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Porsche Nabbed The GTD And GTLM Pole Position For The 2020 Daytona 24

Qualifying for the Rolex 24 At Daytona went very well for Porsche Thursday afternoon, as the factory-entered 911 RSR of Nick Tandy, Fred Makowiecki, and Matt Campbell will start from pole in the GTLM class with the sister car of Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, and Mathieu Jaminet starting in second place. Further proving Porsche’s greatness, the Canadian plaid team of Pfaff Motorsports took pole position in the GTD category. The GTD category is a tough one with factory support from a bunch of different manufacturers, so drivers Zacharie Robichon, Lars Kern, Patrick Pilet, and Dennis Olsen will have their collective work cut out for them.

Nick Tandy and Laurens Vanthoor did qualifying work for the Porsche GTLM team, and they swapped places at the top of the time sheets a few times before settling into the spots they have. In the end, Tandy snatched pole position with a time of 1:42.207 minutes ahead of Vanthoor, thus beating his own GTLM-class qualifying record, which he set at Daytona in 2019. The pair of Porsches are just a few fractions of a second quicker than the new Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs, so this should be a good fun battle across 24 hours.

Zach Robichon was at the wheel for GTD qualifying where he turned the fasted lap in his GT3 R with a time of 1:45.237 minutes. Not only did the Canadian achieve pole position for his Pfaff Motorsports team with this result, he also set the fastest time ever in a GTD-class qualifying at Daytona. The other Porsche team, Wright Motorsports qualified tenth in an 18 car GTD grid, while the Black Swan Racing Porsche suffered a heavy impact in a wet free practice and could not take part in the qualifying session, meaning that team will start from the back of the grid.

The 24-hour Daytona classic gets underway on Saturday, 25 January, at 1:35pm local time (7:35pm CET) and can be viewed live outside the USA and Canada on www.imsa.com.

Qualifying quotes

Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “We couldn’t have asked for a better qualifying result. Both of our vehicles are on the front grid row of the GTLM class. At its North American premiere, the new Porsche 911 RSR has underlined the great performance potential that we’ve already seen in the FIA WEC. The teams and drivers made perfect use of this potential and performed flawlessly. In the GTD class, a customer team starts from pole position, as well. It was here at last year’s Daytona race that the new Porsche 911 GT3 R celebrated its premiere. We’re ready to tackle the 24-hour classic.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “What a dream start into the IMSA season with the new Porsche 911 RSR. Positions one and two – a perfect qualifying result for the team. Still, the points have to be won in the race and we still have to work hard towards this. We haven’t won the GTLM class since 2014. We want to change that on Sunday.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “The duel I had with Nick was close and tough. I don’t like to lose, but Nick was slightly better today. Still, there’s no reason to complain. Both 911 RSR on the front row and the car was incredible to drive.”

Zach Robichon (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “The car was really strong in qualifying. Despite not having a lot of grip in the free practice sessions, we didn’t change anything and simply trusted the setup we’d tested at the Roar. The plan worked. The car already felt great in the out lap, and I knew that it might work. I’m very proud, and I’m pleased for Porsche and the team to have claimed pole position here at Daytona. Although the race is long and a lot can happen, things look very good.”

Qualifying result
GTLM class
1. Tandy/Makowiecki/Campbell (GB/F/AUS), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:42.207 minutes
2. Vanthoor/Bamber/Jaminet (B/NZ/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.049 seconds
3. Garcia/Taylor/Catsburg (E/USA/NL), Corvette C8.R, + 0.338 seconds
4. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (GB/USA/CH), Corvette C8.R, + 0.594 seconds
5. De Phillippi/Eng/Spengler/Herta (USA/A/CDN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, + 0.734 seconds

GTD class
1. Olsen/Robichon/Kern/Pilet (N/CDN/D/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:45.237 minutes
2. MacNeil/Vilander/Westphal/Balzan (USA/FIN/USA/I), Ferrari 488 GT3, + 0.476 seconds
3. Parente/Goikhberg/Hindman/Allmendinger (P/RUS/USA/USA), Acura NSX GT3, + 0.600 seconds
10. Hardwick/Long/Imperato/Bachler (USA/USA/USA/A) Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.248 seconds


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992 Carrera S Versus Cayman GT4: Which Would You Take?

Dan Prosser might be one of the best spoken and most technically savvy journalists in the biz, and he can drive as well as any of them. He doesn’t begin this particular video with a very intriguing premise, however, since we can easily surmise the 992 Carrera is the better everyday car, and the Cayman GT4 is a wildchild for the weekend. When the two are priced so similarly, we need to do some real thinking about which is the better buy.

Of course, the Cayman the machine which involves—and as a result, demands—more. We could all guess that. Fortunately, Prosser’s feel and technical expertise helps shed some light on a surprising aspect of the Cayman which might sway someone deciding between the two. For something sporting a GT badge and that purposeful bodywork, it’s sweet; the Cayman won’t snot out of its driver on bumpy backroads.

In a depressing English downpour, the GT4’s Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires fare well, though they might not be in their ideal element. The suppleness of the chassis, the directness of the steering, and the linear power delivery make it a wieldable machine in inclement weather. Many might think pushing a GT4 in the rain would mean a trip into a ditch, but the car is surprisingly well-mannered.

The Cayman’s focused character is tempered with enough civility to be a good all-rounder.

So is the 992. With its opulent, spacious, supremely civilized interior, is able to blend everyday driving and spirited driving a bit better than its slimmer, adrenaline-addled sibling, but it’s no pudgy cruiser. It’s very quick, great over bad roads, and because of its slightly less focused character, it’s a « more natural, more intuitive sports car [than the Carrera S]. » A benign character is a good thing for a everyday driver, but is that what drives people to buy a sporty Porsche?

There’s no denying the Carrera’s distinguished presence.

Ultimately, these two are still sports cars, and should be judged as such. You have to ask why one would buy a sports car if it weren’t stimulating, especially if it can manage the mundane driving reasonably well. The Cayman’s sharper edges make driving it that much more of an event, and yet, it’s not so harsh that it can’t handle everyday driving. If it were my money, I’d put it on the screaming yellow thing—but maybe I’d paint it a quieter shade of green.

Though Prosser’s impressed with the Carrera’s competence, it’s in the Cayman he grins more.


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This Safari 911 Is An Excellent Every Day Commuter

When Matt Farah left the potholed streets of New York for sunny Los Angeles, he didn’t anticipate the roads to be so lousy. The pockmarked streets of the sprawling city required something with suspension travel—something which could absorb undulations. Though his large-but-comforting Ford Raptor was supple enough, he still wanted something small enough to negotiate cramped streets, since wherever he went, he found it to be « awfully crowded. »

That list of requirements brings something resembling a rally car to mind. Many could go for a Subaru or something of its ilk, but Farah wanted something a little uncommon. Fortunately, he’s a well connected journalist, and once he had the chance to try the very first of of Leh Keen‘s Safari 911s, he knew what kind of car he had to have. Not only would it work for grocery getting and commuting through the mean streets, but it would have a distinct personality.

Keen’s been building these go-anywhere 911s for the better part of the last decade. Their base must be a G-series 911 (’79-’89), which Keen is happy to source. Farah decided to find his own, since he wanted to choose “the color, the year, and the interior.” He picked a ’87 3.2 Carrera for its direct shifting feel. He took a rally racer’s approach to preserving the unusual Cassis Red color with an Xpel wrap, rather than repaint it—much to the delight of his fanbase.

He then shipped this oddly colored car to Atlanta for Keen to upgrade it with his collection of Safari-grade modifications. Bash bars, skid plates, rally light pods, shaved side door mirrors, tucked bumpers, Braid Motorsport Fuchs wheels, Elephant Racing Safari suspension, a Quaife limited-slip differential, and BF Goodrich K02 tires turned this oddball ’87 into a bulletproof tank ready to brave the wilderness.

Continuing on its theme of oddball strength, Keen used commercial-grade LA city bus fabric for the seats. Matching the MOMO Prototipo wheel with the factory burgundy interior was a definite chore for the upholsterer, who needed « 20 tries to make it work, » said Farah. It’s an odd combination of qualities which make this 911 a distinct, indelible image in the minds of car enthusiasts, as well as the perfect manifestation of Farah’s personality.

While it couldn’t be fairly described as utilitarian, Farah does use this as his daily driver. « I recently loaded three bushels of firewood behind the rear seats. I mean—it’s not meant for attacking the canyons or going to the racetrack, it’s meant for going to the shops, driving to my office, running errands, and then taking to the dirt for some fun. It really is the best parts of a Baja truck and the best parts of an air-cooled 911.”

Not many seem to blend such distinct qualities in one car, but Farah—with Keen’s guidance—certainly has. Hats off.


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This Is What It’s Like To Drive A Le Mans Prototype In Los Angeles Traffic

« You don’t lock the doors when you’re driving, you don’t even really close them all the way, » is not something I’ve ever heard in a review before, but such is life in a Koenig C62. Not much about this car is like anything you’ve seen on a normal road car before. Unlike Groups 5 and 6 which were replaced quite rapidly by Group C in the early 1980s, Group C died a slow and complicated death. In an effort to keep the surprisingly numerous 962 customer cars viable Koenig, Schuppan, and Dauer converted some into street cars. The three companies ran the gamut from 962-with plates, in the case of Koenig, to rather elaborate new builds in the case of Schuppan. Dauer, who weren’t done racing the 962, opted instead to comply with the letter rather than the spirit of new GT1 regulations.

Koenig’s conversions featured a second seat, some interior leather, and larger diameter wheels than the original Group C cars, but not much else. The Dauer cars were also fitted with a flat undertray, luggage compartment, and narrower GT1-compliant wheels and tires than the old Group C racers in order to comply with the letter of GT1 regulations. For Dauer the result was both a road-legal homologation car and a 962-based GT1 racecar that won Le Mans outright in 1994. Koenig buyers got a 962 with number plates that was ready to conquer the autobahn and any racetrack, but which doesn’t tolerate stop-and-go gladly.

What Is It Like to Live With?

Matt Farah’s time in the first of about a half-dozen C62s on the streets of Los Angeles highlight the pitfalls of using a purpose-built racecar in the real world. Visibility forward is excellent. Visibility everywhere else, not so much. The chattery, grabby competition clutch needs lots of revs to get underway. First gear is not synchronized, and the gearing on the 5-speed dogleg box is extremely long. This granted the 800-horsepower car a top speed of more than 250 mph, although the highway manners best described as uncooperative at certain speeds.

There are positives as well. Matt notes that the engine feels more-or-less like a « juiced-up » 911 in terms of throttle response, and he also indicates that the ride is good, and that it has air conditioning. The engine is also still available from Porsche for the low, low price of $300k should some fault crop up in the existing one.

Is it a great road car? No. Does it have the provenance of the existing racecars, like this, this, or this? Probably not. Is it every-day usable for even an absolute madman like the GT2 RS? No. If you have seven figures to part with for something this patently insane however, there is nothing quite like a road-legal 962.


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The Porsche Formula E Team Had A Really Bad Time In Chile

When the first race of the season kicked off in Saudi Arabia a couple of months ago Porsche looked pretty strong, particularly with the experienced Formula E racer André Lotterer at the wheel. With a well-earned podium place, the team hoped to build from that strength to get better throughout the season. Showing up in Santiago, Chile, was a dismal display. The team suffered a double failure during Saturday’s E-Prix, as Neel Jani retired after contact in the first handful of laps, and Lotterer spent several laps in the pits affecting repairs before he was disqualified for exceeding electric power limits.

At the front the race was really raging, however as Jaguar’s MItch Evans, DS Techeetah’s António Félix da Costa, and BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Maximilian Guenther fought for the lead, taking the fight down to the final lap with exquisite strategy and dicey racing. Ultimately it would be BMW coming out on top. Could Porsche have fought for the win if it hadn’t fallen apart for the team so early on? The world will never know.

Neel Jani started the race from 12th on the grid and was forced to retire with suspension damage. Just shortly after the race started the other BMW of Alexander Sims chucked his car down the inside at the penultimate hairpin corner, which can only really accept cars in a lead-follow situation, shoving Jani into the sidepod of one of the gold and black DS Techeetah cars, before pinballing into a couple other racers. Jani did manage to return to the track, but ultimately decided to retire as the damage was too severe. His race was immediately scuppered through no fault of his own.

Lotterer qualified a couple positions behind in 14th, and quickly made moves through the grid, getting ahead of his teammate before long. Following the incident which saw Sims take out Jani, Lotterer later misjudged a braking distance and bonked the back of Sims’ car with his Porsche 99x Electric. He pitted for repairs and returned several laps later to get log more race miles and help the team test a bit in race conditions. Because he had more electricity to play with, Lotterer ended up with energy spikes higher than the race regulations allow, but possibly that is something the team was testing to see how close to the edge they could play.

With Lotterer’s disqualification, he’s now placed 9th in the drivers’ championship standings. Jani, meanwhile, is ranked 23rd of 24 drivers, one of five drivers yet to score a single point in FIA Formula E. Hopefully the Porsche team’s luck turns around as the season heats up. The next round is in Mexico City on February 15th.

Comments from the team

Amiel Lindesay (Head of Operations Formula E): “It was one of those difficult Formula E races with a few incidents. Unfortunately, the opening phase saw one of our cars damaged so severely that we had to make an early stop. Thanks to some great work from our mechanics, André was able to rejoin the race. It was an unlucky day for us, however moments like this are part of motorsport. Despite the result, there are some positive aspects, as the pace was there. We will go back on the attack in Mexico.”

Neel Jani (Porsche 99X Electric, #18): “We certainly had the potential to score some points. However, at the end of the first lap I was hit by another car as I turned in, which pushed me into the car next to me. That broke the front suspension on my car. Now we are looking ahead. If we continue to work hard until the next race we have a good chance of being competitive again. I remain positive despite the result. I only missed out on Super Pole by 0.15 seconds. We want to build on that in Mexico.”

André Lotterer (Porsche 99X Electric, #36): “Unfortunately, the race finished early for me and Neel after our collisions. It’s a shame but it’s part of Formula E sometimes. Starting the race from 14th place means that it can get a bit chaotic in the middle of the field. It was important that we were able to repair the car and return to the track. That allowed us to chalk us some more kilometres, to help us take another step forward in the next race.”


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