Wednesday
Apr112007

TEAM NEWS: Tafel Racing Heads West to Long Beach

Photo by John Thawley Cumming, Georgia, April 10, 2007 -- Tafel Racing is heading west to the streets of Long Beach, California for round three of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach to be run on Saturday, April 14th.

The 11-turn, 1.97-mile Long Beach circuit is a concrete lined street course that is celebrating its 33rd year, making it the longest running street race in the United States.

The ALMS series will adjust their typical two-hour-and-forty-five minute race distance to just 100-minutes. This will force the teams into differing race strategies.

Just two weeks ago through the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, Tafel Racing had mixed results. Robin Liddell started the race from the second row and blasted to the front of the GT2 pack by turn-three. The Scot was able to lead the first 32 laps of the race until the first caution, proving the speed of the Tafel Porsche 997 RSRs. The Tafel cars finished St. Pete in fifth and sixth places in GT2.

"I am hoping for the same luck in the first three coners as we had in St. Pete," Liddell said. "Although qualifying on pole is not out of the question. The team really gave us a good car in our last street race and if we can have the same confindence in the car this week, we are in for a great weekend. Wolf and I both liked the car at St. Pete and confidence is 90% of the game on a street course."

Wolf Henzler is confident going into the Long Beach race. The German is drawing from the speed and consistency of the car from St. Petersburg just two weeks ago."We had a good first part of the race at St. Petersburg," Henzler said. "We will go into Long Beach with pretty much the same set-up as St. Pete, where the car was really good. I have never raced at Long Beach, I have only seen the track map and it seems to be similar to St. Pete. It looks like a typical street course, slow corners and no runoff. We have a good basis to start with so I like our chances at the win in Long Beach. We have the pace of the Ferraris and we are going in confident."

Dominik Farnbacher is excited to race on the storied Long Beach circuit. The young German has a lot of experience on closed street courses and is looking forward to the Long Beach experience.

"This will be my first visit to Long Beach," Farnbacher said. "I have seen the race on TV and the crowd they get there, it should be a great weekend. We showed at St. Pete that we have a good setup for these tracks, so we should be a factor in the race on Saturday. I am looking forward to adding a new track to my racing history."

Jim Tafel is ready to take to the streets of Long Beach in his No. 73 997. Team owner and driver is taking the early strong performance from St. Pete and motivating the team to stay at the front. "We are going to take what we learned at St. Pete and apply it to Long Beach," Tafel said. "My learning curve won't be as high for a street course, now that I know what to expect. There is only one practice, one qualifier and one warm-up before the race, so no room for mistakes. We will need to maximize our track time and get the car dialed in quickly. Robin showed two weeks ago that we have the pace, we just need to put it altogether and get the result."

"The race is running to a reduced time format from what we are used to," Tony Dowe, the team's technical director said. "That means that strategy will play a more important role than usual. We will have to be on our game in the pits with our calls as well as our stops. We need to finish what we started at St. Pete and complete a great weekend."

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