Commercial photographer Peter Harholdt is a good example of the adage that if you want something bad enough, you can get it no matter the odds.
The proof of that came last weekend when the Bolton Hill resident and his four co-drivers blazed their way to a second-place finish in the Grand Touring Prototype-Camel Lights division at the Rolex 24-Hour endurance race at Daytona. Overall, Harholdt's team finished 12th.
Anyone who doesn't believe it can see for themselves tomorrow, when ESPN airs a two-hour special on the race at 9 p.m.
"We put this team together just six weeks before the race," said Harholdt, who owns the car with partner Joseph Hamilton of Sarasota, Fla. "It's the first endurance race I've ever run. In fact, it was the first for all but one of us on the team."
The team came from far and wide. Joining Harholdt and Hamilton were Ross Bentley and Rob Mingay from Vancouver and John Mirro from Bath, Pa. The car was worked on in a garage in Athens, Ga.
The car, a Tiga 286 with a Mazda engine, was hit three times during the race, lost three noses and needed a 10-minute stop to repair the left front suspension, but still held together enough to finish 12th overall. And only the well-sponsored Mazda Kudzu of Jim Downing, Frank Jellinek, John Grooms and Jim McAdam faired better in the Camel Lights division, finishing seventh overall.
"The race just seemed to keep coming to us," said Harholdt, 47, and a veteran SCCA Formula Atlantic driver. "And I had the feeling on Saturday afternoon, a sense of being able to do it, of being able to get to the finish. It went almost like clockwork."
But the clock was ticking a long time, Harholdt admitted. When the final lap was run, everyone was too bushed to celebrate.
"But there was a lot of quiet satisfaction," Harholdt said. "We got into second place sometime before dawn and we stayed there, beating cars that had sponsorships of as much as $500,000."
Some would say it's beginner's luck, but Harholdt and his team have decided to push it. On March 20, they'll be appearing in the 12-hour endurance race in Sebring, Fla.