By   January 29, 2016

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR

In a rain soaked day of qualifying for the Rolex 24 at Daytona the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and 911 GT3 R set themselves up for a good 24 hour race this weekend. The 911 GT3 RSR qualified one-two in the GTLM class and the 911 GT3 R qualified first and third in the GTD category. For the R that isn’t a bad way to make your racing debut.

The famed race at Daytona marks the start of the IMSA SportsCar Championship season. In North American sports car racing it doesn’t get any bigger and the Rolex 24 for many motorsports fans starts the racing calendar. It leads nicely into the start of Formula 1, NASCAR and WEC, plus it hits on a weekend with no meaningful NFL games (let’s face it the Pro Bowl is now just a glorified pickup game).

The number 911 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR put its 470 horsepower flat-six and good traction, thanks in part to the rear-engined layout, to good use in the slick conditions. Overall 24 Hours of Le Mans winning driver, Nick Tandy, will pilot the 911 to start the Daytona race from the GTLM class Pole Position. Along with Tandy, Kévin Estre and Patrick Pilet will also drive the GT3 RSR in what looks like it will be a competitive 24 hour event.

Next to the number 911 will be the number 912 that came in position 2. Behind the wheel will be Frédéric Makowiecki, Le Mans overall winner Earl Bamber and Michael Christensen. BMW and Ferrari look to be Porsches biggest challenges when the race starts tomorrow.

Nick Tandy (911 RSR #911): “For us, the new season starts just as the old one finished at Road Atlanta – with the same weather and the same position. We’re thrilled to have set pole position, but that was the maximum today. After the interruption, all drivers had just one lap in the end. I love such high-pressure situations – to keep the car in one piece, and still be fast.”

Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR #912): “You can’t do better than positions one and two for Porsche. The track today was incredibly wet, which made it difficult to keep the car on the road. We’re expecting much better weather for the race.”

The Porsche 911 GT3 R makes its competition debut at Daytona and it looks setup for success in the GTD class. The new weapon of choice for Porsche customer racing teams manage pole position in qualifying. It will have a challenge keeping the Lamborghini Huracan GT3s and Dodge Vipers away, but with 3 911s qualifying in the top 5 it looks like it should be very competitive.

Qualifying result
GTLM class
1. Tandy/Pilet/Estre (GB/F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 2:01.408 minutes
2. Makowiecki/Bamber/Christensen (F/NZ/DK), + 0.956 seconds
3. Edwards/Luhr/Wittmer/Rahal (USA/D/CH/USA), BMW, + 1.089
4. Guidi/Serra/Premat/Rojas (I/BRA/F/MEX), Ferrari 488, + 1.901
5. Fisichella/Rigon/Vilander/Beretta (I/I/SF/MC), Ferrari 488, + 1.978
6. Werner/Auberlen/Farfus/Spengler (D/USA/BRA/CDN), BMW, + 2.566

GTD class
1. Bergmeister/Siedler/Lindsey/McMurry (D/A/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 2:05.798 minutes
2. Ineichen/Basseng/Konrad/Wilsey/Babini (CH/D/D/USA/I), Lamborgini,
+ 0.559 seconds
3. D. MacNeil/Keen/Jeannette/C. MacNeil/Gisbergen (USA/USA/USA/USA/NZ),
Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.758
4. Keating/Mosing/Faulkner/Robinson/Foss (USA/USA/IRL/USA/USA), Dodge Viper, + 1.594
5. Müller/Abbelen/Stippler/Huisman/Schmitz (D/D/D/NL/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R,
+ 1.953
6. Farnbacher/Keating/Bleekemolen/Miller (D/USA/NL/USA), Dodge Viper, + 1.961

The American 24 hour endurance race starts tomorrow (January 30th) at 2:40 pm ET. Live coverage of the event will begin at 2:00 pm ET on Fox Sports 1 and switching between that station and Fox Sports 2 through out the day. Some coverage will only be available on the Internet through during the nighttime hours.