After three days and eight test sessions at the Daytona International Speedway, the two factory Porsche 911 RSRs in the GT Le Mans class and 12 Porsche 911 GT America racecars in the GT Daytona class have all made great strides in preparation for the January 25-26 Rolex 24 At Daytona, the inaugural round of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Porsche North America 911 RSR
Working hand-in-hand with preparation partner CORE autosport, Porsche factory engineers and six Porsche factory drivers put the Porsche North America 911 RSR entries through a battery of tests while turning more than 100 laps on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn track. Although the 911 RSR, based on the latest Porsche 911 street car, ran the World Endurance Championship (WEC) a year ago, there are no WEC tracks equivalent to the banked oval/road course combination that is Daytona International Speedway. Also, this is the first event in 2014 for Porsche 911 RSR, which was reconfigured and homologated at the last WEC event in November, so testing results will be critical for success at the Rolex 24.
Competition for the Porsche North America 911 RSRs includes factory teams from BMW, Corvette, Viper, Aston Martin and Ferrari. While everyone was tracking their laps times, the teams were doing important set-up work from brake balancing to suspension adjustments, so how fast they went on any particular lap was of secondary importance.
“It is somewhat unprecedented to enter a season with two brand-new cars in two different classes within the same series. It has been a very busy weekend with 14 cars between the Porsche North America 911 RSRs running in the GT Le Mans class and 12 GT Daytona class Porsche 911 GT America customer team entries. However, we entered with a set testing strategy and are very pleased to have worked through them very well over the three days here at Daytona. To have shown the speed is gratifying but learning more about these two different Porsche 911-based racecars was our primary goal and we have accomplished that,” said Hayes, who is director of operations at Porsche Motorsport North America, Santa Ana, Calif.
911 GT America
The Porsche 911 GT America, a new racecar built by Porsche Motorsport exclusively for this year’s new series and new GT Daytona class, is also based on the seventh generation of the Porsche 911 street car, and represents an enhanced version of the highly-successful Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Most of the teams have their two-driver line-up set for the season, and many are adding world-class GT drivers for the Rolex 24 endurance classic. Alex Job Racing has two cars entered, Dempsey Racing (two cars), Park Place Motorsports (two cars), Magnus Racing, Snow Racing with Wright Motorsports, NGT Motorsport, and Muehlner Motorsports America (two cars) are all familiar names to GT racing fans, and will all have Porsche 911 GT Americas for the 2014 season. The new team, GB Autosport, will have GT veterans Damien Faulkner, Patrick Huisman, and Bob Faieta co-driving for Daytona. Porsche factory drivers Marco Holzer, Marc Lieb, Wolf Henzler and Timo Bernhard, along with international Porsche 911 specialists Kevin Estre (France), Nobert Siedler (Austria), Marco Siefried (Germany), Kuba Giermaziak (Poland), Mario Farnbacher (Germany), and Shane van Gisberg (Australia) are all entered, with many of them making to the test this weekend.
In addition, four Porsche factory Junior/scholarship drivers – American Conner De Phillippi, German Klaus Bachler, Alex Riberas from Spain, and Earl Bamber from New Zealand – will join customers teams as well as America Porsche veterans Craig Stanton and Randy Pobst.
Complete test results are available at: http://www.imsa.com/races/roar-rolex-24, then click on race results.
(Porsche, photo: LAT/Dole)