The Porsche GT Team tackles the first works outing of the year with two 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR racers and will face strong opposition in the GTLM class from BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari and Ford. In the GTD class, customer squads campaign five Porsche 911 GT3 R. A total of eleven Porsche works drivers and one Porsche “Young Professional” will compete at the season-opening round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. With 22 overall and 76 class victories, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in the history of this prestigious race.
Alongside the Le Mans 24 Hours, Daytona is the second great long distance classic in international motorsport. The race is contested on the 5.729-kilometre Daytona International Speedway, one of the most famous racetracks in the world, which features two steeply banked corners and a tight infield. The great sporting value of the race is also due to the fact that pilots come from many different race series around the world to fight for victory.
The Porsche drivers
With eleven factory drivers and one Porsche “Young Professional”, Porsche has the largest contingent at Daytona. Driving for the Porsche GT Team, Patrick Pilet (France), Dirk Werner (Germany) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) share the cockpit of the #911 Porsche 911 RSR. Tackling the legendary long distance race at the wheel of the #912 racer are Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), 2016 winner of the FIA GT World Cup and the Intercontinental GT Challenge, as well as Kévin Estre (France) and Richard Lietz (Austria). In the 911 GT3 R race cars fielded by five customer teams are factory drivers Jörg Bergmeister (Germany/Park Place Motorsports), Michael Christensen (Denmark/Alegra Motorsports), Patrick Long (USA/CORE Autosport), Sven Müller (Germany/Manthey-Racing) and Wolf Henzler (Germany/TRG) as well as Porsche “Young Professional” Matteo Cairoli (Italy/Manthey-Racing). For Dirk Werner, Laurens Vanthoor and Sven Müller, the 24 Hours of Daytona is their first race as Porsche works drivers.
The Porsche vehicles
The 911 RSR is a completely new development: the suspension, body structure, aerodynamic concept, engine and transmission have all been designed in Weissach from scratch. Depending on the size of the restrictor, the motor, which is now positioned in front of the rear axle, puts out around 375 kW (510 hp). Thanks to the particularly large rear diffuser combined with a top-mounted rear wing, the level of downforce and the aerodynamic efficiency were significantly improved. The new factory design of the 911 RSR with the basic colours white, red and black has further developed the clear and dynamic design language of Porsche Motorsport. The 911 GT3 R celebrated its race debut a year ago in Daytona mounted with the new ultra-modern, four-litre, flat-six engine with direct fuel injection. Porsche had designed the more than 368 kW (500 hp) customer sports racer for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car.
The first of 22 outright Porsche victories at Daytona went to Vic Elford, Jochen Neerpasch, Rolf Stommelen, Jo Siffert and Hans Herrmann in 1968 in a Porsche 907LH (longtail). In the traditionally very competitive GT classes, Porsche has notched up a record 76 wins. The most recent win in the GTLM class was in 2014 with Richard Lietz, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet at the wheel of a 911 RSR. Five overall victories in the years 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1991 as well as a class win in 1972 at the race in Florida makes the American Hurley Haywood the most successful Porsche pilot at Daytona.
Porsche Press Release