IMSA: The new Porsche 911 RSR locks out front grid row at US debut


Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Belgium’s Laurens Vanthoor tapped the full potential of the 2019-generation GT racer, which is based on the high-performance 911 GT3 RS road-legal sports car, and swapped places at the top of the time sheets. In the end, Tandy snatched pole position with a time of 1:42.207 minutes ahead of Vanthoor, thus beating his own GTLM-class qualifying record, which he set at Daytona in 2019.

Porsche GT Team: Frederic Makowiecki, Nick Tandy, Matt Campbell (l-r)

In the GTD class, pole position also went to Porsche. Zach Robichon turned the fastest lap in his 911 GT3 R (#9) with a time of 1:45.237 minutes. Not only did the Canadian achieve pole position for his Pfaff Motorsports team with this result, he also set the fastest time ever in a GTD-class qualifying at Daytona. Driving for Wright Motorsports, Ryan Hardwick (USA) concluded the qualifying session on tenth. The No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Black Swan Racing was unable to take part in the qualifying due to repairs after an accident in free practice. The vehicle will take up the race on Saturday from the last grid spot.

Qualifying quotes

Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “We couldn’t have asked for a better qualifying result. Both of our vehicles are on the front grid row of the GTLM class. At its North American premiere, the new Porsche 911 RSR has underlined the great performance potential that we’ve already seen in the FIA WEC. The teams and drivers made perfect use of this potential and performed flawlessly. In the GTD class, a customer team starts from pole position, as well. It was here at last year’s Daytona race that the new Porsche 911 GT3 R celebrated its premiere. We’re ready to tackle the 24-hour classic.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “What a dream start into the IMSA season with the new Porsche 911 RSR. Positions one and two – a perfect qualifying result for the team. Still, the points have to be won in the race and we still have to work hard towards this. We haven’t won the GTLM class since 2014. We want to change that on Sunday.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “The duel I had with Nick was close and tough. I don’t like to lose, but Nick was slightly better today. Still, there’s no reason to complain. Both 911 RSR on the front row and the car was incredible to drive.”

Zach Robichon (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “The car was really strong in qualifying. Despite not having a lot of grip in the free practice sessions, we didn’t change anything and simply trusted the setup we’d tested at the Roar. The plan worked. The car already felt great in the out lap, and I knew that it might work. I’m very proud, and I’m pleased for Porsche and the team to have claimed pole position here at Daytona. Although the race is long and a lot can happen, things look very good.”

Qualifying result

GTLM class
1. Tandy/Makowiecki/Campbell (GB/F/AUS), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:42.207 minutes
2. Vanthoor/Bamber/Jaminet (B/NZ/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.049 seconds
3. Garcia/Taylor/Catsburg (E/USA/NL), Corvette C8.R, + 0.338 seconds
4. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (GB/USA/CH), Corvette C8.R, + 0.594 seconds
5. De Phillippi/Eng/Spengler/Herta (USA/A/CDN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, + 0.734 seconds

GTD class
1. Olsen/Robichon/Kern/Pilet (N/CDN/D/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:45.237 minutes
2. MacNeil/Vilander/Westphal/Balzan (USA/FIN/USA/I), Ferrari 488 GT3, + 0.476 seconds
3. Parente/Goikhberg/Hindman/Allmendinger (P/RUS/USA/USA), Acura NSX GT3, + 0.600 seconds
10. Hardwick/Long/Imperato/Bachler (USA/USA/USA/A) Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.248 seconds


At the season-opening round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, the new Porsche 911 RSR lines up on the grid for the first time in North America to tackle the 24 Hours of Daytona (25/26 January). In Florida, two 2019-generation GT racers will be fielded in the GTLM class. The new GT flagship from Weissach has already made a very successful debut, securing two one-two results and three pole positions from four races. At the first encounter with the competition in North America at the IMSA tests, dubbed the “Roar before the 24”, in early January, the new Porsche 911 RSR turned the fastest laps multiple times. At Daytona, Porsche heads into the 2020 season in North America as the title defender of the manufacturers’, drivers’ and team classifications. The manufacturer is well represented in the GTD class with three Porsche 911 GT3 R.

The 24-hour race on the Daytona International Speedway in Florida has been contested every year since 1966. The 5.73-kilometre-long high-speed racetrack is a combination of fast, banked turns and tight, twisty infield passages. The endurance classic is the traditional season opener of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and is a round of the North American Endurance Cup (NAEC).

The Porsche GT Team drivers

Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) share the cockpit of the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR for the IMSA SportsCar Championship. The two receive support for the 24-hour race in Florida from Matt Campbell (Australia). The 24-year-old completed his training as a professional racer at Porsche and now contests his first season as a Porsche works driver. Sharing driving duties in the identical GT racer with the starting number 912 are Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), the title defenders in the drivers’ classification. Frenchman Mathieu Jaminet, who came third at Daytona last year as a Porsche Young Professional, will reinforce the team at the long-distance classic – also as a newly-signed works driver.

The Porsche GT Team drivers

The customer teams

Pfaff Motorsports competes with drivers Dennis Olsen (Norway) and Zach Robichon (Canada) in the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R. In 2019, the successful duo scored the maiden GTD-class win for Pfaff Motorsports in the IMSA SportsCar Championship at Lime Rock. Porsche development driver Lars Kern (Germany) and Porsche works driver Patrick Pilet (France) round off the line-up, with Pilet contesting the GTD class for the first time. Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA) joins forces with his compatriots Ryan Hardwick and Anthony Imperato at the wheel of Wright Motorsports’ No.16 Porsche 911 GT3 R. Porsche specialist Klaus Bachler (Austria) supports the team as the fourth driver. The No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R campaigned by Black Swan Racing tackles the season-opener of the IMSA SportsCar Championship at Daytona with Porsche works driver Sven Müller (Germany), Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) and the two Americans Timothy Pappas and Trenton Estep.

Porsche successes at Daytona

Porsche is by far the most successful manufacturer at Daytona. The Stuttgart automobile manufacturer has notched up 18 overall wins as a constructor and four more as an engine partner. The impressive track record also includes 78 class victories. With five overall victories and one class win, the American racing legend Hurley Haywood is the Porsche driver with the most titles.

New partner

The Porsche GT Team receives backing for the 2020 season for the first time from the new team partner TAG Heuer. The collaboration with the Swiss luxury watchmaker will run for several years. Both manufacturers can look back on many joint successes in motor racing. One outstanding highlight for Porsche is the “TAG-Turbo made by Porsche”, an engine which powered Formula 1 cars in the 1980s and won two constructor world championships in 1984 and 1985 as well as three drivers’ world championship titles from 1984 to 1986. TAG Heuer has been the title and timing partner of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team since 2019.

This is the IMSA SportsCar Championship

The IMSA SportsCar Championship was founded in the USA and Canada in 2013 after the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series. A year later the new sports car race series, which is organised by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), was contested for the first time. Sports prototypes and sports cars start in four different classes: GTLM (GT Le Mans), GTD (GT Daytona), Dpi (Daytona Prototype international) and LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2). The new Porsche 911 RSR is fielded in the GTLM class, and the Porsche 911 GT3 R contests the GTD class. The Porsche GT Team tackles the 2020 season in North America as the title defenders in the manufacturers’, drivers’ and team classifications.

The Porsche 911 RSR

The new Porsche 911 RSR (2019 model year) celebrates its debut in the IMSA SportsCar Championship at Daytona. The vehicle from Weissach, which produces around 515 hp depending on the air restrictor, is based on the high-performance 911 GT3 RS road-going sports car. Compared to its extremely successful predecessor model, the car received improvements, most notably to areas such as driveability, efficiency, ergonomics and serviceability. About 95 percent of all components are new. The 911 RSR is powered by a 4.2-litre, six-cylinder boxer engine.

The schedule

The 24 Hours of Daytona gets underway on Saturday, 25 January, at 1.35pm local time (7.35pm CET) and can be viewed live outside the USA and Canada on