DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 28, 2019) – The Porsche GT Team was rewarded for a strong performance with a place on the podium at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Under difficult conditions at Daytona International Speedway (USA), the two Porsche 911 RSR racers achieved positions three and five. The 510 hp sports cars from Weissach had clearly dominated the first half of the long-distance classic. However, heavy rain, numerous caution phases, interruptions and incidents threw the two factory cars in the legendary Brumos design into a rainy game of chance in the final hours..
Heading into the race on Saturday afternoon in dry conditions, Nick Tandy (Great Britain) made perfect use of his pole position, with the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR holding the lead over many laps. His French teammates Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki retained the top spot into the night. Torrential rain early on Sunday morning proved to be a watershed moment in a perfect race. With deep water on the track, the 911 of the polesitter fell back into fifth place.
The sister car shared by Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) experienced bad luck early on in the race. The repairs to a front splitter mounting threw the trio in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR back by four laps. Thanks to a flawless drive and perfect strategy, the gap was quickly closed so that both factory cars were back amongst the frontrunners. The No. 912 vehicle was relegated to fourth place in arguably the worst conditions in the 57-year history of the endurance classic, but was classified third when a penalty was handed to a competitor when the race was finally stopped after 23 hours and 50 minutes.
Round two of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will also be held in Florida. On 16 March, the 12 Hours of Sebring (USA) will be contested as a doubleheader with the FIA WEC.
Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “If you ignore the weather, then you have to admit that was a great race. We witnessed some top-class racing from all manufacturers. It was a great show for the fans. We were really strong in dry conditions, in the wet, however, things didn’t really go as we’d hoped. The result might look a little disappointing at first glance, but the potential shown and the perfect teamwork make me very optimistic.”
Steffen Höllwarth (Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “That was a gripping race, from which we’re very happy to take home a podium result. We led the field over long stretches, we coped impressively with a setback for our No. 912 car and we regained lost time. There were many highs and lows. We were very fast in the dry with a setup designed for high top speeds on the straights, but unfortunately not quite so in the wet. To achieve a podium result under such difficult conditions is a great effort. Now we’re looking ahead with optimism to the next race in Sebring. We are keen to repeat our victory there from last year.”
Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “I’m very disappointed, because we were really strong in the practice sessions and the first half of the race. We couldn’t quite maintain the performance in the rain. A collision cost us two laps in the race, but that wasn’t the decisive factor. I’m focusing on the positive aspects. Our car was extremely fast on a dry track. Our team and the driver trio are strong. So I’m heading to the upcoming race in Sebring feeling optimistic.”
Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “The first hours were great fun. Our car was fast and reliable, I enjoyed thrilling duels against drivers of other brands. But then torrential rain came. Having to drive at Daytona in such conditions is a very different experience. But we can’t complain. It could have been much worse.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “I think we can be very proud of our performance this weekend. In the practice and qualifying sessions we were at the front, and in dry conditions we led the race over long periods. Unfortunately that changed completely once the rain set in. We experienced serious aquaplaning and therefore couldn’t quite maintain the pace. At the end of the day I’m left with many positive impressions.”
Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “What a crazy race. We were extremely fast, we coped impressively with a bitter setback and we had a car to beat in dry conditions. The situation was different in the rain. We were no longer the fastest out there. All in all, we’ve started the season well with a podium result.”
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “Everything was going fine until late at night. We’d set up our car for a high top speed and this worked perfectly in the dry, but we lacked downforce in the wet. I enjoy big challenges and I’m a fan of old-school racing, but these conditions were just crazy. When you’re driving at 290 km/h and you can only see two meters in front of you and you’re flying blind with 30 other cars on your tail all going the same speed, well, that just goes too far. I don’t ever want to experience something like this again.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “Had it stayed dry, we would definitely have been able to fight for victory. Unfortunately we lacked a bit of speed in the wet. Third place was certainly the most we could do under these conditions. We can be proud of our performance and result. We’ve earned many points to start the season and are on the podium.”