Best RSR 6th at Daytona
Porsche battles back after two heavy collisions in opening 2018 IMSA race
Porsche missed out on the chance to crown its anniversary race at Daytona with a GTLM class win after two heavy shunts left the best-placed 911 RSR down in 6th place.
After both the #911 and #912 cars locked out the second grid row in qualifying, the #911 car of Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Frédéric Makowiecki lead the race after six hours, Weissach benefitting from a brave tactical decision to not swap slicks for wet tyres during a brief downpour in Florida. With Pilet at the wheel, Porsche only relinquished the lead when pitting in for a driver swap, with Tandy taking over driving duties from the Frenchman. However, the Briton suffered an unfortunate, high-speed shunt going into Bus
Stop in the eighth hour, sliding at high speed over the wet grass before slamming into the tyre barrier. The car was dragged to the pits and put out of action for 20 minutes while the Porsche North America team fixed its RSR, which re-entered the field some 13 laps down on its rivals.
Fate would deal Tandy a cruel double blow in the race, his #911 car sliding off again in the same location during the nighttime segment of the 24-hour epic. The second slide proved largely inconsequential in the race, however, as so much time had already been lost from the earlier shunt that any real hopes of taking a class win had long since diminished.
The #911 car ended up in 8th, two places below the #912 sister car of Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Gianmaria Bruni, which had a much quieter race by comparison. “We gained a lot of positive experiences in preparing for the race and at the start, also in terms of the performance of our 911 RSR. Unfortunately we weren’t able to implement this over the entire race distance. The result is disappointing. We had bad luck with the two impacts which cost us a lot of time. As a result, the faster car fell far behind. That was not our race,” said Frank-steffen Walliser after the spectacle, which marked 50 years since the manufacturer’s maiden win at the long-distance classic in Florida. The Porsche GT team now heads to Sebring for a 12-hour race in the second round of the IMSA season on 17 March.