Porsche started off the return to fielding a factory team in North America with a richly deserved class win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
In the first race for both the new Porsche North America team and the 2014-spec 911 RSR the team of Nick Tandy, Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet each picked up a new Rolex watch, Pilet earning his by fending off the Joey Hand driver BMW in the final minutes of the race.
“This victory is the best,” Tandy enthused. “The 911 RSR ran perfectly for 24 hours, the team pulled out all stops and did a fabulous job. It was an incredibly tough race for us all, but it was great fun as well. On top of that, we even posted the fastest race lap.”
Both the #911 car of the eventual winners and the sister #912 entry looked strong during the race, fighting against – and beating – teams from full season rivals SRT and Corvette, as well as battling between the themselves for the lead of the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class.
Unfortunately the #912 squad were one of those who hit mechanical troubles during the race, new works driver Michael Christensen forced to park up the car on Sunday morning with an engine problem. The Dane, however, remained positive about his first experience with the team.
“Daytona was a great experience,” he said. “I was welcomed everywhere I went, and the spirit in our team was fantastic. Victory for the #911 is motivating for the whole squad. I’m sure we could have fought for a top podium spot right to the flag.”
In the GT Daytona (GTD) class the best of the Porsche teams in the final result was Snow Racing. The team comprised of Jan Heylen, Madison Snow and Marco Seefried. The team completed the podium in the GTD class, behind the Audi and Ferrari teams that battled to a controversial finish, in which a penalty briefly saw the Snow Racing team promoted to second place in class.