Michelin Alley takes a deeper look at the GT Le Mans teams’ performances at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Porsche GT Team endured a tough race, ending sixth and eighth.
Porsche GT Team
Car: Porsche 911 RSR
Drivers: 911-Patrick Pilet/Nick Tandy/Fred Makowiecki, 912-Laurens Vanthoor/Earl Bamber/Gianmaria Bruni
2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona Started/Finished: 912-3rd/6th, 911-4th/8th
Laps Led: 6 of 783 (911-6)
Fastest Laps: 1:44.540 (911-Tandy, 6th), 1:44.990 (912-Bruni, 7th)
Recap: This wasn’t the Rolex 24 Porsche likely expected or anticipated, with sixth and eighth place finishes in the race. Porsche entered the weekend celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first of 22 overall wins at Daytona, claimed by Vic Elford, Jochen Neerpasch, Rolf Stommelen, Jo Siffert and Hans Herrmann. But come the race, the Porsches were left fighting for third at best this race behind the pair of Fords.
Turning Point: For the No. 911 car, its charge ended when Tandy lost the back end at the Bus Stop chicane, and limped back to the pits with rear wing damage after 293 laps. Repairs didn’t take too long, but ultimately the car finished 30 laps back. At nine laps back and with a best race lap nearly a full second off the fastest lap, the No. 912 car simply struggled to overcome the pure race pace gap ahead.
Notes: Pilet moved to the lead in the rainstorm, and paced the GTLM field for six laps.
Quotes: “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,” said Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars.
“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. The whole team worked excellently and fought to the finish. The pit stops for repairs ran perfectly, yet we couldn’t do any more. That was not our race.”