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This Is The First Time In History Porsche Hasn’t Had A Car On The Podium At Daytona

Sanctioning bodies began racing sports cars at the Daytona International Speedway in 1962, just three years after it opened. Dan Gurney famously won that race, a 3-hour sprint, in a Lotus, but Bob Holbert quietly won the 2-liter sports racer class in a 718 RSK, marking the beginning of Porsche’s many successes at the iconic road course/oval. Porsche is the winningest marque in Daytona sports car history, notching up 18 overall victories as a manufacturer, and an additional four wins as an engine supplier. This year, though the German manufacturer had five entries in two different classes, not a single Porsche was on a single podium when the race ended at 2:40PM Sunday. It was historic, as it marked the first time since Daytona began that this haS happened. Porsche haS had unhappy years before, but this one in particular will be a race they want to forget.

How the race went wrong for the GTLM-class #911 Porsche Motorsport North America 911 RSR

For the first quarter of the 24 hour race, the #911 was on a pace to a very good finish. Just before the 6-hour mark of the race, there was a brief rain shower that left the track damp, but not full on wet. While the rest of the GTLM class pitted for rain tires, Patrick Pilet opted to stay on track for the 8-minute sprinkling with slick tires. Because Pilet is an absolute master of wet weather driving, he managed to save the team two full pit stops (one to install rain tires and one to switch back to slicks when it dried), and emerged with the lead of the race.

When Nick Tandy switched into the car, he mounted a charge to keep the car in the hunt for the lead, but it did not end well. Entering the Bus Stop chicane on the back straight of the massive track, Tandy lost control of the Porsche and once he was off on the still-wet grass, there was no stopping the car from heavily impacting the tire wall. Both ends of the car hit the wall, tearing up the nose and removing the rear wing from the car. When he returned to the garage, the team set to work to repair the Porsche, and they got it looking tip-top again in just 20-minutes, but in a competitive field like GTLM, a car 13-laps down will most likely never be in the hunt again, other than a 24 hour race. However, a second impact in the same section of the track later in the night took them out of contention completely.

The car finished 8th in GTLM, 30-laps in arrears of the class-winning Ford GT.

Nick Tandy, Driver, Porsche 911 RSR #911: “After such an unfortunate race we have to look at things in a positive light. For instance, one positive aspect is that the team pulled together as one unit this week. Everyone knew what they had to do. Plus we didn’t have any problems during free practice and were going well early on in the race. We now need to build on this. Daytona is an important race, there’s no question about that, but the season has only just begun.”

How the race went wrong for the GTLM-class #912 Porsche Motorsport North America 911 RSR

Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, and Gianmaria Bruni split their time in the driver’s seat of the #912. In all honesty, they ran a relatively un-incumbered race at Daytona. The trio did not have any issues, mechanical or human, and simply pounded out laps in their mid-engine 911. Unfortunately, IMSA’s Balance of Performance did not fall their way this year, and the Porsches were only capable of a maximum-attack lap time somewhere about half a second slower than the class-of-the-field Ford GTs. Because the race was only stopped four times for caution in 24 hours (compared to 21 cautions in 2017), the field was not artificially bunched up as frequently as it had been in previous runnings. By that measure, once the team had lost their laps, they were completely unable to catch up. Ford was just too fast.

The car finished 6th in GTLM, 11 laps down from the lead.

Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, Porsche 911 RSR # 911: “Prior to the race we were all feeling very confident. We conducted very intensive tests here and managed to find a good setup for our 911 RSR on this racetrack. That makes this result all the more disappointing. Daytona was a strange race this year with very few safety car phases. We actually didn’t make any mistakes, however we were simply not fast enough in some passages.”

How the race went wrong for the GTD-class #58 Wright Motorsport 911 GT3R

Before the race even began, our favorite team to win was already in the garage making repairs. On the warm up lap, Robert Renauer was at the wheel and the car speared hard into the wall at Turn 5. While no official word has been made, rumor has it the crash was caused by a broken suspension component. The car was brought back to the garage and the team made it look brand new, but once the damage was done, they were simply there to get points and try to keep running laps.

They finished all the way down, 19th in class, completing only 666 otherwise trouble-free laps in comparison with the class-winning Lamborghini’s 751 laps.

Robert Renauer, Driver, Wright Porsche 911 GT3R #58: « I came out of the kink, went on throttle and suddenly the car turned to the left. I had wheel spin and couldn’t avoid the crash. I’m very sorry for the team. They’ve worked hard to prepare for this and now they’re going to have to work hard again. I’m sure they’ll fix it so we can go back out there and go for some points.« 

 

How the race went wrong for the GTD-class #59  Manthey Racing 911 GT3R

The Manthey car had a good start to the race, but did not finish strong. There is no official word from Manthey regarding their retirement other than « due to technical issues« .

Ultimately they ran 637 strong laps before pulling out of the race Sunday afternoon, they were classified 20th in class.

How the race went wrong for the GTD-class #73  Park Place Motorsport 911 GT3R

Park Place Motorsport suffered for nearly the entire 24 hours, causing the team to call the race a « test of will » for them. They had rear braking issues from Joerg Bergmeister’s first stint, which they dealt with for 24-hours straight. The braking issue caused Bergmeister to have an off at the international horseshoe. The team then had a second issue that ultimately cost them hours in the garage. Joerg also hit debris on course, during the same stint, which lodged the driver’s door closed. They spent two hours attempting to repair the damage and fit a new door. The new door, supplied in the team’s spares package, was not able to fit properly, and they were forced to come in a second time to fit another door supplied by Porsche Motorsport. When the clock ran out on the race, the team were still suffering with braking issues.

The team finished 18th, and completed 675 laps in the process.

Patrick Lindsey, Driver, Park Place Porsche 911 GT3R #73: “I said I wouldn’t get hopeful, but I did and maybe this is what I get for being hopeful,” Lindsey said. “In all actuality the team was great, the guys did a great job as always. Tim, Jörg and Norbert drove the best they could considering the car. We just didn’t have it this race. We fought with the brakes a majority of the time and then had debris hit the door which cost us a lot of time in the garage. It was a freak accident, the debris hit the door just right so that we couldn’t open it. One day, things will go our way here but yesterday was not that day.”

[Photos and quotes provided by their respective teams]

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Strong Porsche contingent at anniversary race in Florida

Porsche celebrates a very special anniversary at the 24-hour race at the Daytona International Speedway.

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A Porsche Fan’s Guide To The Rolex 24 At Daytona

While Porsche has the same pair of factory-entered cars in the GTLM category this year, the story is completely different in the GTD class, where Porsche entries have dropped from five to just three. With last year’s Daytona winners, Alegra Motorsports, moving to Pirelli World Challenge, CORE Autosport moving up to the Prototype category, and TRG dropping out of the series altogether, there are certainly a lot fewer Porsche entrants than Daytona has seen in quite some time. However, with Wright Motorsports effectively entering the class with factory-backing we’re still confident that even with a reduced Porsche contingent, they’ll still have a strong showing.

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PORSCHE IN THE GTLM CATEGORY

#911 and #912 Porsche 911 RSR – Porsche Motorsport North America

After a year of running the mid-engine configuration 911 RSR in IMSA and abroad in WEC, the team are well acquainted with the car for the 2018 Daytona run. They did well in Florida last year, and this race has the potential to be an incredible one for Porsche. Coming home in second place at the car’s debut a year ago was a strong start for the 911 RSR program. If they’ve been studying their data well, they’ll have a good idea for the strategy they need to implement in order to win this race.

The #911 Porsche will again be driven by Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy, who will be joined by Frédéric Makowiecki. Mako and Pilet are well versed with this car, having driven it in 2017 quite competently, with Mako scoring five podiums in WEC competition, and Pilet scoring a race victory in the #911 last year at Lime Rock Park. Nick Tandy, meanwhile, had his hands full with driving the #4 Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 car to seven podiums in nine rounds.

The #912 Porsche has a similarly competent trio of drivers for the Daytona 24 this year. Laurens Vanthoor, Earl Bamber, and Gianmaria Bruni will run the around-the-clock Florida classic together, and we’re quite fond of this driver grouping. Vanthoor, for example, was the primary driver in Porsche’s second car last year and works well with any number of co-drivers. In 2017 he started the season with Kevin Estre for three rounds, then Wolf Henzler filled in for a round before his ultimate partner Gimmi Bruni could be freed from his Ferrari contract to join the team for the remainder of the season. Earl Bamber, meanwhile, was busy winning Le Mans and three additional rounds of the World Endurance Championship in his 919 Hybrid LMP1.

Porsche’s GTLM Competition

The competition will be quite stiff again this year, with a pair of cars each from Corvette, BMW, and Ford, plus a single Ferrari from Risi Competition. The Corvette was quite dominant for much of the 2017 season, and that trend should continue. The Ford GTs have essentially re-written the GTLM category rules as a homologation special, and won a pair of races last year as a result. BMW, for 2018, has developed a brand new car, dropping the old M6 platform in favor of a new M8. Despite winning four rounds in 2017, BMW was unhappy with how heavy their car was and decided a new chassis was needed. The Ferrari was quite fast in 2017, but thanks to a big shunt at Le Mans, they were sidelined for much of the GTLM season. We think the Italian brand will come out swinging at Daytona.

PORSCHE IN THE GTD CATEGORY

 #58 Porsche 911 GT3R – Wright Motorsports

Wright Motorsports of Batavia, Ohio have been supplying Porsche’s Patrick Long with a championship-winning caliber chassis for the last couple of years in Pirelli World Challenge competition. Now that Pat has that challenge off his back, he’s moving back to endurance racing with Wright behind him. The ostensibly Porsche-backed team will have last year’s GTD champion Christina Nielsen in as the ‘silver-ranked’ driver in 2018. For Daytona specifically, Nielsen and Long will be joined by Robert Renauer and Porsche junior driver Mathieu Jaminet.

#59 Porsche 911 GT3R – Manthey Racing 

Manthey Racing is technically owned, at least in part, by Porsche Motorsport. They’re running a partial-season entry again this year with mostly the same lineup they had in 2017. This year the car will be driven again by Steve Smith, Harald Proczyk, Porsche factory ace Sven Muller, and Porsche junior driver Matteo Cairoli. Replacing Reinhold Renger for this year, however is Randy Walls. Unfortunately, the team DNF’d after just 61 laps last year, so we don’t have much of an indication how they’ll work together. Regardless of how the pros go, it’ll be down to the gentlemen drivers to not screw it all up, and luck to be on their side. Manthey certainly knows how to set up a GT3R, so the car won’t really be a variable.

#73 Porsche 911 GT3R – Park Place Motorsports

Park Place also suffered a DNF in 2017, but the team have pretty strong history in the GTD category, having taken Porsche’s second class victory at Lime Rock Park last July. Patrick Lindsey, Norbert Siedler, and long-time Porsche GT champion Joerg Bergmeister are again running the black and red beauty. Instead of last year’s run with Matt McMurry, the team have drafted Porsche fanatic and Black Swan Racing team owner Tim Pappas to the team. If Bergmeister is on his A-game, the team can certainly contend for the victory.

Porsche’s GTD Competition

Even more than the GTLM class, this is a seriously competitive field with an awesome array of cars, driver talent, and factory-backed efforts. The depth of talent in GTD this year is greater than we’ve ever seen it before, and at least 3/4ths of the grid have a car and driver lineup to take the win if things fall their way. In particular, we’ll be closely watching the Audis of Land Motorsport and Magnus Racing, the Acura NSXs of Mike Shank Racing, and the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari (Alessandro Balzan, in particular, is an absolute weapon in that car). Add in a field packed with BMWs, Mercedes-AMGs, Lamborghinis, and Lexus, and the race is pretty much wide open.

RESOURCES AND HOW TO WATCH/FOLLOW ALONG

The 2018 24 Hours of Daytona on Twitter for Porsche Fans
Entry List: Click Here
Timing and Scoring: Click Here

Television:

Saturday, Jan. 27
2-5 p.m. EST on FOX
5-10 p.m. EST on FOX Sports 2
10-11 p.m. EST on Fox Sports Go

Overnight (Jan. 30-31)
11 p.m. – 1 a.m. EST on FOX Sports 1

Sunday, Jan. 26
1-8 a.m. EST on FOX Sports Go
8-10:30 a.m. on FOX Sports 2
10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. EST on FOX Sports 1

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La nouvelle RSR entre en piste

La saison 20176 est déjà là ! Les 28 et 29 janvier prochain, l’IMSA SportsCar Championship ouvre par les mythiques 24 Heures …

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IMSA: Two new 911 RSR at official test for the 24-hour classic

Daytona 24 Hours: At the “The Roar before the Rolex 24”, the Porsche team is using this weekend at the Daytona International Speedway to get ready for the storied season-opener of the IMSA SportsCar Championship.

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