At the Daytona 24-hour race, both Porsche 911 RSR ran flawlessly through the night to further consolidate their position at the top. In cool temperatures, the Porsche GT Team without fail made the right tyre choice. Thanks to this, the six works drivers were able to take full advantage of the performance potential of the ca. 515-hp 2019-generation GT racer, which is based on the high-performance 911 GT3 RS road-legal sports car.
From the very start of the race, the Porsche 911 RSR repeatedly took the lead and set the pace in the GTLM class. Until the early morning hours, the No. 912 vehicle shared by Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) swapped places at the front with the No. 911 sister car driven by the trio Frédéric Makowiecki (France), Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Matt Campbell (Australia). Since both Porsche 911 RSR vehicles have already switched out the brakes – unlike many of their rivals – with about five hours of racing to go, the situation looks good for Porsche to claim its first win since 2014.
In the GTD-class, the Porsche customer team Wright Motorsports with the American drivers Patrick Long, Ryan Hardwick, Anthony Imperato and Klaus Bachler (Austria) managed to make up many positions during the night with the No. 16 GT racer and is currently within striking distance of the top. The No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Black Swan Racing fell behind after receiving a drive-through penalty, but is now making its way up the field. Bad luck hit the Pfaff Motorsports squad. After taking off from pole position, Patrick Pilet (France), Dennis Olsen (Norway), Zach Robichon (Canada) and Lars Kern (Germany) dominated the race in the GTD-class race over long stretches in their No. 9 vehicle. A broken drive shaft threw the team far down the order, robbing them of all chances of victory.
Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Works Motorsport): “Things ran well for us in the night. We changed the brakes during a caution phase, which gave us an advantage over many competitors who still have to do this. It was really cold, at times the temperature was as low as seven degrees Celsius. But we were ready and well prepared for it. Now it’s time to focus completely and keep our fingers crossed.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “When the temperatures are low, the tyres are cold for the first laps of a stint and it’s all about keeping the vehicle on the track. Once you’ve got the tyres up to temperature you can really push. Our car is fantastic and our pace is consistent. We still have a lot of laps ahead of us, but we can control the race at the front.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “We battled hard through the night against a competitor at the front with both 911 RSR. I think it’ll stay gripping to the flag. The gaps are very small. Our car is running perfectly and, despite the cool temperatures, I had no problems with the tyres, which we always changed at the right time.”