Porsche has again finished on the podium with both 911 RSR at round two of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In the race over two hours and 40 minutes at the Daytona International Speedway (USA), Earl Bamber from New Zealand and Belgium’s Laurens Vanthoor came second in the GTLM class in the No. 912 works car.
Thanks to this result, the defending champions Bamber and Vanthoor take the lead of the drivers’ classification. Their factory driver teammates Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) crossed the finish line in third place at the wheel of the No. 911 car. At the 24-hour season-opening round in January at the same venue, both cars achieved exactly the same results.
The start of the sprint race in Florida was delayed for around 30 minutes due to a heavy thunderstorm. On the initially wet track, the crew of the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR opted for a daring strategy.
Unlike all other competitors in the GTLM class, Tandy tackled the race from position six on wet tyres. The advantage of this choice quickly became apparent. After just one lap, the Briton not only took the lead of the class, but even managed to overtake two of the more powerful vehicles from the prototype class. His tour de force, however, was short-lived on the fast-drying track.
Due to deterioration of the rubber, Tandy had to pit early after five laps to change tyres, which threw the No. 911 car far down the field. Nevertheless, with a clever strategy, swift pit stops and steady lap times, Tandy and Makowiecki made up lost ground to finish on third place.
The crew of the sister car chose a more cautious tactic and started on slicks. Early on in the race, Vanthoor managed to initially maintain second place, but during his stint fell back to fifth place at times.
Bamber’s blistering and impressively consistent drive over 32 laps midway through the race was pivotal to claiming second place. Toward the end, the New Zealander even moved to the front of the pack, but ultimately had to admit defeat to the eventual winner, Corvette.
At the finish line, the ca. 515-hp Porsche 911 RSR, which is based on the high-performance 911 GT3 RS* sports car, was just 1.977 seconds behind the winner.
In the GTD class, Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA) and his compatriot Ryan Hardwick scored seventh place at the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Wright Motorsports. The customer squad from the U.S. state of Ohio put in a flawless performance and now ranks fourth in the GTD championship.
After round two of the season, Porsche sits in third place in the manufacturers’ classification with 64 points, just one point shy of the leader. The reigning GTLM champions Bamber and Vanthoor have moved to the top of the leaderboard as they head to round three of the season in Sebring, Florida (USA) on 18 July.
Result GTLM class
1. Garcia/Taylor (E/USA), Chevrolet Corvette C8.R #3, 90 laps
2. Bamber/Vanthoor (NZ/B), Porsche 911 RSR #912, 90 laps
3. Tandy/Makowiecki (GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR #911, 90 laps
Result GTD class
1. Hawksworth/Telitz (GBR/USA), Lexus RC F GT3 #14, 87 laps
2. Bell/Montecalvo (USA/USA), Lexus RC F GT3 #12, 86 laps
3. Farnbacher/McMurry (D/USA), Acura NSX GT3 #86, 86 laps
7. Long/Hardwick (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #16, 85 laps