Black Swan Racing is managing the challenge of running back-to-back entries in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour for the first time.
The U.S. based team, which is running a Porsche 911 GT3 R in each event, is using a split team strategy to make the two events work logistically.
While the Rolex 24 takes place this weekend, the first round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge at Bathurst follows immediately after on Feb. 3.
Team manager Chris Barber told Sportscar365 that he and a handful of other team staff will leave Daytona during the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener to prepare for load-in at Bathurst on Tuesday.
“The container got loaded in right after the [California] 8 Hours [in October],” he explained.
“We did all the prep on it and fixed it all up, whatever we needed to do, and we loaded it up. The container left on Dec. 10, it just landed in Sydney [on Wednesday].
“While that’s gone, we got all of our stuff ready for the 24. I’m leaving race day. At the green flag, I leave with an early crew since Tuesday is the setup day.
“The rest of the crew from here flies Monday morning in the afternoon. They get there Wednesday, drive to the track, and we’re on the track Thursday.”
Barber explained how Black Swan uses two sets of dedicated four-person crews for its IMSA and IGTC programs, while the rest of the team interchanges between the two.
He also noted how the IGTC program has been facilitated by contacts the team has developed over the last 11 years.
“We’ll use a guy in Australia who we’ve worked with in the past. We always need somebody local who knows what’s going on,” he said.
“So when we’re in Suzuka, we use someone who’s from Japan for the language and the driving around. We worked with him when we ran the Ford in 2008 with Falken. So it’s old acquaintances.”
Barber added that preparation and logistics-wise, a five-round IGTC program is comparable to the full 11-round WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona campaign.
Because of the long transit times between events, containers of equipment are constantly on the move, even during the winter.
“It’s awesome, but the people don’t understand that it’s not just the racing part of it,” he said.
“If you look at the five rounds for IGTC, it’s like doing the full season of IMSA, because they’re all endurance races so you’re prep time and maintenance life on the car is basically the same.
“But the amount of prep work, which we realized last year, is more so.”
Dalla Lana Facing Similar “Busy” Schedule
Another competitor making the tough back-to-back commitment is Paul Dalla Lana, who is also making the trip to Bathurst along with Daytona co-drivers Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda.
A total of 20 drivers are set to do the Daytona-Bathurst double this year.
Dalla Lana, who is contesting both in Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3s, explained that he will be fitting in business commitments between the two high-profile race weekends.
“I’ll actually slip a day of business in too because I have my own business in Australia,” he told Sportscar365.
“I’m going to Singapore for a couple of days and then I’ll go back to Bathurst. It’s busy. I’ve got to fit in my time as best as I can, but it’s good.”
Dalla Lana added that he chose to use the same car for Daytona and Bathurst this year after switching from the Ferrari to an Audi R8 LMS GT3 for the Australian enduro.
“We decided to stay in the same car this year because it was a bit of a challenge to jump out of Ferrari into Audi last year,” he said.
“It was just finding something we knew and having one less variable in the equation. I think Ferrari has had some good results.
“[In 2017] they won, so it’s a good car for Bathurst if we can figure out how to get it around.”