IMSA: Top RSR Sixth At Daytona
The opening round of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship took place in Florida, scene of Porsche’s first overall victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona exactly 50-years ago. Two 911 RSRs were fielded for the long distance classic, the No912 entry driven by Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Gianmaria Bruni. The second, wearing No911, driven by Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Frédéric Makowiecki. Qualifying on the second row of the grid, the two 911s kept in touch with the racer leaders during the opening part of the race on Daytona International Speedway’s challenging banked circuit.
Five hours into the race a brief downpour saw the Porsches remain on slick tyres, unlike some rivals, on a wet then slowly drying circuit Pilet moved into the lead of the GT field after six hours. He only lost the top spot when he eventually came in for a scheduled driver change. In the sister car during the eighth hour, Tandy lost control at the Bus Stop chicane, he slid at high speed over the wet green strip next to the track, impacting heavily with a stack of tyres. With the car repaired, it was back on track inside 20 minutes, but now 13 laps down, there was little Tandy could do. His second impact at the same spot during the night cost more valuable time, but it was of little consequence – the No911 car finished eighth.
The No912 RSR suffered no major mistakes, however, it was unable to match the pace of the frontrunners. Caution periods at this year’s race were few and far between (there were only four caution phases compared to 21 in 2017), making it impossible to close the gap to the leaders behind the safety car. Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars commented: “We gained a lot of positive experiences in preparing for the race and at the start, also in terms of the performance of our 911 RSR. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to implement this over the entire race distance. The result is disappointing. We had bad luck with the two impacts which cost us a lot of time. As a result, the faster car fell far behind. The whole team worked excellently and fought to the finish. The pit stops for repairs ran perfectly, yet we couldn’t do anymore. That was not our race.”
Round two of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, the 12-hour race in Sebring, takes place on 17 March.
|1.Westbrook/Briscoe/Dixon||Ford GT||783 laps|
|2.Hand/Müller/Bourdais||Ford GT||783 laps|
|3.Magnussen/Garcia/Rockenfeller||Chevrolet Corvette||781 laps|
|6. Bamber/Vanthoor/Bruni||911 RSR||774 laps|
|8. Pilet/Tandy/Makowiecki||911 RSR||753 laps|