the further evolution of motorsports in North America by using our experience and expertise gained throughout the world, especially in Europe."

MRN's Tony Rizutti is the ZF Race Reporter
In addition, ZF Motorsports is expanding its Race Reporter video series beyond the DTM in Europe and the Super GT Series in Japan to North America. At selected TUDOR Championship rounds ZF will be providing video coverage of interesting series information as well as define several technical aspects of the sport with the highlight of the series being a fan question. We will take a fan question and then go into the garage area and get the answers.

Motor Racing Network's Tony Rizzuti will host the TUDOR ZF Motorsports Race Reporter series. Tony's at the track perspective is sure to provide insight into the TUDOR Championship throughout the 2014 season.

ZF Clutch to Get 24 Hours of Exercise at The World Center of Racing

ZF has engineered its high-performance clutch systems much in the same manner as it does its components for the street - to take the abuse and go the distance.

Leh Keen, driver of the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche says the way he drives the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona has changed over the last few years as the technology in his 911 has improved.

"Just five years ago, the Daytona 24 was an endurance race," Keen said. "But in the last few years, with the reliability of the cars and competitiveness of the GT class, it has turned into a sprint race. We will drive the WeatherTech Porsche at about 99 percent, while saving the last bit for the final hours of the race. It's always good to make sure you keep clean until Sunday morning then start planning the attack for the finish."

With the advent of electronic paddle shift gear changes in today's race cars, ZF has kept pace with its clutch technology to maximize the response and longevity of the key components to take the abuse of 24 hours of racing.

"With the new paddle shift system we only use the clutch pedal when leaving the pit box," Keen continued. "After that it's all computer and pneumatic systems, which makes it much easier on us inside the car. We will leave the pit box in the same manner as always - a big smoky burnout to warm the rear tires. At Daytona, we will shift about 30 times a lap. We do about 33 laps in an hour. That is almost 24,000 hits on the clutch over 24 hours of racing. That's a lot of shifts. The computer blips [revs] the engine to perfectly match the wheel speed on downshifts and on up-shifts it will cut the engine for a millisecond to engage the next gear so you don't grind the gears and abuse the clutch."

ZF engineers tailor its clutch technology to the individual desires of each race team to help get them to the checkered flag and victory lane.

TUDOR United SportsCar Championships Inaugural Season Begins At Daytona

For those who follow American sportscar racing, Sept. 5, 2012 was a date many sportscar fans had been waiting for for quite some time. It was the day that the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am Road Racing officially merged to become one series - essentially bringing together the best manufacturers, the newest technology, the hottest looking cars, and some of the best drivers in the world.

It wasn't until March 14, 2013 that the new series got its new name: United SportsCar Championship. In September, it was announced that TUDOR, the Swiss watch manufacturer, would be the series new title sponsor. From there, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship was born.

The TUDOR SportsCar Championship features four car classes. The Prototype (P) class combines the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype with ALMS P2 prototype and DeltaWing cars built to 2014 specifications. Prototype Challenge (PC) is a spec class featuring Prototype cars built by Oreca with Chevrolet engines and Continental tires. The GT Le Mans (GTLM) class is a continuation of the ALMS GT class. The GT Daytona (GTD) class combines the Grand-Am GT and GX classes with the ALMS GTC class Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.

The TUDOR Championship opens its inaugural season with the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona Jan. 23-26. This race has a rich history that includes some biggest names in motorsports. Hurley Haywood, Scott Pruett, David Brabham and Jorge Bergmeister have set the standard for what it means to win the Rolex 24.

Think about it. In order to win, you have to first finish. That is no easy task given the grueling punishment the cars and equipment take lap after lap for 24 hours straight. Teams will consist of three or four drivers. Teams who are in contention for the win heading into the race's 23rd hour will have completed more than 700 laps (nearly 2,500 miles) around the 11-turn, 3.56-mile road course. To make it to the end, teams rely heavily on choosing the right equipment. Choosing the right equipment includes selecting the right chassis and powerplant combination, along with selecting the right tires, brakes, clutch and shocks - just to name a few.

The upcoming USC season is sure to full of firsts. When the green flag drops at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, race fans will witness the dawning of a new era in American sportscar racing and ZF will be there to help usher it in. The first two hours of the Rolex 24 at Daytona will be aired live on Fox.

Dion von Moltke - Daytona ZF Clutch Performer

Dion von Moltke is our ZF Daytona Clutch Performer. Von Moltke is coming off of a very successful 2013 season where he was a part of the winning Rolex 24 and Sebring 12 Hour GT race teams.

"Winning the Rolex 24 Hours and the Sebring 12 Hours was a result of many factors," von Moltke said. "Hard work, being on a great team with Alex Job Racing, and some amazing teammates in both of those races we're all vital factors. For sure a lot of it was being at the right place at the right time as it was all coming together. Most definitely winning either of those races is a culmination of a dream that I have had since before I even started racing, but to win both in the same year is something so special I find it difficult to find any words to describe it."

In 2014, Dion will drive for Flying Lizard Motorsports in its eSilicon, PR Newswire, No. 35 Audi R8 in the Tudor United Sports Car Championship, as well as continuing his studies at Florida International University. Driving and school require some the same skills.

"I am always searching for new ways to prepare and improve my mind and body," he continued. "This year during the off season I attended the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida for a week long training camp. They have worked with the best professional athletes from the NFL, tennis, soccer and basketball. I knew they had a program that I could learn from so I went there to try and improve myself as an athlete and racecar driver. We worked a lot on the visual skills and how to improve them, and then combined that with mental and physical training."

Von Moltke is driving with team owner Seth Neiman, Alessandro Latif, and Filipe Albuquerque for the 52nd running of the twice around the clock classic in Daytona.

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