Extraordinary describes Park Place Racing’s driver lineup for the Jan. 26-27 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Extraordinary describes Park Place Racing's driver lineup for the Jan. 26-27 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The team's No. 73 Racing4Research Porsche GT3 will be helmed by a pair of former Rolex 24 winners, Patrick Long and Spencer Pumpelly.
Pumpelly won the GT class in 2006 and 2011 while Long's GT victory came in 2009.
Long and Pumpelly will be joined by Patrick Lindsey, Daniel Graeff and Jason Hart for the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic.
The team, which competed as Horton Autosport in 2012, will be making its first Rolex 24 start. Lindsey finished 16th in GT points with a trio of top-10 finishes. Horton Autosport ranked 13th in the team standings.
While the prestigious driver cadre gives Park Place a solid shot at a Rolex 24 victory, the team will perform a broader – and perhaps more important – function. The Children's Tumor Foundation (CTF) Racing4Research (www.Racing4Research.org) program utilizes competitive, professional auto racing as a vehicle to increase awareness of neurofibromatosis (NF) and raise funds for research. The genetic disorder NF, which can lead to blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer and disabling pain, affects one in every 3,000 children, more than many more well-known maladies such as cystic fibrosis, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
A highlight of each race event is the on-site presence and support of a large group of courageous youngsters and their families which have been nicknamed "NF Heroes" for their tireless efforts fighting the disorder.
Racing4Research raised nearly $1 million in donations in 2012 with Graeff's Rolex 24 effort, with the No. 4 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3 and co-drivers Ryan Eversley, Justin Bell and Ron Yarab, accounting for $600,000.
"To have this sort of driver lineup is amazing," said Graeff, a founding R4R driver who has been with the CTF program from its inception. "Patrick Long's name speaks for itself; he is one of the greats. But also Patrick Lindsey absolutely blew my mind with how good he is, as is Jason Hart.
All of us knit together really well, and when you add in Spencer Pumpelly, it is a pretty bullet-proof lineup."
Graeff formerly managed the music publishing company of Miles Copeland and has worked with stars including Sting, Cher and Keith Urban. He produced the soundtrack for Leaving Las Vegas and contributed to the films Reality Bites and the Sabrina remake. In 1997, he co-founded Lucini Italia Co., a premium gourmet Italian food company. Over the years he's raced everything from motocross to stock cars, recently competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro West Series in 2012.
Long, the only American factory driver for the German manufacturer, is a winner of the 2009 Rolex 24 in a Porsche GT3. That victory completed Long’s cycle of winning each of sports car racing’s modern endurance classics, as the California native claimed victories in the 12 Hours of Sebring (2005), 24 Hours of Le Mans (2004 and 2007) and Petit Le Mans (2005, 2006 and 2007).
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the group Park Place Motorsports has assembled for the Rolex 24,” Long said. “There are a ton of familiar faces on the crew and I’ve raced with my co-drivers wheel-to-wheel on numerous occasions. My first test with the team was last month and things couldn’t have gone smoother. This is will be my 10th Rolex 24 in succession and I’ve enjoyed every single one of them for different reasons. Having CTF on board with Racing4Research makes this year’s event even more special. It looks like the competition in GT will be intense, but I have to consider ourselves one of the favorites, and that has me pretty pumped.”
Joining Long will be Pumpelly, who owns two Rolex 24 wins (2006 and 2011), both in the GT category. They are among 19 professional victories Pumpelly has scored in GRAND-AM and ALMS competition. A degree in economics from James Madison University makes Virginia-born Pumpelly equally eclectic as Long, who is fluent in English, German, French and Italian.
“I am very excited to join Park Place Motorsports for the 2013 Rolex 24,” Pumpelly said. “They are very focused and well-positioned to take their first win in the Rolex 24. Patrick Long, Patrick Lindsey, Jason Hart and Daniel Graeff all bring experience into this race and we have some great partners in Park Place and CTF. I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”
Continuing the worldly attributes of Park Place Motorsports’ driver lineup is Californian Lindsey, whose day job is working on Wall Street as he balances a burgeoning racing career that has taken him to GRAND-AM. In 2012, Lindsey co-drove the No. 73 Horton Autosport Porsche GT3 to six top-12 finishes in 11 outings.
“I’m very blessed to have an opportunity to partner with such talented people. From my brother-in-law and engineer, John Horton, to our all-star driver lineup and everyone in between. I know we’re a young team, but the talent and the drive couldn’t be stronger,” Lindsey said. “Partnering with Park Place Motorsports is such a unique and exciting chance to bring newcomers into the sport, and I’m encouraged everyday by the values and teamwork displayed by our guys at the shop in Dallas. Another new partnership is one with our friends at Children’s Tumor Foundation, which we are extremely proud to be a part of. I can’t wait to meet all those amazing kids on race weekend. They are an inspiration and blessing to us all.”
Hart was born into a Porsche racing family in Northern California. He has been racing Porsches and countless other makes since his career started in 1995. Ready to race anything anywhere, his motorsports background includes ASCS Sprint Cars, USAC Midgets, go-karts, sports cars, vintage racing cars and even off-road vehicles, as the versatile driver scored a victory in the Class 4 division of the 2011 Baja 1000.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to race for Park Place Motorsports in the 51st running of the Rolex 24,” Hart said. “I could not have chosen better teammates to have as co-drivers, and our crew is just as impressive. Park Place Motorsports is off to a great start, and with a strong partner in CTF and Racing4Research, I can’t wait for the season to start.”