Two-times pole – Porsche 911 at the front of both GT classes

Round 1 24 Hours of Daytona
Daytona_qualifying_5
Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche North America: Earl Bamber, Frederic Makowiecki, Michael Christensen

Strong start to the season for Porsche in the IMSA SportsCar Championship: In qualifying for the 24 Hours of Daytona, the season-opening round of the most important sports car championship in North America, the pair of 470 hp Porsche 911 RSR campaigned by Porsche North America locked out the first two grid spots in pouring rain. Outright Le Mans winner Nick Tandy (Great Britain) takes off from GTLM-class pole position on Saturday with his French teammates Kévin Estre and Patrick Pilet, the IMSA GT champion of 2015. The pilots lining up on the first grid row of the Daytona International Speedway in the sister 911 RSR are Frédéric Makowiecki (France), Le Mans overall winner Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Michael Christensen (Denmark).

The new Porsche 911 GT3 R performed impressively in the GTD class: With the customer racer from Weissach, Park Place Motorsports’ drivers Jörg Bergmeister (Germany), Norbert Siedler (Austria) as well as Americans Patrick Lindsey and Matthew McMurry clinched pole position for the 24-hour race in Florida, the second great long distance classic besides Le Mans. Porsche junior Sven Müller (Germany) planted the 911 GT3 R fielded by Frikadelli Racing on fifth position.

Qualifying quotes

Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport: “Our main objective under these difficult conditions was not to break anything on the cars. The fact that both 911 RSR then clocked such fast lap times is fantastic. Even if the weather stays dry on Saturday and Sunday, today’s performance was wonderfully motivating for the entire team and a superb start to the new season.”

Sascha Pilz, Head of GT Customer Racing: “That was a very successful start to the Daytona weekend. The work that we’ve invested in setting up our new 911 GT3 R during tests has paid off. Our customer teams adjusted quickly and effectively to the difficult weather conditions. This makes us confident for the race.”

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Nick Tandy

Nick Tandy (911 RSR #911): “For us, the new season starts just as the old one finished at Road Atlanta – with the same weather and the same position. We’re thrilled to have set pole position, but that was the maximum today. After the interruption, all drivers had just one lap in the end. I love such high-pressure situations – to keep the car in one piece, and still be fast.”

Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR #912): “You can’t do better than positions one and two for Porsche. The track today was incredibly wet, which made it difficult to keep the car on the road. We’re expecting much better weather for the race.”

The race starts on Saturday at 14.40 hrs local time (20.40 hrs CET) and can be viewed live outside the USA on www.imsa.com.

Qualifying result

GTLM class

1. Tandy/Pilet/Estre (GB/F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 2:01.408 minutes
2. Makowiecki/Bamber/Christensen (F/NZ/DK), + 0.956 seconds
3. Edwards/Luhr/Wittmer/Rahal (USA/D/CH/USA), BMW, + 1.089
4. Guidi/Serra/Premat/Rojas (I/BRA/F/MEX), Ferrari 488, + 1.901
5. Fisichella/Rigon/Vilander/Beretta (I/I/SF/MC), Ferrari 488, + 1.978
6. Werner/Auberlen/Farfus/Spengler (D/USA/BRA/CDN), BMW, + 2.566

GTD class

1. Bergmeister/Siedler/Lindsey/McMurry (D/A/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 2:05.798 minutes
2. Ineichen/Basseng/Konrad/Wilsey/Babini (CH/D/D/USA/I), Lamborgini, + 0.559 seconds
3. D. MacNeil/Keen/Jeannette/C. MacNeil/Gisbergen (USA/USA/USA/USA/NZ), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.758
4. Keating/Mosing/Faulkner/Robinson/Foss (USA/USA/IRL/USA/USA), Dodge Viper, + 1.594
5. Müller/Abbelen/Stippler/Huisman/Schmitz (D/D/D/NL/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.953
6. Farnbacher/Keating/Bleekemolen/Miller (D/USA/NL/USA), Dodge Viper, + 1.961