Lieb/Tandy/Pilet Porsche 911 RSR navigates the Daytona International Speedway infield course during the Rolex 24.
Daytona Beach, Florida, January 25, 2015. Porsche Motorsport opened the 2015 race season this weekend with the 53rd Running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Twelve Porsche 911-based racecars took the green flag on Saturday, January 24 in pursuit of the German marque's record 77th career class victory at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). 24 hours later, the iconic rear-engine sports car took two podium finishes in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship's GT Daytona (GTD) class while the highest finishing Porsche 911 RSR in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class was fifth. The GTD podiums continue a streak of 53 consecutive years with at least one podium result at Daytona for Porsche.
Porsche 911 RSR
All three of the Porsche 911 RSRs - the most sophisticated variant of the seventh-generation of the 911 - challenged for the lead during the first half of the twice-around-the-clock Daytona classic. For the Porsche North America team, the official factory program in GTLM, the race hinged on a mid-race incident that took both the No. 911 and No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR entries out of contention to win a second-consecutive victory here. 11 hours and 10 minutes into the Rolex 24, the No. 911 driven by Marc Lieb (Germany) came together with an Aston Martin over the curbing near Turn One, with the No. 912 RSR shortly behind. As a result, Earl Bamber (New Zealand) in the No. 912 took evasive action, drove across the wet grass and slide into the No. 911 as it reentered the track. While no one was injured in the incident, both cars had significant damage. The No. 912 was repaired in the pit box, and returned with Fred Makowiecki (France) behind the wheel, 27 laps down. Bamber, Makowiecki and Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) fought to regain positions until drivetrain failure ended the car's run in the 21st hour.
The No. 911, shared by Lieb, Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Patrick Pilet (France) needed to be flat-bedded off the course from the International Horseshoe section of the track. It was brought to the garage area where the team overachieved in replacing both the right front and right rear suspensions as well as making an oil tank change. The oil tank replacement necessitated removing the flat-six engine and transmission. The crew returned the car to the track in time to take the checkered flag in fifth, the highest-finishing Porsche 911 RSR.
Prior to the incident, the No. 912 had its first moment of exceptional teamwork. Within minutes of the start, the Bergmeister/Makowiecki/Bamber-driven machine had an electrical issue. The team made a remarkably quick alternator change in pit lane losing only six laps. Through strategy and driving, the No. 912 worked itself back onto the lead lap and into contention for victory before the mid-race accident.
The No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR driven by Wolf Henzler (Germany), Bryan Sellers (Braselton, Georgia) and Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) ran in the top-three for much of the race. The sole privateer 911 RSR entry in North America was a late race contender for the GTLM class victory before a drivetrain failure ended its first Rolex 24 in the 19th hour.
All three of the Porsche 911 RSR entries completed 70 percent of the overall race winner's distance making them eligible for valuable championship points. The points go towards the defense of Porsche's 2014 GTLM Manufacturer Championship.
Porsche 911 GT America
In the GTD class, Porsche 911 GT America customer teams improved on their Rolex 24 finish from last year by taking two of the top three podium spots. The No. 22 WeatherTech Alex Job Racing Porsche of Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Illinois), Leh Keen (Atlanta), Andrew Davis (Athens, Georgia) and Shane van Gisbergen (New Zealand) got their season off to a good start with a second-place finish.
For the second year in a row, the No. 58 Dempsey/Wright Motorsports Porsche of Jan Heylen (Tampa, Florida), Madison Snow (Lehi, Utah), Patrick Dempsey (Malibu, California) and Philipp Eng (Austria) finished third in GTD. Heylen and Snow were in the car last year, while Dempsey will join the team for all the North American Endurance Championship events for 2015 (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans). Eng was a guest driver for this long event.
The Dempsey/Wright Motorsports entry dropped to 16th place early in the race when their scoring transponder was working intermittently, causing three different pit stops to correct the problem, but consistent, mistake-free driving and good pit strategy helped them move up in the field and onto the podium.
For Alex Job Racing, this marks the beginning of the organization's 26th year of operation, and the Orlando-based team will now contest for the GTD championship with two Porsches for the season. Earlier this week, Job received the Bob Snodgrass Award Presented by Rolex for his lifetime achievement in motorsports.
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship now travels across the state to complete the "36-hours of Florida" with the 63rd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh From Florida. Sebring International Raceway will host the second-round of the 2015 season on March 18-21.
Owen Hayes, Director of Operations, Porsche Motorsport North America: "This wasn't the result we were looking for or expecting but we endured through an awful lot in the last 24-hours. We dug deep and managed to have three Porsche 911 RSRs with points at the end of the day. I am thankful to our team for the work and effort they have put in. I am proud of everyone today."
Jörg Bergmeister, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "After we had problems on the first lap, it was very good to see how quickly the team solved the problem. Over time we gained back all the time we lost. Unfortunately, the incident between the 912 and 911 happened. That's racing but of course I am disappointed. After all the hard work, and especially with all the problems we had, we were still running fourth when we lost drive. Fourth would have been very good points to start the season."
Leh Keen, No. 22 WeatherTech Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "Since the first laps at the Roar test we've had a great WeatherTech Porsche. Cooper, Shane and Andrew were really solid all day but we just didn't have the speed in the car. It is tough to be second on the Daytona podium as we wanted to win so badly, but this gives us a great start to the season with a lot of points."
Patrick Dempsey, No. 58 Dempsey/Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America: "The tremendous support Porsche has given me has allowed this to happen. With Brumos, and their history here, it is such a satisfying experience and we want to thank them for their belief in me and thank them for giving me this opportunity. It means a lot, as there is a real family feeling about it. There is a beauty in this company that is all-inspiring."
GT Le Mans Results
1. No. 3 Jan Magnusson (Denmark)/Antonio Garcia (Spain)/Ryan Briscoe (USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7-R - 725 laps
2. No. 25 Bill Auberlen (USA)/Dirk Werner (Germany)/Augusto Fafus (Brazil)/Bruno Spengler (France), BMW Z4 GTE - ??? laps
3. No. 4 Oliver Gavin (UK)/Tommy Milner (USA)/Ryan Briscoe (USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7-R- 718 laps
5. No. 911 Nick Tandy (UK)/Patrick Pilet (France)/ Marc Lieb (Germany), Porsche 911 RSR - 640 Laps
7. No. 912 Jörg Bergmeister (Germany)/Frédéric Makowiecki (France)/ Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Porsche 911 RSR - 581 laps
8. No. 17 Wolf Henzler (Germany)/Bryan Sellers (USA)/Patrick Long (USA), Porsche 911 RSR - 530 laps
GT Daytona Results
1.No. 93 Riley Motorsports Ben Keating (USA)/Dominik Farnbacher (Germany)/Al Carter (USA)/Kuno Wittmer (Canada)/Cameron Lawrence (USA), Dodge Viper V10 - 704 laps
2. No. 22 Alex Job Racing Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.)/Leh Keen (Atlanta)/Andrew Davis (Athens, Georgia)/Shane van Gisbergen (New Zealand), Porsche 911 GT America - 704 laps
3. No. 58 Jan Heylen (Tampa, Florida)/Madison Snow (Lehi, Utah)/ Patrick Dempsey (Malibu, California)/Philipp Eng (Austria), Porsche 911 GT America - 702 laps
7. No. 81 GB Autosport Damien Faulkner (Ireland)/ Michael Avenatti (Sacramento, California)/Mike Skeen (Charlotte, North Carolina)/Kuba Giermaziak (Poland)/Rory Butcher (Scotland), Porsche 911 GT America - 687 laps
11. No. 44 Magnus Racing John Potter (Salt Lake City, Utah)/Andy Lally (Dacula, Ga.)/Marco Seefried (Germany)/Martin Ragginger (Austria), Porsche 911 GT America - 616 laps
15. No. 18 Muehlner Motorsports America Darryl O'Young (Hong Kong)/Matteo Beretta (Italy)/Marc Besseng (Germany)/Connor De Phillippi (San Clemente, California)/Nikolaus Mayr-Motnhof (Austria), Porsche 911 GT America - 539 laps
16. No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California)/Spencer Pumpelly (Atlanta)/Jim Norman (Tampa)/David Ducote (Houston)/Kevin Estre (Austria), Porsche 911 GT America - 532 laps
17. No. 19 Muehlner Motorsports America Jim Michaelian (Seal Beach, California)/Robert Flores (Los Angeles, California)/Michael Lira (Port orange, Florida), Porsche 911 GT America - 414 laps
18. No. 23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Ian James (Phoenix)/Mario Farnbacher (Germany)/Alex Riberas (Spain), Porsche 911 GT America - 233 laps
19. No. 28 Konrad Motorsports Klaus Bachler (Austria)/Christopher Zoechling (Austria)/Christian Engelhart (Germany)/Lance Willsey (Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts)/Rolf Ineichen (Germany), Porsche 911 GT America - 176 laps
About Porsche Motorsport North America
Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA), located in Santa Ana, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Porsche AG and the sole sales and service provider for the German sports car maker's North American customer sports programs. Porsche is the largest manufacturer of race cars with a wide range of products from the 911 GT3 Cup car to the ultimate 911 RSR. PMNA sells these models to customer teams in North America and provides them with parts, service and expertise in between races and at the track. The PMNA service truck is a fixture at most race tracks in the U.S. and Canada, staffed by factory engineers to service all of Porsche's customer teams.
About Porsche Cars North America
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga. is the exclusive U.S. importer of Porsche sports cars, including the Macan and Cayenne SUVs and the Panamera sports sedan. Established in 1984, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and employs approximately 270 people who provide parts, service, marketing and training for 189 dealers. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers with a best-in-class experience that is in keeping with the brand's 66-year history and leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety, and efficiency.
At the core of this success is Porsche's proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000 motorsport wins to date.
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