Article: Kevin Sims ~ Photos: Randy Stevens
Daytona International Speedway – January 6, 2019 – The 50th season of IMSA sports car racing action started with the 2019 Roar before the 24 testing event hosting a field of 47 cars in 4 classes and with 11 cars representing the DPi class. As shown by the testing results, 2019 DPi competition will be fearsome as, on average, the top 6 cars were within a second of each other’s lap times the whole event.
The #77 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P, driven by driving ace Oliver Jarvis, achieved the fastest time of the 3 days with a stop-watch imploding 1 minute 33.398 seconds at 137.212 MPH in the class’s pit stall determining qualifying session. The next quickest time posted was also a Mazda Team Joest RT24-P, but with the team’s #55 land missile piloted by Harry Tincknell. Its lap took some 0.025 seconds longer at a mere 0.155 slower MPH. With such a razor thin margin like this, the Rolex 24 is sure to be a bloody fist fight the whole 24 hours.
The Mazda RT24-P continued its clock domination with a third best lap time recorded at 1 minute 34.553 seconds in the #55 machine handled by Jonathan Bomarito. Luckily, the field hosted other fast Dpi machines as the #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac Dpi-V.R. blitzed a smokin’ 1 minute 34.534 second time at 135.563 MPH.
“It’s been interesting testing, ticking all the boxes. All the drivers had some quality time in the car. My personal thing was to get used to the Michelin tires and I think they are very easy to adjust to. I am happy to see the average pace between all of our drivers,” explained Renger Van Der Zande, driver of #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. “Also, a very important thing is to get the driver changes in place. There’s still some fine-tuning to do there, same with the setup and in some other areas. I think if we leave the Roar with some fine-turning items to go through, then we can consider it a very good test and I think that’s the case.”
Fellow #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R driver, Fernando Alonso, was making his first public racing appearance since retiring from Formula One last year. With a 2018 24 Hours of LeMans victory added to his resume, he is eager to add a 2019 Rolex 24 winning watch to his long collection of racing trophies.
“Everything went fine, quite a smooth weekend of testing. Getting used to the car, it was the first time for me with the Cadillac and with the team. I got seat-fitted into the car, I went through all the philosophy that the Konica Minolta Cadillac team has and it was quite smooth,” explained Fernando Alonso. “Great team, great people, and I felt quite happy in the car and with the balance of the car right from the beginning. I knew the track from last year, so I had that advantage. It was just full concentration on how the team works and how the team wanted to get through the test. I think we made some improvements in the car. We learned a couple of things that we can put in place for the Rolex 24. We have a strong team – all the drivers have enough experience and enough speed, hopefully, to run consistently fast. It’s a very long race and everything has to go your way. A lot of different factors determine who wins these long races. On our side, we just have to keep the concentration high, execute the race the best we can, and help the team with our feedback and with our care for the car over the 24 hours.” - AA
Article: Kevin Sims ~ Photos: Randy Stevens
Daytona International Speedway – January 6, 2019 – The #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R team appeared ready to defend its 2018 IMSA GTLM championship by posting a most impressive GTLM lap time for the 2019 Roar before the 24 testing event. At a super-sonic 1 minute 42.651 seconds at 124.844 MPH, Jan Magnussen laid down a heart pumping and field belittling standard during the class’s pit stall determining qualifying session that the likes of Ford, Porsche, and BMW must contend with to take the 2019 Rolex 24 win.
“We did exactly the same as we did last year where we agreed who was going to tow who. It was me again like in race qualifying last year,” pointed out Jan Magnussen, #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R driver. “That gave us a good top-speed advantage in that session. Olly (Gavin) did a fantastic job placing himself at the right distance out of Turn Six so I could take full advantage of the tow down to the Bus Stop and then go by him at start/finish to get the fastest lap. We did the exact same thing at the Roar and the race last year, so I don’t really know why everyone else is doing the exact same thing. But it seems we’re the only one doing it at the moment, and it’s working out really well for us.”
Despite the extreme confidence displayed by the Corvette team, an evaluation of the entire testing data revealed that the likes of Ford, Porsche, and BMW were either not far off the Corvette pace or, in most cases, thoroughly ahead of the 2018 Champions.
During all 7 testing sessions, Ford came out on top with a team pleasing 1 minute 43.083 seconds time that out did the Corvette time by 0.423 seconds. Both of these times were achieved during the 6th testing session and under similar conditions. Porsche, with its 911 RSR and Nick Tandy driving, rocketed a 1 minute 43.402 seconds time that was 0.61 second quicker than the fastest Corvette during the 5th testing session.
“The test was an important preparation – for both the race and the entire season. After the winter break we all had to get back into our normal rhythm,” commented Nick Tandy, pilot of the #911 Porsche 911 RSR. “We not only worked on the setup, but above all we practiced procedures such as pit stops and driver changes. It’s critical to do this during the ‘Roar’ so that you can completely focus on the finer details of the car during the race week.”
As in past Rolex 24 events, the GTLM class is staged for a classic confrontation of cataclysmic proportions. The fastest, most efficient team that stays out of trouble will take the prize. According to this year’s Roar before the 24 test result, this year GTLM race is going to be close one. - AA
Article: Kevin Sims ~ Photos: Randy Stevens
Daytona International Speedway – January 6, 2019 – In a year facing some of the class’s biggest rule changes in history, the 2019 Roar before the 24 testing event proved that teams are still determining how to maximize performance under the new GTD environment. Team results varied from test session to test session, but Meyer Shank Racing with its Acura NSX GT3 did possession itself with a slight advantage over the 3 day event.
The #86 Acura NSX GT3 of Meyer Shank Racing edged out an event topping 1 minute 45.533 seconds lap time at 121.435 MPH during the GTD’s 4th session. During GTD’s pit stall determining qualifying session, the all-woman driving squad of #57 Acura NSX GT3 dazzled the crowd with a time of 1 minute 45.537 seconds at 121.43 MPH, making it the second best GTD time of the 3 days.
The two-time IMSA GTD Championship winning, Christina Nielsen, joined the Meyer Shank Racing team for the 2019 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
“The whole program that Jackie (Heinricher) has put together is a great initiative and something that I’m very excited to be a part of,” said Christina Nielsen. “It is amazing what she has done with Caterpillar and bringing them into sports car racing. Mike (Shank) is somewhat of a legend in the paddock and I have had the pleasure to race against him for many years. He runs a very professional program and they showed their strength in 2018 with a near championship. MSR is a team that you want to be with and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
The colorful Ferrari 488 GT3 of Via Italia Racing took the third best GTD lap time of event with an aggressive blacktop pushing 1 minute 45.842 seconds during the 5th session.
Other outstanding performance were registered in 3rd and 4th test sessions. The Porsche 911 GT3 R of Black Swain Racing posted a 3rd session besting time of 1 minute 45.919 seconds at 120.992 MPH to display the potential of the Porsche Motorsports newly reworked machine.
“There were so many new things to discover: car, tires, and racetrack. We worked through our tasks systematically and made great progress,” commented Black Swain Racing driver Matteo Cairoli. “That’s precisely what test days are for. We’ll also use the first sessions of the race week for setup work so that we get the best possible start into the 24-hour classic. At Daytona the name of the game is to have a car that is predictable and easy to handle. We’re on the right track.”
In the 4th session, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Riley Motorsports - Team AMG delivered a solid time of 1 minute 46.452 seconds to secure the fifth best time in GTD for the 3 day testing event. - AA
The Porsche 911 GT3 R of Black Swain Racing posted the 3rd session best time.
Fast and reliable – Perfect tests for Porsche at Daytona Roar Before 24 testing event
Photos: Randy Stevens ~ Article: Porsche Press
The Porsche GT Team has wrapped up its preparations for the 2019 IMSA SportsCar Championship. On the occasion of the three-day official tests on the Daytona International Speedway in Florida, the two Porsche 911 RSR race cars covered a total of 2,120 kilometres under changeable conditions. The focus of this intensive work for the factory team was on improving the setup, on tyre comparisons as well as tests for the upcoming 24-hour race on the storied racetrack. The season-opening round of the North American sports car series takes place on 26/27 January.
Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and the two Frenchmen Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki shared driving duties in the ca. 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR with the starting number 911. Last year the trio won the endurance races at Sebring and Road Atlanta. For the tests, their brand colleagues Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) shared the cockpit of the No. 912 sister car. Regular driver Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) missed the “Roar Before The Rolex 24” due to the birth of his first child. The Le Mans winner will be back in the cockpit for the start of the season in late January.
The Porsche 911 GT3 R made a successful debut at the test days and will face stiff competition in the GTD class in the 2019 IMSA season for the first time. At the official Daytona tests, the customer teams Pfaff Motorsports, Park Place Motorsports, NGT Motorsport and Black Swan Racing gained important insights for the first U.S. outing of the ca. 500 hp race car. Over the two test days, the four identical 911 GT3 R covered a total of 484 laps on the 5.73-kilometer racetrack.
Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “That was a successful test. We’re very familiar with the car, it’s the third outing at Daytona for the latest 911 RSR. The tyres are new for us this year. The IMSA series has now adopted the tyres from the WEC. This, of course, requires some adjustments. We managed to tick all the boxes on our test list. We experienced rain, sunshine, high and low temperatures – you can’t have it better than that for a test.” - AA
Roar Before 24: Porsche Comments:
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager 911 GT3 R)
“The new Porsche 911 GT3 R has passed its first test in the USA. For our customer teams and their drivers, the emphasis on day one was predominantly about getting familiar with the new car. On day two we made great progress in terms of the setup. The lap times were strong and the consistency over longer distances looked good as well. With our customer teams I think we should be well prepared for the race week at the end of the month.”
Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911)
“Testing at Daytona is always extremely important because the racetrack has unusual characteristics. It’s important to have the best possible top speed on the oval passages, but without being hampered too much by insufficient downforce in the infield. These test days were extremely important for this setup work. Our car made a great impression on me. We were fast and very consistent, and so we’re well prepared for the race weekend.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 RSR #911)
“Finding the highest possible top speed is not as easy as it sounds. As soon as you reduce the downforce to increase speed on the straights, you often have trouble braking for the tight corners. The rear gets twitchy and the driver has to work really hard. During the test we worked on finding the best compromise and we found a very good solution. So far, our 911 RSR has coped brilliantly on this very exceptional circuit.”
Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912)
“Although the winter break was really short, you still have to work your way back into the procedures. This applies as much to the mechanics and engineers as it does to us drivers. We got back into a really good rhythm during the test, and it didn’t take long at all for everything to fall into place again. We’re ready and well prepared to start the race week at Daytona.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 RSR #912)
“I drove the 911 RSR at the end of the 2018 season, but the car is still pretty new for me. For this reason the emphasis over these test days was to continue familiarising myself with the car and the racetrack. Everything went really well. The car handles the different sectors very well and our pace was also first-class over longer distances.”
Dennis Olsen (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9)
“New team, new car, new drivers – as you can imagine the list of tasks was rather long. We sorted out some basic things on the first day and then went on to work intensively on the setup. We made great progress but we still have to implement some other findings before the start of the race week.”
Patrick Lindsay (Porsche 911 GT3 R #73)
“A lot is new, but still somehow familiar. The new car immediately feels like a Porsche. I know the previous model and I often drive the 911 RSR. For me, the new GT3 R feels like the perfect combination of the two. The brakes are as powerful as those in the WEC car, it’s very user friendly – it’s simply great fun. At the ‘Roar’ we worked on the setup and familiarised ourselves with the car’s many details and the tyres. Bring on the race week.”
Sven Müller (Porsche 911 GT3 R #99)
“We took things slow initially, first running in the brakes, then working on the setup and testing the tyres. We gained a lot of insights and we’ll now use these for the race week to make the car even better. There were many new things for our team and the drivers to discover during the test days and that was exciting.”
Above: The 2019 revised Porsche 911 GT3 R
Strong, swift, spectacular: the new 911 GT3 R
Photos: Porsche Press ~ Article: George Kaplin
Stuttgart, Germany - May 2018 - Porsche has designed a new customer racer for GT3 series worldwide for 2019 based on the 911 GT3 RS production sports car: the 911 GT3 R.
During the development of the up to 404 kW (550 hp)* racing nine-eleven, special attention was paid to particularly efficient aerodynamics, further optimised safety as well as lowering the cost of servicing and spare parts.
The lightweight body design of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car featuring intelligent aluminium-steel composite construction has proven to be the ideal basis for the near-production race car. The roof, front hood and fairing, wheel arches, doors, side and tail sections as well as the rear lid and interior trim are made of particularly light carbon-fibre composite material (CFRP). All windows consist of polycarbonate.
The normally-aspirated engine offers significantly better driveability
Powering the new 911 GT3 R is a cutting-edge four-litre flat-six unit which is largely identical to the high-performance production engine of the road-legal 911 GT3 RS (911 GT3 RS: Fuel consumption combined 12.8 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 291 g/km). Direct fuel injection, which operates at pressures up to 200 bar, as well as variable valve timing adjustments of the intake and exhaust camshafts ensure a particularly efficient use of fuel. Moreover, compared to its predecessor, the normally-aspirated engine offers significantly better driveability and a broader usable rev range. The engine response is more precise due to six throttle butterflies. Power from the rear engine is transferred to the 310-mm-wide rear wheels via a Porsche sequential six-speed constant-mesh gearbox with an electronic shift actuator for particularly fast and precise gear changes. As in the GT road-going models, the driver changes gears via shift paddles conveniently positioned on the steering wheel. The clutch is electro-hydraulically controlled, which eliminates the need for the clutch pedal and assists quick race starts. Typical of the 911, the weight distribution ensures excellent traction and braking performances.
The spectacular aerodynamics of the 911 GT3 R also follows the example of the road car. The distinctive wheel arch air vents on the front fairings increase downforce at the front axle. Measuring 1,900 millimetres in width by 400 millimetres in depth, the rear wing lends aerodynamic balance. The tyre circumference at the front axle has grown from 650 to 680 millimetres. In tandem with the new Porsche double wishbone suspension, this ensures superior braking performances and consistency over the duration of the race.
The brake system of the 911 GT3 R also underwent further modifications and now offers increased stiffness and more precise control of the ABS. At the front axle, six-piston aluminium monobloc racing brake callipers combined with ventilated and grooved steel brake discs with a diameter of 390 millimetres ensure outstanding braking performances. Fitted at the rear axle are four-piston callipers and discs measuring 370 millimetres.
All controls have been perfectly aligned to suit the needs of the driver
Another development focus was on the safety features of the 911 GT3 R. In order to improve pit stop performance, the 120-litre FT3 safety fuel cell can now be refilled from the left or the right depending on the circuit layout. The doors and the side windows can be removed. The new racing bucket seat affords pilots even better protection in the event of a collision. The seats are now bolted at six points. In combination with the adjustable pedal box, the driver’s centre of gravity is optimised and offers increased safety in the event of an impact. In addition, the driver is protected thanks to a side impact element positioned in the driver’s door, which consists of a carbon-fibre Kevlar aluminium construction with energy-absorbing plastic foam.
The cockpit has been redesigned. All controls have been perfectly aligned to suit the needs of the driver. For the first time the 911 GT3 R features air-conditioning. This ensures ideal interior cooling and, thanks to the direct connection to the seat and driver’s helmet, enables particularly efficient cooling of the driver, which in turn helps them maintain concentration and a constant performance over the race. - AA
911 GT2 RS MR is the fastest road-legal sports car on the ‘Ring’
Photo: Porsche Press ~ Article: George Kaplin
Nürburgring - October 2018 - Porsche has set another new record on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in cooperation with Manthey-Racing. On Thursday, 25 October 2018, the Porsche GT2 RS MR completed a lap of the 20.6-kilometre long circuit in 6:40.3 minutes.
No other road-legal vehicle has ever been so fast on ‘The Green Hell’ track. Lars Kern was at the wheel of the sports car, which had been especially set up for the ‘Nordschleife’ by Porsche engineers and Manthey-Racing experts. The Porsche test driver already set a lap record in September 2017 in a series-production Porsche 911 GT2 RS.
“We kept our eye on the weather all day and thought hard about whether such a drive was possible. We would not have taken any risks if it was raining or if the track was slightly damp,” says Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Motorsport and GT Cars.
The Porsche 911 GT2 RS was equipped with the new performance kit from Manthey-Racing, supplemented by an overall vehicle setup tailored to the circuit characteristics of the Nürburgring-Norschleife. “In this test drive, we simply wanted to assess the potential of the vehicle once more. The result is quite impressive. It really is a fabulous time. This shows again very clearly the exciting possibilities of this sports car.”
The Porsche GT2 RS was launched on the market in 2017 as the fastest and most powerful 911 of all time so far. In recent months, Porsche engineers used their know-how from development of the 911 RSR and 911 GT3 R race cars as well as the experience of Manthey-Racing gained in numerous successful races on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. The targeted modifications included the areas of chassis and aerodynamics. The technicians focused on suitability for on-road driving at all times.
“The drive was great fun,” says development engineer Lars Kern. The 31-year-old knows the ‘Ring’ very well from test and record drives as well as numerous VLN races. “The balance of the car is also very good with the new package. I did not have to take any great risks to be fast. But I only had one attempt because it was already getting dark. It worked out first time though.” Manthey-Racing CEO Nicolas Raeder adds: “We are very proud. It was a great challenge to make the already tremendously fast Porsche 911 GT2 RS even faster.”
In autumnal but dry conditions, Lars Kern optimally exploited the huge potential of the Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR on his record lap under the eyes of a notary. For the fuel, Porsche relied on Esso as a proven partner from motor sports. The driver's seat was the only modification compared with the version of the GT2 RS MR that can now be ordered from Manthey-Racing for club sport and track day events. A racing bucket seat was fitted in the record-breaking vehicle for safety reasons. This modification did not provide any weight benefits. - AA