January 26, 2016
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Porsche Motorsports Event Notes. Tuesday, February 2 2016
Dateline. Daytona Beach, Fla.
Circuit. Daytona International Speedway
Track Length/Turns. 3.56-miles/12-turns
Round. 54th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Next Round. 64th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, March 19
Porsche Profile. Event Highlight Notes
Porsche Earns Daytona Podium Results with Trio of New Machines
Introducing two entirely new racecars and one updated for 2016 machine at the same time is something few manufacturers would attempt. Porsche did not only do that, it did so at one of the motorsports' most daunting tracks, the Daytona International Speedway (DIS). The German marque debuted its latest entry to the international GT3 class rule specification, the 911 GT3 R in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class, as well as the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSCC) support series GS class. Additionally, an updated version of the Porsche 911 RSR, the car that won three national championships last year in the newly renamed WeatherTech Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, was brought to the Rolex 24 At Daytona to begin defending its titles.
Daytona's 3.56-mile, 12-turn track encompasses both the NASCAR oval's high-banking and a twisting infield thereby putting amazing pressures on the men and machines that race here. To run at speeds approaching 200-miles per hour for 24-hours stretches, even well seasoned cars are pushed to their limits and new equipment faces its greatest test. Porsche met the challenge head-on with the Nos. 911 and 912 Porsche 911 RSRs racing one-two in-class for much of the day before taking the checkered third and eighth in GTLM class. A second podium came at the hands of Black Swan Racing. The newest member of the Porsche 911 racing family, the No. 540 chased down and barely missed a victory finishing second in the GTD class. In the CTSCC, the two Cayman GT4 Clubsport entries brought Porsche its first official points in the Continental championship with CJ Wilson Racing taking a third-place finish while Muehlner Motorsports America took the checkered flag in sixth.
Jens Walther, president and CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America:
"Porsche brought two new racecars and one updated machine to one of the most challenging weekends on the motorsports calendar. You could say we brought two and a half new cars here to Daytona. This was no easy task, but the new Porsche 911 GT3 R and 911 RSR each took podium finishes in the Rolex 24 and the new, mid-engined Cayman GT4 Clubsport did the same in the Continental Tire Challenge series. More importantly, each showed speed and reliability. Perhaps the greatest testimony to the 911 GT3 R is that each of our fulltime customer teams; Alex Job Racing's two cars, Park Place Motorsports and Black Swan Racing, all led significant portions of the race and Black Swan finished in second-place in their return to the WeatherTech Championship. We have a solid start for the remainder of the 2016 season."
Updated Porsche 911 RSR Fights Throughout Rolex 24 to Earn GTLM Podium Finish
Team Porsche North America closed last year's WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with an unexpected overall win at the Petit Le Mans, securing three GT Le Mans (GTLM) championships - Manufacturer, driver (Patrick Pilet) and team - in the process. The North American-based factory team opened 2016 in an even more eye-opening way, setting the overall fastest lap while qualifying in the rain for the 54th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona. After 24 hours on the Daytona International Speedway (DIS), Earl Bamber (New Zealand) missed out on the GTLM class victory by just twelve seconds. Driving the Porsche 911 RSR of Porsche North America, the overall 24 Hours of Le Mans winner held the lead at the long distance classic in Florida up until 36 minutes to the checkered flag. After a fierce battle with gripping wheel-to-wheel duels, he and his teammates Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) took the flag in third-place and earned all-important championship points to kick off the season.
After the last round of pit stops in the 24-hour race, the 470 hp 911 RSR held a narrow lead. Despite Bamber's valiant effort, both Corvettes overtook him, and he went on to score the last podium step. In the sister 911 RSR campaigned by Porsche North America, Le Mans winner Nick Tandy (Great Britain) had started from pole and taken the lead of the strong GTLM field, which his French teammates Patrick Pilet and Kévin Estre also managed to defend. But with five hours of racing to go, their No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR was hampered by a faulty driveshaft, which relegated them to eighth-place. However, they too took home important championship points from Daytona.
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport:
"That was a good start to the season. To finish just twelve seconds down after 24 hours is not really losing. It was a tough battle to the flag and we were always amongst the front-runners. But in the end it wasn't enough for victory, unfortunately. But at Sebring we'll do better."
Earl Bamber, driver, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR:
"Until shortly before the finish, I tried everything to fend off the Corvettes. We had a great fight, but they were simply faster today. Third place is a great result for the team. The GTLM class is so competitive. The races this year will definitely be super exciting and just as tough as this one."
Frédéric Makowiecki, driver, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR:
"That was a great race. Congratulations to the whole team. We did everything we could, but the faster car on the track won today. We have gained many useful insights from Daytona and we're well prepared for Sebring. I'm positive that we have the chance to fight for victory there."
Michael Christensen, driver, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR:
"We had the best strategy, but the Corvettes were a little faster than we'd expected. Still, it was very close. The team has been rewarded with a podium for its efforts. Daytona is simply a great race and a lot of fun."
Black Swan Earns Podium in Porsche 911 GT3 R Debut
For the first time, the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class will be structured around the international GT3 "class" specifications and the newest entrant in the category is the Porsche 911 GT3 R. It would be easy to assume that the first variant of seventh-generation 911 platform designed to those specifications would see any early success in the hands of one of the championship's more seasoned teams. While the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R and the No. 23 Team Seattle GT3 R, each prepared by veteran operation Alex Job Racing, and past GTD class-winning entrant the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports each led this weekend's 54th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, it was Black Swan Racing, who returned to the championship and to Porsche just this season, that took the car's first podium finish.
Driver/owner Tim Pappas (Boston, Mass.), Nicky Catsburg (Netherlands), Andy Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Florida) and Porsche's only factory driver from North America, Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) each shared driving duties over the course of the twice-around-the-clock classic. The No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche came within three-seconds of taking the Rolex watch but served notice they would be contenders for the season team and driver titles.
While the Nos. 22, 23 and 73 each took their turns at the top of the standings, issues crept into their pursuit of the famous Rolex 24 title. The strength of Black Swan was a consistent, trouble-free race. The black and green entry steered clear of both on-track and off-track issues to start the year with the second-place finish.
On Thursday, Park Place Motorsports also added to the new car's pedigree by winning the class pole position.
Daytona continues to be a draw for international programs. Frikadelli Racing, the most successful team in the history of the legendary track, the Nürburgring, made its first appearance away from Germany. The team ran a quiet and consistent race as they learned the challenges of racing in North America finishing 12th in class.
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport:
"I'm extremely pleased with the strong performance of our new 911 GT3 R. It's just as we had hoped for. To contest a 24-hour race with a new car and then finish on the podium is an incredible achievement. It's a fantastic success for our customer squad, Black Swan Racing."
Sascha Pilz, Manager GT Customer Racing:
"I'm completely satisfied with the debut of our new 911 GT3 R customer racer. Congratulations to Black Swan Racing on an enthralling and flawless race, for which they were rewarded with second place. The strong showing of our customer teams and the good performance of the new car allows me to look to the future with positivity."
Patrick Long, Porsche Factory Driver, No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R:
"I knew from testing that we had 24 solid hours in us but what I didn't know is how good the pace would be and how drivable the car would be. The Porsche GT3 R was phenomenal in all conditions. There was great, great teamwork from Black Swan Racing all day long. We just hit our marks. We didn't put a piece of tape on the car or have any unforeseen stops. In the end, the GT3 R performed on its debut. We're really happy. It is hard to finish second in such a long race like this but when you look back on what we achieved and just how close it was, I believe the winners ran out of fuel on the in lap, you have to be happy. Congratulations to Magnus Racing and we will be back for Sebring to try and redeem."
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Makes Pole and Podium Global Premiere
Porsche's newest racer, the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, made an impressive global premiere at Daytona International Speedway January 28-29. Based on the closed-cockpit Cayman GT4 production car, the "Clubsport" variant presents the first entry-level, mid-engine racecar from Porsche since the 1960s. It also provides an immediately competitive platform for two teams that entered Friday's BMW Performance 200 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race. On Thursday, the No. 33 CJ Wilson entry secured a second-place starting position for the one-hour, 30-minute race. During the multi-class season-opening event, Daniel Burkett (Canada) and Marc Miller (Holland, Michigan) drove the 385 hp sports car owned by Anaheim Angels pitcher CJ Wilson (Newport Beach, Calif.) to its first podium, a third-place. A second Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, the No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America entry driven by Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) and Bob Doyle (Killinworth, Connecticut) was sixth.
Owen Hayes, Director of Operations, Porsche Motorsport North America:
"We are really pleased to see the Cayman GT4 Clubsport qualify second and debut on the podium here at Daytona. Whenever you bring a new car to the track, you have a lot of anticipation regardless of the amount of testing and preparation that has been carried out. The car proved to be competitive at the test here in early January and again this whole weekend. Of course, there are things we will continue to improve upon, but overall I think we can be very pleased with the car in its first race weekend."
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2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
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