Wrapping up what has been a productive week for Porsche Penske Motorsport, Brazilian Felipe Nasr drove the No. 7 Porsche 963 to a second-place result in qualifying on Sunday afternoon for next week’s 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. Nick Tandy, who was at the helm of the No. 6 Porsche 963, was on a flying lap in qualifying when a mistake in the famous Daytona bus stop chicane cause his car to nose into the inside barriers, ending his qualifying session. The front-row result for Nasr wrapped up what was a productive week for the debut of Porsche Penske Motorsport.
„I’m really proud of the group and all of the people that have worked together to get us to this point,“ said Porsche Penske Motorsport Managing Director, Jonathan Diuguid. „It was really fun to show the car’s true potential. Both cars had the speed to run for the pole. We had a small mistake at the bus stop which was unfortunate, but the feedback from both Nick and Felipe was that the cars were really fantastic. We are looking forward to the Daytona 24 Hours because the cars clearly have the pace.“
Nasr, a former IMSA Champion, was able to learn some things from an additional practice session that was added during the day by IMSA to make a run for the pole at the end of the qualifying session. His time of 1:34.114 minutes was just 0.083 seconds off the pole-winning time.
„The first qualifying of the year in IMSA and its a front row for Porsche Penske Motorsport,“ said Nasr, who will share the car with Matt Campbell and Michael Christensen next weekend. „I am really happy with the lap we did. We made really good progress over the week in understanding the car, the tires, and the conditions out there. In the end, it is all preparation for us ahead of the race and that’s the main goal. It would be nice to be on pole, but the bigger picture is next weekend. I feel so happy for everyone to put in so much work on this car. We are getting a step closer to the race. We unlocked some speed on the car, which was nice to see. I’m glad where we are starting and it is a good position for the Porsche 963 to be starting the race next weekend.“
Nick Tandy crashes while doing an outstanding lap
Unfortunately for Tandy, his qualifying session came to an end following an accident on the backstretch of Daytona while entering the track’s bus stop section. Tandy locked up the left front tire, causing him to lose control of the Porsche 963 and nose into the inside barriers.
„I have to say thank you to the team for giving me such an amazing car to drive,“ said Tandy. „I’ve never experienced the Porsche 963 in these conditions with that sort of speed and balance. And honestly, the car was just amazing. The lap time was looking very good. It doesn’t look like we’ve done too much damage luckily. It’s not the ideal situation going into a 24 hours race when parts are limited, but the positive is how the team has been operating this week and how fast the car is.“
New Porsche 911 GT3 R qualifies among the backmarkers
In the GTD-Pro class, the new Porsche 911 GT3 R (Gen. 992) concluded its qualifying debut in eighth place. Works driver Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium turned seven qualifying laps and improved significantly over the course of the session. However, the vehicle fielded by the defending champions Pfaff Motorsports was unable to join the fight for the pole position. In the GTD category, the six new identical 415 kW (565 PS) GT3 vehicles from Weissach also struggled. Jan Heylen (Belgium) and factory driver Kévin Estre from France planted the two cars from Wright Motorsports on positions 14 and 18. Both cars fielded by Kelly-Moss with Riley take up the race from P19 and P20 of the GTD field. Lining up on the grid behind them are the vehicles from MDK Motorsports (P21) and AO Racing (P23).
“Our cars haven’t been able to match the pace of the competition since the Roar began,” explains Sebastian Golz, Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R. “On the one hand, the Balance of Performance process is based on basic data such as the vehicle’s weight, engine output, and aerodynamics, which help determine the initial classification. On the other hand, what is taken into account is the data collected out on the circuit under comparable track and weather conditions. The organizer receives the data when the qualifying session is over so that the adjustment of the BoP process can begin. We work closely with the organizers and look forward to a balanced field for the race.” At the three-day “Roar Before the 24” in Daytona, the seven new Porsche 911 GT3 R turned 829 laps and covered a distance of 4,733 kilometers.
Drivers’ comments after the qualifying
Nick Tandy (Porsche 963 #6): “First of all, I want to thank the team for putting a great car on the track for me today. The new Porsche 963 has never felt so good under such conditions with an open track and the proviso to go max attack. It was simply outstanding! I was on track to set a new personal best, I only had to get through the chicane – but it didn’t work out. The left front wheel locked up under braking and I ended up in the dirt off the racing line. I tried to salvage the car before the second curb but the rear kicked out. I lost control. Luckily the damage isn’t too bad. I’ll focus on the positives: the teamwork has been great over the last few days and the car is simply stunning. The 963 is a lot of fun to drive.”
Felipe Nasr (Porsche 963 #7): “I’m happy with my fastest lap. It’s incredible how much progress we’ve made over the weekend. We’ve now got a better understanding of the quirks of the car and the new tyres. Ultimately, our focus is now on the race and the preparation for it. Pole position would’ve been nice but we’re looking at the big picture – which is the race this coming weekend.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 963 #6): “We initially had some tricky issues to solve at the start of the Roar but our team worked on them systematically from session to session. As a result, we’ve made great progress in terms of vehicle balance and performance, which is the most important thing for a 24-hour race. I’m looking forward to the start of the season.”
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “We have a new car. And this version of the 911 GT3 R is also new for the IMSA management. So there’s a lot to learn for all parties – also in terms of the classification. At the moment it’s obvious that all of the GT3 Porsche are too slow. I gave it my best shot in qualifying – I can’t do more. I have complete confidence in everyone involved that things will go in the right direction for the race.”
1. Blomqvist/Braun/Castroneves/Pagenaud (UK/USA/BR/F), Acura ARX-06 #60, 1:34.031 minutes
2. Campbell/Nasr/Christensen (AUS/BR/DK), Porsche 963 #7, 1:34.114 minutes
3. Taylor/Albuquerque/Deletraz/Hartley (USA/P/F/NZ), Acura ARX-06 #10, 1:34.198 minutes
9. Tandy/Jaminet/Cameron (UK/F/USA), Porsche 963 #6, no lap time
1. MacNeil/Juncadella/Gounon/Engel (USA/E/B/D), Mercedes AMG GT3 79, 1:46.784 minutes
2. Gunn/Riberas/Pittard (UK/E/UK), Aston Martin Vantage GT3 #23, 1:46.825 minutes
3. Hawksworth/Barnicoat/Conway (UK/UK/UK), Lexus RC-F GT3 #14, 1:46.923 minutes
8. Bachler/Pilet/Vanthoor (A/F/B), Porsche 911 GT3 R #9, 1:48.977 minutes
1. Ward/Ellis/Dontje/Auer (USA/D/NL/A), Mercedes AMG GT3 #57, 1:46.093 minutes
2. Schiller/Jefferies/Habul (D/UK/USA), Mercedes AMG GT3 #75, 1:46.312 minutes
3. Skeen/Grenier/Koch/Götz (USA/CDN/USA/D), Mercedes AMG GT3 #32, 1:46.705 minutes
14. Hardwick/Heylen/Robichon/Olsen (USA/B/CDN/N), Porsche 911 GT3 R #16, 1:48.942 minutes
18. Brynjolfsson/Hindman/Root/Estre (USA/USA/USA/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #77, 1:49.358 minutes
19. Brule/Udell/Davis/Bleekemolen (USA/USA/USA/NL), Porsche 911 GT3 R #92, 1:49.373 minutes
20. Metni/van Berlo/Evans/Andlauer (USA/NL/NZ/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #91, 1:49.507 minutes
21. Hyett/Jeannette/Priaulx/Tincknell (USA/USA/UK/UK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #80, 1:49.644 minutes
23. Kvamme/Estep/Magnussen/Hart (USA/USA/DK/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #53, 1:50.628 minutes
Full results at: http://imsa.alkamelsystems.com.
The 24 Hours of Daytona will kick off the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series next week, with practice sessions Thursday and Friday, followed by the start of the 61st Annual 24 Hours of Daytona on Saturday afternoon at 1:40pm ET.
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Edited Porsche Factory Press Release