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Jan 29, 2014 - 06:26 AM
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Taggart Race Report: 24 Hours of Daytona
Posted by: newsla on Jan 29, 2014 - 06:23 AM
Sports Cars
Taggart Race Report: 24 Hours of Daytona


With the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the books, Jim Taggart conquered the twice-around-the-clock road race in the No. 19 Porsche 911 GT America for Muehlner Motorsport with a top 20 finish despite mechanical issues along with co-drivers Rob Gewirtz, Mark Kvamme, Jim Michaelian and Randy Pobst.

 

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Adding an hour in the garage and fifty laps to make up, the No. 19 showed progress throughout the race, briefly entering the top ten before a problem with the shifter mechanism.

“We managed to trudge through the night and the entire 24 hours to take the checkered flag without major incident,” said Taggart, after his first ever 24-hour race and first event in the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Although listed on TV as Randy Pobst at the wheel for the finish, Taggart was actually piloting the car for the last two hours of the race and took the checkered flag, consistently running 1:52's at Daytona.

“Being my first 24 hour race, it was an exhilarating experience,” said Taggart, who didn’t drive the car or see the track until Thursday. “Tons of driving time and tons of waiting time. Our team decided to drive two-hour stints each, which can be physically demanding, especially with the 185+mph speeds on the banking parts of the course.

“I had never been in that car before nor driven Daytona,” added Taggart, a last minute addition to the team. “The first few practice sessions were very intense. But after a few hours of track time during the race, you get into a good rhythm.

The dynamics of the different classes posted an interesting challenge for the team – with Prototype, Prototype Challenge, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona cars on track at the same time.

“Except for the Prototypes, our car was nearly as fast on the banking as the rest, sometimes faster,” Taggart noted. “Better aerodynamics and tires made the infield and the bus stop parts of the circuit much quicker for them however.

“One fun moment came when my coach and good friend Tom Long, in his new factory ride Mazda Skyactiv Diesel prototype car, and I were on the track at the same time at 2 a.m on Sunday morning.”

With the 24 hour spectacle in the books, Taggart looks forward to the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge GTS season in his No. 7 Lotus Evora for Taggart Autosport.

“A big thanks go to Randy Pobst who led the team in so many ways,” Taggart continued. “Randy is the consummate professional driver who is able to articulate his experiences to better the team. Special thanks also to the people and organizations that made the event possible for me to attend. Especially Corbeau racing seats, Rally Fighter by Local Motors, Smartcharms.com and Long Road Racing.”


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