Fifty years after Porsche’s first overall victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Porsche GT Team fielded two 911 RSR this weekend at the long distance classic in Florida. The racer with the starting number 912, driven by two-time overall Le Mans winner Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy), finished sixth in the strongly supported GTLM class. The second 911 RSR with the starting number 911, in which Patrick Pilet (France), Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) led the field at one point in the first third of the race, took the flag in eighth. Two pit stops for repairs after leaving the track in the Bus Stop chicane hampered a top result.

The race for the #912 Porsche 911 RSR, shared by Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Gianmaria Bruni, ran without issues. The trio made no major mistakes, however they were unable to match the pace of the frontrunners over the distance. In addition, the caution phases at this year’s Daytona race were few and far between, making it impossible to close the gap to the leaders behind the safety car. Especially in the USA, the race director uses this method after incidents on the track to herd the field together and thus keep suspense high. This year, however, there were only four caution phases compared to 21 in 2017.

911 RSR, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Daytona, 2018, Porsche AG
The Porsche 911 RSR at the spectacular long distance classic in Florida

At the 5.729-kilometre Daytona International Speedway, an ultra-modern motorsport arena with two fast banked turns and a tight infield, the race cars from Weissach took up the legendary long distance classic in Florida from the second grid row. Facing stiff competition from BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari and Ford, they managed to build on their strong qualifying performance and maintain contact with the front-runners. After a brief downpour five hours into the race, the Porsche pilots did not change to wet tyres, unlike most of their rivals. Despite their slower lap times, they were spared two pit stops for tyre changes. Thanks to this strategy and his remarkable performance on slicks on the slowly drying circuit, Patrick Pilet moved into the lead after six hours for the first time in this race.

911 RSR, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Daytona, 2018, Porsche AG
Smooth start for the 911 RSR

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