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22 Jan 2024

Porsche secures third spot in Daytona qualifying

Porsche Penske Motorsport squad heads into the 24 Hours of Daytona from the second row  

Under cloudy skies and in cool temperatures, the conditions at the Daytona International Speedway were ideal for a nail-biting qualifying day. The 15-minute qualifying session for the top GTP class concluded without incident. As tyre temperatures rose, the 500+ kW (680 PS) LMDh cars picked up the pace and broke the previous Daytona lap record for prototypes. During his eight laps out on the track, works driver Felipe Nasr continued to improve. Clocking 1:32.876 minutes in the No. 7 Porsche 963, the Brazilian secured the third grid spot. Le Mans winner Nick Tandy was unable to improve in the decisive final lap and had to settle for seventh place at the wheel of the No. 6 car.

“We would’ve loved to have secured pole position, but unfortunately that didn’t quite work out. Congratulations to Cadillac. Their crew simply did it better,” comments Urs Kuratle, Director of Factory Racing LMDh. “We didn’t make any mistakes. All teams were very close together. I think we have a decent grid position for the race. After all, the event runs over 24 hours, so anything is possible. The forecast for the race weekend is for warmer temperatures. We’re ready for this and so we’re feeling optimistic for the season opener.”

“The drivers in our two Porsche 963 did a great job, and so did the entire crew. Felipe turned the third quickest time,” summarises Jonathan Diuguid. The Managing Director Porsche Penske Motorsport adds: “Even though the sister car is only seventh on the grid, I’m confident that we managed to achieve a good starting position. The drivers are very happy with the car’s handling in race trim. So I’m feeling positive about the 24-hour event.”

Drivers’ comments after the qualifying
Nick Tandy (Porsche 963 #6): “Cadillac was incredibly strong, which surprised me a little. Still, we want to win the race – not the qualifying. In Daytona, it’s all about being the fastest in the final and decisive phase next Sunday. We’re contesting an endurance race here, and the focus is always on reaching the finish. Our cars are running flawlessly. We’ve worked hard over the winter and we’re seeing the results. I’m heading into the upcoming race week feeling good.”

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Felipe Nasr (Porsche 963 #7): “Third place is okay. I got everything I could out of our car today. The crew did a great job. I’m totally convinced that we’re contesting the race with a strong package. We’ll continue to focus on working on consistency over long distances in the upcoming practice sessions starting on Thursday. We need to be perfectly prepared to be in the fight for victory next weekend.”

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Tijmen van der Helm (Porsche 963 #85): “We’re closer to the other teams compared to last year, so we’ve made progress, even though we still have a long way to go. Today was the qualifying for an endurance race. We’re facing a 24-hour event, so the grid spot doesn’t really matter. The main thing is that we keep up with the others. That’s what makes an exciting and good competition. If we reach the flag without any incidents, we should be able to achieve something good.”

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Sebastian Priaulx (Porsche 911 GT3 R #77): “Well, that was unexpected! I gave everything I had and ended up on pole. Today was my day! Everything ran perfectly. Now we have a long race ahead of us. We shouldn’t let the grid position distract us from the big challenge next weekend. Still, it’s always nice when you can go into an important race week with a good feeling and on the wave of success. I’m thrilled.”

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Klaus Bachler (Porsche 911 GT3 R #86): “That was a great qualifying. Many thanks to the team – this is my first time working with them. Now we can continue to prepare systematically for the race. Although we still need to tick off a few things on our list, second place in qualifying shows that our Porsche is already fast – at least in cool temperatures. Now we have to make sure that this continues in the hotter temperatures next weekend. It’ll be a long race with many challenges and a lot of strategy. We aim to be in the fight for the class win.”

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