18 Hours Down - Six to Go for the Rolex 24 at Daytona as Porsche Teams Fill Top 3 GT Spots
Daytona Beach, Fla. – January 29 – With only six hours to go, it doesn’t look like any of the leading Rolex GT teams are going to outrun the others, so victory will come down to pit stop and fuel strategy, and endurance of the components in their race cars.
“We don’t have any questions about the endurance of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, so we have to focus on our pit stop strategy and fuel planning,” said TRG team owner Kevin Buckler, whose #67 Porsche won the Rolex 24 last year, and current runs second this year after 18 hours.
Hurley Haywood, team manager and one of the drivers of the #59 Brumos Porsche, which currently leads GT, reminds everyone that drivers run their stint, and then a hot shower and a nap, but the crew members are up all night trying to keep the car on the track.
“We really have it easy compared to our crew,” said Haywood, who made his 40th start at the Rolex 24 yesterday when he stepped into the car for his first stint.
“And their mistake-free performance is likely to make the difference today between first place and a lower finish,” he said.
Haywood also pointed out that, with the new Grand-Am fuel tank rules, that more frequent pit stops increase the changes of a costly pit mistake.
The Magnus Racing Porsche is third, while the WeatherTech AJR Porsche is fifth, and the #66 TRG Porsche is eighth.
Jens Walther, president of Porsche Motorsport North America, spent the overnight hours in the pits of the Porsche customer teams, and was impressed by both their professionalism and competitive spirit as they toiled to keep their cars on drivers on the track.
“We are pleased that the 911 GT3 Cup race cars have had no major breakdowns during the first 18 hours of the race, and are grateful for the efforts of our team, but we realize that the final positions will be determined by the race action yet to unfold,” said Walther.