Excellent debut for the brand new Porsche 911 RSR in Daytona

By Victor Forner

The brand new Porsche 911 RSR car made its worldwide race debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona last weekend. The car finished in second place in the GTLM class, looked balanced and has shown an extremely good pace especially on the wet.

2016 was a year of ups and downs for Porsche in GTE racing with some excellent results in IMSA and disappointing ones in FIA WEC. Porsche North America took two GTLM wins with the last spec 911 RSR while Dempsey Proton Racing struggled a lot in GTE-Pro with the very same car.

Porsche focused all its efforts on the 2017 car, that moved the engine from the back to the mid. A change that made the new 911 RSR "more consistent" according to Porsche factory driver Richard Lietz.

In the Daytona race, the first hours were difficult for the two Porsches, with a puncture and slightly slower lap times compared to their rivals in GTLM.

Later the rain has come and the cautions brought the Stuttgart-based cars back into the fight for class win. During the night, the rain hit heavily the Daytona International Speedway and both cars improved a lot in the standing, reaching the first two places.

In the last hours the track started to dry and both Porsches became a little bit slower. The #912 had some issues but the sister #911, driven by Patrick Pilet, was still fighting for the race win with the #66 Ford GT, the #62 Ferrari 488 GTE and the #3 Corvette C7.R.

Patrick Pilet pushed really hard and overtook Antonio García on the #3 Corvette. He also took full advantage of the fight for the lead between the Ford and the Ferrari to overtake Risi Competizione's James Calado.

In the last 20 minutes Pilet was trying to pass Dirk Müller's Ford for the lead but the German driver pushed back all of his assaults to take the GTLM win. The French Porsche driver had to keep behind Ferrari's James Calado in the last minutes but was able to keep the second place.

With the pace seen at Daytona, there are no doubts that Porsche will be among the very strongest this year in FIA World Endurance Championship, in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and of course the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Photos: Porsche