IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: The new Porsche 911 RSR celebrated a successful North American debut with a double podium at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
After a strong team effort, the two nine-elevens fielded by the Porsche GT Team finished on second and third place. Porsche, which won the manufacturers’ championship in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship last year, is now second in the points after Daytona.
From start to finish, the GT racers from Weissach ran like clockwork at their first 24-hour race. Not a single technical problem hampered the premiere, at which the two new 911 RSR took turns at the lead over most of the distance. In a top-class and gripping end phase, after 786 laps, Porsche was just several seconds shy of claiming another victory at the 24-hour classic in the USA after 2014.
The two Porsche 911 RSR had already turned heads, qualifying on the first two grid spots in the GTLM class. In the race, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) followed up on this top performance, claiming second place in the No. 912 vehicle, with the No. 911 sister car with the driver trio Frédéric Makowiecki (France), Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Matt Campbell (Australia) finishing third. With flawless stints, a perfect strategy and swift pit stops, both crews set the pace at the front.
A spectacular finale
In the final few hours, things turned dramatic on the International Daytona Speedway. In bright sunshine, spectators were treated to a spectacular finale with overtaking manoeuvres and changes at the front. The six Porsche works drivers were rewarded with a double podium and their team for a successful weekend, making the outstanding debut of the new Porsche 911 RSR perfect.
The Porsche customer teams also put in a strong performance at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Wright Motorsports with the American drivers Patrick Long, Ryan Hardwick, Anthony Imperato and the Austrian Klaus Bachler made up many positions in the second half of the race, and managed to finish fourth in the GTD class despite sustaining slight damages to the underbody of their No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R. Behind them, Black Swan Racing also put in a spirited chase through the field to take fifth place with drivers Sven Müller (Germany), Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands), Timothy Pappas (USA) and Trenton Estep (USA) at the wheel of the No. 54 entry. The polesitters from the Pfaff Motorsports team experienced bad luck. After leading over a long stretch, a drive-shaft defect relegated the No. 9 car shared by Patrick Pilet (France), Dennis Olsen (Norway), Zach Robichon (Canada) and Lars Kern (Germany) far down the field, with the quartet ultimately concluding the Daytona 24-hour race on 13th.
Comments on the race
Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Works Motorsport): “That was a perfect debut for the new Porsche 911 RSR. At the first race in the USA – and one over 24 hours – we didn’t experience a single technical problem and ended up on the podium with both cars. From the team effort to the strategy right through to the work in the pitlane, everything ran smoothly and flawlessly. At the next race in Sebring, we want to defend our victory from last year.”
Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “It’s not often that you make it through a 24-hour race without making any mistakes. It’s remarkable and a great start to the season for the new 911 RSR. Even though it wasn’t quite enough today, we’re all the more determined to go all-out and climb to the top step of the podium again in the future.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “It was a clean race that we can be proud of. The car ran well from start to finish. Our pit crew did an awesome job. There’s nothing to improve on. Our pace was good, too, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough to win.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “We pushed hard right from the start, stayed amongst the frontrunners for 24 hours and led for a long time. To kick off the season on the podium with the two new RSR is a fantastic start to the 2020 racing year.”
The race: Interim report 1
At the 24 Hours of Daytona, the two Porsche 911 RSR have settled in at the front after two hours.The No. 911 vehicle shared by pole-sitter Nick Tandy (Great Britain), the Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki and Matt Campbell (Australia) underscores the excellent qualifying performance and sets the pace in the GTLM class. The No. 912 nine-eleven driven by Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Mathieu Jaminet (France) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) took up the race from position two on the grid and now follows close on the bumper of the sister car in second place.
The Porsche customer team Pfaff Motorsports also got off to a perfect start. The Porsche 911 GT3 R (#9) with the driver quartet Patrick Pilet (France), Dennis Olsen (Norway), Zach Robichon (Canada) and Lars Kern (Germany) had taken up the endurance classic from position one and is now the GTD-class pacesetter. While the 911 fielded by Wright Motorsports is sitting at the rear of the midfield, the Black Swan Racing squad’s Porsche GT3 R has made up several places. The No. 54 GT racer missed out on qualifying due to repair work and started from the last grid spot.
The race: Interim report 2
At the Daytona 24-hour race, both Porsche 911 RSR ran flawlessly through the night to further consolidate their position at the top.In cool temperatures, the Porsche GT Team without fail made the right tyre choice. Thanks to this, the six works drivers were able to take full advantage of the performance potential of the 2019-generation GT racer, which is based on the high-performance 911 GT3 RS road-legal sports car.
From the very start of the race, the Porsche 911 RSR repeatedly took the lead and set the pace in the GTLM class. Until the early morning hours, the No. 912 vehicle shared by Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) swapped places at the front with the No. 911 sister car driven by the trio Frédéric Makowiecki (France), Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Matt Campbell (Australia). Since both Porsche 911 RSR vehicles have already switched out the brakes – unlike many of their rivals – with about five hours of racing to go, the situation looks good for Porsche to claim its first win since 2014.
In the GTD-class, the Porsche customer team Wright Motorsports with the American drivers Patrick Long, Ryan Hardwick, Anthony Imperato and Klaus Bachler (Austria) managed to make up many positions during the night with the No. 16 GT racer and is currently within striking distance of the top. The No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Black Swan Racing fell behind after receiving a drive-through penalty, but is now making its way up the field. Bad luck hit the Pfaff Motorsports squad. After taking off from pole position, Patrick Pilet (France), Dennis Olsen (Norway), Zach Robichon (Canada) and Lars Kern (Germany) dominated the race in the GTD-class race over long stretches in their No. 9 vehicle. A broken drive shaft threw the team far down the order, robbing them of all chances of victory.