Earl Bamber along with team mates Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) have finished third on the podium at the 24 Hours of Daytona in the GTLM Class. Fellow Kiwi Scott Dixon in the Ford GT has finished fourth, on the same lap as Bamber’s Porsche. Nick Cassidy competing in the GTD Class finished in sixth overall with team mates Jack Hawksworth, Austin Cindric and Richard Heistand in the Lexus RC F GT3.
The Porsche GT Team was rewarded for a strong performance with a place on the podium at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Under difficult conditions on the Daytona International Speedway (USA), the two Porsche 911 RSR racers achieved positions three and five. The ca. 510 hp sports cars from Weissach had clearly dominated the first half of the long-distance classic. However, heavy rain, numerous caution phases, interruptions and incidents threw the two factory cars in the legendary Brumos design into a rainy game of chance in the final hours. The new Porsche 911 GT3 R achieved eighth place at its race debut.
Heading into the race on Saturday afternoon (local time) in dry conditions, Nick Tandy (Great Britain) made perfect use of his pole position, with the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR holding the lead over many laps. His French teammates Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki retained the top spot into the night. Torrential rain early on Sunday morning proved to be a watershed moment in a perfect race. With deep water on the track, the 911 of the polesitter fell back into fifth place.
The sister car shared by Bamber, Vanthoor, and Jaminet experienced bad luck early on in the race. The repairs to a defect in the front splitter mounting threw the trio in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR back by four laps. Thanks to a flawless drive and perfect strategy, the gap was quickly closed so that both factory cars were back amongst the frontrunners.
“What a crazy race,” commented Bamber. “We were extremely fast, we coped impressively with a bitter setback and we had a car to beat in dry conditions. The situation was different in the rain. We were no longer the fastest out there. All in all, we’ve started the season well with a podium result.”
The No. 912 vehicle was relegated to fourth place in arguably the worst conditions in the 57-year history of the endurance classic, but was classified third when a penalty was handed to a competitor when the race was finally stopped after 24 hours and 50 minutes.
Round two of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will also be held in Florida. On 16 March, the 12 Hours of Sebring (USA) will be contested as a doubleheader with the FIA WEC.
1. Farfus/De Philippi/Eng/Herta (BMW #25), 571 laps
2. Rigon/Molina/Pier Guidi/Calado (Ferrari #62), 571 laps
3. Bamber/Vanthoor/Jaminet (Porsche #912), 570 laps
4. Briscoe/Westbrook/Dixon (Ford #67), 570 laps
5. Pilet/Tandy/Makowiecki (Porsche #911), 569 laps
6. Magnussen/Garcia/Rockenfeller (Corvette #3), 563 laps
7. Hand/Müller/Bourdais (Ford #66), 559 laps
8. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (Corvette #4), 555 laps
9. Krohn/Edwards/Mostert/Zanardi (BMW #24), 553 laps
1. Ineichen/Bortolotti/Engelhart/Breukers (Lamborghini #11), 561 laps
2. Morad/Mies/Vanthoor (Audi #29), 561 laps
3. Montecalvo/Bell/Telitz/Segal (Lexus #12), 561 laps
8. Long/Campbell/Lindsey/Boulle (Porsche #73), 560 laps
16. Werner/Cairoli/Seefried/Pappas (Porsche #540) 545 laps
19. Kern/Olsen/Robichon/Hargrove (Porsche #9), 470 laps
23. Müller/Bachler/Renauer/Häring/Görig (Porsche #99), 47 lap