Drivers and teams have completed three quarters of the distance at the 24 Hours of Daytona, the traditional season-opener of the IMSA SportsCar Championship and the North American Endurance Cup. On Sunday morning, after 18 hours and 585 laps on the 5.729-kilometre Daytona International Speedway, the best Porsche 911 RSR with the starting number 912 is running in fifth place in the GTLM class. Sharing the cockpit is the two-time outright Le Mans winner Earl Bamber (New Zealand) as well as Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy). The Porsche GT Team’s second 911 RSR with the starting number 911, driven by Patrick Pilet (France) and his teammates Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France), had taken the lead of the strongly represented GT field late on Saturday evening but fell back to eighth place during the night.
After eight hours and 293 laps of the spectacular long distance classic in Florida, the Porsche GT Team had to finally give up hope of claiming the 78th class win. Nick Tandy, the 2015 Le Mans overall winner, lost control of his 911 RSR in the Bus Stop chicane, slid at high speed over the green strip, which was still damp after a shower, and crashed into a stack of tyres. His 510 hp racer was so badly damaged that it had to be pushed straight into the workshop for repairs after returning to the pits. The crew of mechanics immediately set to work and managed to get Tandy back on the track after 20 minutes. Because of this incident, he lost 13 laps to the class leader and was relegated from fourth to eighth. Another crash at the same spot during the night cost more valuable time.
A total of 50 vehicles took up the 56th edition of the long distance classic in Florida on Saturday, which ends on Sunday at 14.40 hours local time (20.40 CET). The current standings can be found on http://www.livescoring.us. Outside the USA, the race can be watched live at http://www.imsa.com.
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars: “We’ve had a rather difficult night. Our #911 Porsche 911 RSR crashed twice without any outside influence. That’s of course irritating. This probably also affected the gearbox which we had to repair this morning. The #912 ran without any technical difficulties however we’re lacking a little speed. We’ve had very few caution phases, which is quite extraordinary at Daytona. Hence the big gap to the leaders. We assume that the pace will increase again in the last few hours of racing.”