The kick off to Grand-Am Series was a great one! Numerous lead changes, transmission issues, cold temperatures, rain and more led to an eventful classic. The Action Express Racing No. 9, powered by a Porsche Cayenne V8 took over the lead and never looked back. They had a tremendous battle with the BMW Riley, who in the closing laps, brought the car in due to a large clunk sound in the bus-stop.
The GT class was just as exciting as well as heartbreaking. With a healthy 3 lap lead, Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Bobby Labonte ran out of fuel. This gave the lead up to the TRG/Flying Lizard Motorsports who then had to come in for a broken shock a bit later. This allowed Tremblay to pass in the Mazda RX-8 and win for the second time.
The Daytona 24 hour race concluded with a victory for Porsche. After Brumos Racing won the event last year with a Porsche 911-powered prototype, this time victory went to a Riley fitted with an independently-developed V8 engine based on the Porsche Cayenne. Sharing the cockpit of the winning car were Joao Barbosa (Portugal), Terry Borcheller (USA), Ryan Dalziel (USA) and Mike Rockenfeller (Switzerland). For Porsche, this marked the 22nd success at the long distance classic in Florida.
“That was a thrilling and tough race from start to finish,” said Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport. “After last year’s great result, the Porsche teams were again very successful.”
In the GT class, Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) secured second with their TRG/Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Last year’s winners received back-up from their team mates Johannes van Overbeek (USA) and Seth Neiman (USA). “Of course, you’re never totally happy with second place, but this time we can be satisfied considering the problems we had to cope with,” said Patrick Long. A broken front shock absorber had to be replaced and at one stage the throttle pedal stuck. The stops for repairs cost the title defenders their lead and robbed them of the chance of another win. Nevertheless, Joerg Bergmeister was happy with the outcome: “Over most of the distance our car ran beautifully. The more grip the track developed, the faster we became. In the final hours we were clearly the quickest.”
Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) with Ted Ballou (USA), Kelly Collins (USA), Patrick Flanagan (USA) and Andy Lally (USA) finished third with their TRG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. “Third place was a decent end to an eventful race,” he commented. “Due to problems early on in the race we fell back to eleventh. I never imagined we could bring home a podium result. But we fought back and pulled out all stops to the flag.”
For Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) not everything ran as smoothly on the Daytona International Speedway. With their 911 GT3 Cup fielded by TRG Racing they were holding a comfortable three-lap lead in the GT class when their team mate Bobby Labonte (USA) ran out of fuel. The NASCAR star had to be towed into the infield. Through this mishap the leaders lost their advantage and later fell even further back in the field with a faulty clutch. The trio eventually saw the flag in ninth place.
1. Barbosa/Borcheller/Dalziel/Rockenfeller (P/USA/USA/CH), Porsche Riley (DP), 755 laps 2. Pruett/Papis/Rojas/Wilson (USA/I/MEX/USA), BMW Riley (DP), 755 3. Hunter-Reay/Bouchut/Tucker/Luhr/Westbrook (USA/F/USA/D/GB), BMW Riley (DP), 751 4. Krohn/Braun/Jonsson/Zonta (USA/USA/USA/BRA), Ford Lola (DP), 735 5. Friselle/Negri/Pew/Wilkins (USA/USA/USA/USA), Ford Riley (DP), 726 6. Angelelli/Lamy/R. Taylor/W. Taylor (MC/P/USA/USA), Ford Dallara (DP), 711 7. Allmendinger/Friselle/Patterson/Valiante (USA/USA/USA/CAN), Ford Riley (DP), 707 8. Bomarito/Ham/Haskell/Tremblay (USA/USA/USA/USA), Mazda RX-8 (GT), 707 9. Bergmeister/Long/van Overbeek/Neiman (D/USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (GT), 703 10. Henzler/Flanagan/Ballou/Collins/Lally (D/USA/USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (GT), 691