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 on the Daytona International Speedway, the two Porsche 911 RSR racers achieved positions three and five.
The sports cars from Weissach had clearly dominated the first half of the long-distance classic. However, heavy rain, numerous caution phases, interruptions, and incidents through the two factory cars in the legendary Brumos design into a rainy game of chance in the final hours. The new Porsche 911 GT3 R achieved an eighth place at its race debut.
Heading into the race on Saturday afternoon (local time) 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 defect in the 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 24 hours and 50 minutes.
The race in the GTD class
In the GTD class, the new Porsche 911 GT3 R run by the Park Place Motorsports customer team achieved eighth place. After several setbacks, works driver Patrick Long (USA), Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia) as well as the two American racing drivers Patrick Lindsey and Nicholas Boulle repeatedly fought their way up the order. Over long stretches, the team from Texas and its experienced drivers underlined the immense potential of the new GT3 car from Weissach and led the race in the final stages. However, the interruption immediately after a pit stop foiled the tactics and thus the chance of a victory.
Bad luck also plagued the customer teams Black Swan Racing and Pfaff Motorsports, with accidents throwing there ca. 500 hp vehicles into retirement. The squads from the USA and Canada managed to match the pace of the frontrunners and were at times on course for a podium spot. A technical defect threw the Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by NGT Motorsport out of contention early in the race.