The ROAR before the 24 – and the debut of the GTP Class and the new Porsche 963s for Porsche Penske Motorsport at Daytona International Speedway – wrapped up on Sunday afternoon with qualifying for next week’s 24 Hours of Daytona and one of the two Porsche 963s on the front row, led by Felipe Nasr.
Wrapping up what has been a productive week for Porsche Penske Motorsport, Brazilian Felipe Nasr drove the No. 7 Porsche 963 to a second-place result in qualifying on Sunday afternoon for next week’s 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. Nick Tandy, who was at the helm of the No. 6 Porsche 963, was on a flying lap in qualifying when a mistake in the famous Daytona bus stop chicane cause his car to nose into the inside barriers, ending his qualifying session. The front-row result for Nasr wrapped up what was a productive week for the debut of Porsche Penske Motorsport.
“I’m really proud of the group and all of the people that have worked together to get us to this point,“ said Porsche Penske Motorsport Managing Director, Jonathan Diuguid. “It was really fun to show the car’s true potential. Both cars had speed to run for the pole. We had a small mistake in the bus stop which was unfortunate, but the feedback from both Nick and Felipe were that the cars were really fantastic. We are looking forward to the Daytona 24 Hours because the cars clearly have the pace.“
Nasr, a former IMSA Champion, was able to learn some things from an additional practice session that was added during the day by IMSA to make a run for the pole at the end of the qualifying session. His time of 1:34.114 minutes was just 0.083 seconds off the pole winning time.
“The first qualifying of the year in IMSA and its a front row for Porsche Penske Motorsport,“ said Nasr, who will share the car with Matt Campbell and Michael Christensen next weekend. “I am really happy with the lap we did. We made really good progress over the week understanding the car, the tires and the conditions out there. In the end, it is all preparation for us ahead of the race and that’s the main goal. It would be nice to be on pole, but the bigger picture is next weekend. I feel so happy for everyone to put in so much work on this car. We are getting a step closer to the race. We unlocked some speed on the car, which was nice to see. I’m glad where we are starting and it is a good position for the Porsche 963 to be starting the race next weekend.“
Unfortunately for Tandy, his qualifying session came to an end following an accident on the backstretch of Daytona while entering the track’s bus stop section. Tandy locked up the left front tire, causing him to lose control of the Porsche 963 and nose into the inside barriers.
“I have to say thank you to the team for giving me such an amazing car to drive,“ said Tandy. “I’ve never experienced the Porsche 963 in these conditions with that sort of speed and balance. And honestly, the car was just amazing. The lap time was looking very good. It doesn’t look like we’ve done too much damage luckily. It’s not the ideal situation going into a 24 hours race when parts are limited, but the positive is how the team has been operating this week and how fast the car is.“
The 24 Hours of Daytona will kick off the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series next week, with practice sessions Thursday and Friday, followed by the start of the 61st Annual 24 Hours of Daytona on Saturday afternoon at 1:40pm ET.