The successful history of Porsche at the Daytona 24 Hours

Daytona 1973, Porsche Carrera RSR, Brumos Racing (#59): Peter Gregg, Hurley Haywood

The first appearance of Porsches in a race at Daytona was at the 1962 Daytona Continental sports car race. Since then Porsche has become the most successful manufacturer on the road course at Daytona International Speedway. That legacy continues from the first 24 Hours of Daytona in 1966 to the present day with a fabulous record of 22 overall and 76 class victories. Porsche’s first overall victory was the legendary 1-2-3 finish in 1968. For the last win, we have to look back at 2010.

The finish of Porsche’s first Daytona 24H victory : the first in a long row

In 1968 a change in the world-championship regulations allowed sport cars with engines up to 5000cc and prototypes with engines up to 3000cc. Ferdinand Piëch and his chief engineer Hans Mezger decided to use the Porsche 907 LH  in highspeed races like Le Mans and the oval race track of Daytona. That turned out to be a successful move. At the 1968 Daytona 24H, Porsche achieved a 1-2-3 victory. The first of a long list of victories at the oval. 

First victory for the new Gulf Porsche – Daytona 1970.

The 1970 and 1971 races were highlighted by great battles between the Porsche 917 and the Ferrari 512, both races being won by the Gulf Porsche 917. In 1972 the FIA changed the rules dramatically.  They limited the Sportscar World Championship to 3.0-liter cars. In practice, that meant they banned cars with 5.0-liter displacements so that the almighty Porsche 917 was no longer allowed. Porsche only had the outdated 3.0 liter Porsche 908. On top of that, FIA raised the minimum weight which caused an extra handicap for the Porsche 908, and Porsche decided to quit the series and leave it up to private race teams.

Hurley Haywood behind the Wheel of the Famous 59 (1972) (Courtesy ISC Archives)

Due to reliability concerns with the smaller engines, the FIA limited endurance races to six hours, except for Le Mans.  Hurley Haywood and Peter Gregg won their class in an almost stock Porsche 911S that year. In 1973, the race returned to its normal 24H format. Hurley Haywood and Peter Gregg took the checkered flag in a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR. In 1974, the race was canceled because of the international oil crisis. One year later, in 1975, Haywood and Gregg repeated their exploit and won the race, again in a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR. Both Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood climbed the podium again in 1976. However, this time Peter Gregg took the highest step with a BMW. Haywood was faithful to Porsche, and achieved a 3rd overall, teaming up with Jim Busby.

11 consecutive victories

From 1977 to 1987, Porsche took an unprecedented series of victories at the Daytona 24 hours. 11 years in a row, Porsche took overall victory  Most likely, a record that no manufacturer will ever equal, let alone break.   The majority of these consecutive wins can be written on the account of the Porsche 935 or a variant.

Porsche 962 ( Al Holbert, Derek Bell and Al Unser, Jr.) winner of the Daytona 24H1986 (Photo- Autosports Marketing Associates)

From 1985 to 1987, the Porsche customer teams went home with the trophy driving a Porsche 962. The series of victories could have been even more impressive if it wasn’t interrupted in 1988 when Jaguar beat Mauro Haldi / Bob Wollek and Brian Redman. In 1989 and 1991, Porsche takes top honors again, in the Porsche 962C. 

4 more victories can be written on Porsche’s account after 1991 of which the victory of 2003 is probably the most remarkable since the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of The Racer’s Group is a non-prototype entry.

The overall victories of Porsche at the Daytona 24 Hours

Click on the year (if applicable) to read the full report of the race.

Year Drivers Car Team
1968 Vic Elford / Jochen Neerpasch / Rolf stommelen / Jo Siffert / Hans Herrmann Porsche 907 LH Porsche
1970 Pedro Rodriguez – Leo Kinnunen – Brian Redman Porsche 917 K JW Automotive Engineering
1971 Pedro Rodriguez – Jacky Oliver Porsche 917 K JW Automotive Engineering
1973 Hurley Haywood – Peter Gregg Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Brumos
1975 Hurley Haywood – Peter Gregg Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Brumos
1977 Hurley Haywood – John Graves – Dave Helmick Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Ecurie Escargot
1978 Peter Gregg – Rolf Stommelen – Toine Hezemans Porsche 935/77 Brumos
1979 Hurley Haywood – Ted Field – Danny Ongais Porsche 935/78 Brumos
1980 Rolf Stommelen – Volkert Merl – Reinhold Joest Porsche 935J Joest Racing
1981 Brian Redman – Bob GarretsonBobby Rahal Porsche 935 K3 Garretson Racing / Style Auto
1982 John Paul Sr. – John Paul Jr. – Rolf Stommelen Porsche 935 JLP JLP Racing
1983 AJ Foyt – Preston Hen – Bob Wollek – Claude Ballot-Lena Porsche 935 L Henn’s Swap Shop Racing
1984 Sarel van der Merwe – Tony Martin – Graham Duxbury March83G – Porsche Kreepy Krauly Racing
1985 AJ Foyt – Bob Wollek – Al Unser – Thierry Boutsen Porsche 962 Henn’s Swap Shop Racing
1986 Al Holbert – Derek Bell – Thierry Boutsen Porsche 962 Löwenbrau Holbert Racing
1987 Al Holbert – Derek Bell – Chip Robinson – Al Holbert Jr. Porsche 962 Löwenbrau Holbert Racing
1989 John Andretti – Derek Bell – Bob Wollek Porsche 962 Miller BF Goodrich Busby Racing
1991 Hurley Haywood – John Winter – Frank Jelinski – Henri Pescarolo – Bob Wollek Porsche 962C Joest Racing
1995 Jürgen Lässig – Christophe Bouchut – Giovanni Lavaggi – Marco Werner Kremer K8 Spyder Porsche Kremer Racing
2003 Kevin Buckler – Michael Schrom – Timo Bernhard – Joerg Bergmeister Porsche 911 GT3 RSR The Racer’s Group
2009 David Donohue – Antonio Garcia – Darren Law – Buddy Rice Riley MxKI Porsche Brumos
2010 Joao Barbosa – Terry Borcheler – Ryan Dalziel – Mike Rockefeller Riley MxKI Porsche Action Express Racing

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Pictures courtesy Porsche AG, as mentioned in captions and unknown