Chris Smith Racing Pleased With Debut Test in 65 Roses Porsche

BRASLETON, Ga. – Chris Smith Racing, a new Porsche GT team based outside Atlanta, fielded a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the recent “Roar Before the Rolex 24″ test at Daytona International Speedway.

Tom Sheehan and David Quinlan are the lead drivers for the No. 65 Chris Smith Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. (Dan Dodge)

The first few sessions in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 open test saw some troubles the team had to overcome, which included a broken CV joint requiring changing of the axel, minor contact with a Daytona Prototype in the infield and a broken header.

After the lunch break on Saturday, things started to go well with the team improving their times by one to two seconds per session, getting down to a final time of 1:51.605.

The majority of the test driving was performed by Tom Sheehan and David Quinlan.

“After some initial problems, the car got better every session,” Sheehan said. “I got more comfortable the more I drove and it showed in my lap times, which came down at least one second each session. By the Sunday morning session, I ran for a very consistent hour with almost every lap being within a 1 second spread. Those times put me right in the middle of pack, where teams were running in the 1:54-1:57 range. That validated all of the work the team did to improve the car after some initial teething and mechanical issues on Friday and Saturday morning.”

With the driver line up still not complete, team owner Chris Smith made a call to Shane Lewis in West Palm Beach on Sunday morning to see if he would come up and run the final one-hour session.

“Bringing Shane up was something that Greg, Tom and I talked about early Sunday morning,” Smith said. “I made the final decision and the call about 9 a.m. We wanted to put a pro in the car so we could put the finishing touches on our set up and get some good data as to how the car was working.”

Lewis and Greg Fordahl were able to make some final, minor changes to the car and the times improved from 1:53.8 on Lewis’ first flying lap to a quick time of 1:51.605, 1.8 seconds behind the fast time for the weekend in GT, which was a 1:49.868.

“If we there were another minutes, I believe we could have gotten the car down to a 1:50, no problem.” Lewis said.

The team considered the Roar Before the 24 test a success. They returned to the race shop late Sunday evening to prepare the car for the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 29-30.

At the race, the car will take on a decidedly different look, as the graphics will represent the partnership between Chris Smith Racing and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The car’s number, 65, ties in with 65 Roses, which is what some children with the disease call it, since it is easier for them to say. Cystic Fibrosis is an incurable disease suffered by more than 30,000 children and adults in the U.S., 70,000 worldwide, which causes the body to produce thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and pancreas. In the 1950s, children rarely lived to attend elementary school. Today, with advances in research and medical treatment, people with the disease can now expect to live into their thirties, forties and beyond.


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1 Comment

  1. Roberta Murphy Nowlin says:

    I hope this email gets to Chris Smith, my cousin through the Murphys. Chris, I recently moved to Agoura Hills, CA, a little north of Palos Verdes. I get the impression that perhaps you are now based in Atlanta, and it would make sense to me that you are still involved with racing.
    Sending all best wishes and love. Wondering how yo (and Dana) are and if you are possible still out here in southern Cal. love, Roberta (Bob’s daughter). Your mom was Always my Favorite Aunt xx oo

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