Porsche 911 RSR (911), Porsche GT Team- Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Frederic Makowiecki

Qualifying, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, round 1, Daytona/USA

Porsche will take up the 24 Hours of Daytona from pole position. At the wheel of the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, works driver Nick Tandy (Great Britain) set the fastest lap time in the 15-minute qualifying session.

Scoring a time of 1:42.257 minutes, the British racer was clearly ahead of his toughest rivals in the GTLM class. Earl Bamber (New Zealand) planted the sister car with the starting number 912 on the fifth grid spot. The two Porsche 911 RSR tackle round one of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season in the livery of the legendary Brumos Racing team. 

Porsche GT Team chose a perfect strategy

In the hunt for top times, the Porsche GT Team chose a perfect strategy. The experienced factory squad sent the ca. 510 hp sports cars from Weissach out on the track precisely at the right time. Tandy benefited from the slipstream of other vehicles and got the best out of the 911 RSR’s high potential. With his hottest lap, the UK driver set a new qualifying record for the GTLM class at Daytona. Posting six top times in the GTLM class, Tandy is the best qualifying driver in the history of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. The fifth grid spot for the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR rounds off a successful qualifying session for Porsche. 

Porsche 911 RSR (912), Porsche GT Team- Earl Bamber, Mathieu Jaminet, Laurens Vanthoor
Porsche 911 RSR (912), Porsche GT Team- Earl Bamber, Mathieu Jaminet, Laurens Vanthoor

In the GTD class, Lars Kern (Weissach) secured a top-ten grid position at the debut of the new 500 hp Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by the Canadian team, Pfaff Motorsports. With the number 9 vehicle, the Porsche development driver turned the eighth quickest lap in the 15-minute session. The identical No. 73 sports car run by Park Place Motorsports takes up the 24-hour race from position ten, with the customer squad vehicles from Black Swan Racing (#540) and NGT Motorsport (#99) occupying grids positions 13 and 17 respectively. 

The 24-hour race at Daytona takes off on Saturday, 26 January, at 14:35 hrs local time (20:35 hrs CET).

Qualifying quotes

Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “The first qualifying of the year and immediately on pole position: you can’t wish for a better start than that. We have to give a little credit to the competition for the nice slipstreaming, but it became clear that we were right up there at the decisive moment. That was the first step, now comes the race. Our goal is clear: We want to defend our position with the pole-setting car and ensure that the sister car makes up a few places.”

Porsche 911 RSR (911), Porsche GT Team- Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Frederic Makowiecki - 2
Porsche 911 RSR (911), Porsche GT Team- Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Frederic Makowiecki – 2

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “Our aim was to look for a decent slipstream, and that worked perfectly. On the long straights at Daytona this can really help and gives you a lot of time, especially if you catch the slipstream from two cars – as in our case. Sometimes this tactic doesn’t work, but today we were in luck. While pole position is fantastic, it doesn’t mean as much at a 24-hour race as it does at other events. Still, it’s important to start such a weekend with a great result.”

Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “The qualifying was okay. Congratulations to Nick, Patrick and Fred on claiming pole in the number 911 car. Everything ran perfectly for them, but not so much for us. It’s obvious that we need to do a bit more work on optimising the car before the race. But certainly anything is possible.”

Lars Kern (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “A little more would have been possible. I got stuck behind another car, which gave me a good tow with the slipstream on the straights, but held me up significantly in the corners. That cost a bit of time. But all in all I’m very pleased with the setup and handling of our Porsche 911 GT3 R. The car feels good and that gives me confidence for the long race.”

Porsche GT Team: Nick Tandy, Hurley Haywood (l-r)

Qualifying result

GTLM class

1. Pilet/Tandy/Makowiecki (Porsche #911), 1:42.257 minutes
2. Magnussen/Garcia/Rockenfeller (Corvette #3), + 0.326 seconds
3. Briscoe/Westbrook/Dixon (Ford #67), + 0.377 seconds
4. Rigon/Molina/Pier Guidi/Calado (Ferrari #62), + 0.455 seconds
5. Bamber/Vanthoor/Jaminet (Porsche #912), + 0.539 seconds
6. Hand/Müller/Bourdais (Ford #66), + 0.633 seconds
7. Krohn/Edwards/Mostert/Zanardi (BMW #24), + 0.696 seconds
8. Farfus/De Philippi/Eng/Herta (BMW #25), + 0.729 seconds
9. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (Corvette #4), + 0.982 seconds

GTD class
1. Longo/Franzoni/Gomes/Bertolini (Ferrari #13), 1:45.257 minutes
2. Keating/Bleekemolen/Stolz/Fraga (Mercedes #33), + 0.067 seconds
3. Farnbacher/Hindman/Marks/Allmendinger (Acura #86), + 0.139 seconds
8. Kern/Olsen/Robichon/Hargrove (Porsche #9), + 0.688 seconds
10. Long/Campbell/Lindsey/Boulle (Porsche #73), + 0.846 seconds
13. Werner/Cairoli/Seefried/Pappas (Porsche #99), + 0.974 seconds
17. Müller/Bachler/Renauer/Häring/Görig (Porsche #540), + 1.412 seconds

Porsche Factory Press Release
Pictures courtesy Porsche AG