The new Porsche 911 RSR scored a double podium finish at the 24 Hours of Daytona, held on January 25 and 26 at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. The car’s performance in this International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned competition marked a successful North American racetrack debut for the 911 RSR.
A strong collective effort by the Porsche GT Team saw its two 515 hp 911 RSR racecars take second and third place. The result allows Porsche, which won the manufacturers’ title in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship last year, to secure the second spot in the points standings.
From start to finish, the GT racers from Weissach ran like clockwork at their first 24-hour race, with not a single technical problem hampering their premiere. The 911 RSRs swapped leads over most of the race distance.
The two 911 RSRs had already turned heads having qualified on the first two grid spots in the GTLM class. In the race, Laurens Vanthoor, Earl Bamber and Mathieu Jaminet, sharing duties in the No. 912 car, followed up on their qualifying session performance by claiming second place. The No. 911 sister car of Frederic Makowiecki, Nick Tandy and Matt Campbell finished in third place.
Both cars set the pace at the front with flawless stints, a perfect strategy and swift pit stops. But in the final few hours, things turned dramatic at the Daytona Speedway — spectators were treated to a spectacular finale with overtaking maneuvers and lead changes. After 786 laps, Porsche was merely several seconds shy of claiming another victory at the 24-hour classic since the carmaker won in 2014.
“That was a perfect debut for the new Porsche 911 RSR. At the first race in the USA — and one that’s 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 pit lane, everything ran smoothly and flawlessly. At the next race in Sebring, we want to defend our victory from last year,” said Pascal Zurlinden, director of Porsche’s GT Works Motorsport division.
Porsche’s customer teams also put in a strong performance as Wright Motorsports’ Patrick Long, Ryan Hardwick, Anthony Imperato and 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 drivers Sven Muller, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Timothy Pappas and Trenton Estep also put in a spirited chase through the field to take fifth place. Meanwhile, pole sitters Patrick Pilet, Dennis Olsen, Zach Robichon and Lars Kern of Pfaff Motorsports were unlucky as they finished in 13th after leading a long stretch of the race. A defective driveshaft relegated their car far down the field.
The 12 Hours of Sebring, where the new Porsche 911 RSR is set to compete next, will take place on March 21 at the Sebring International Speedway in Florida.