In an action-packed race witnessed by a record crowd, the two Porsche Penske Motorsport 519 kW (706 PS) Porsche 963 traded places at the front of the field with the No. 31 Cadillac. Shortly after sunset on Saturday evening, the No. 6 car took the lead for the first time. However, several penalties kept throwing the car shared by Jaminet/Tandy/Vanthoor/Estre back down the field. Kévin Estre’s small slip in the pit lane exit on Sunday morning dampened the hopes of victory for this hybrid prototype.
In a nail-biting race between the manufacturers in the top GTP class, the last of 15 caution phases pushed the suspense to the edge: in a 32-minute duel, the final battle to glory went down to the wire between Felipe Nasr in the No. 7 car Porsche and Briton Tom Blomqvist at the wheel of the Cadillac. In the last sprint, the Brazilian struggled with deteriorating tyres but successfully fended off his rival’s attacks. To the surprise of the spectators, the chequered flag came out around 1:30 minutes before the end of the race. Porsche’s first overall win since 2003 and the sports car manufacturer’s 19th victory at Daytona was safely in the bag.
“What a fantastic win to start the year,” says a delighted Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Development at Porsche. “The entire Porsche Penske Motorsport works team and everyone at the development centre in Weissach have worked extremely hard to lay the foundations for this success. My sincere thanks to all of our employees. We never gave up and didn’t let the tough setbacks from last year rock us. Now, we’re reaping the rewards of our hard work. In the final phase, the duel on the track made the unrivalled passion obvious. Nobody gave up, nobody backed off until the chequered flag. I found that absolutely thrilling, as I’m sure it did many motorsport fans around the world.”
“It’s difficult to put the emotions into words. We won the 2024 Daytona – amazing," says a delighted Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President of Porsche Motorsport. “I’ve never experienced such a heart-stopping battle. We won one of the really big races today. Our package worked. Four Porsche 963, two from Porsche Penske Motorsport and two from our strong customer teams, made it through without any major technical problems – that’s quite a feat in itself. This was only possible thanks to the incredible work of everyone involved. Thank you so much! Second place for the Porsche 911 GT3 R from AO Racing in the GTD Pro class is also absolutely fantastic. Daytona was definitely worth the trip for us.”
“An amazing day for the entire Porsche Penske Motorsport organisation,” said Roger Penske, Founder and Chairman of the Penske Corporation. “Both of our Porsches had great speed but more importantly, the reliability and the execution by our team allowed us to secure the overall win for the first time since 1969. Congratulations to the entire Porsche and Penske organisation on this monumental victory.”
Strong results from customer teams in the top GTP class and GTD-Pro class
Finishing fifth and sixth, the two Porsche 963 fielded by the Proton Competition and JDC-Miller MotorSports customer teams rounded off the banner result in the top GTP class. At times, both race cars were even on course for the podium. The seasoned drivers and the youngsters at the wheel of No. 5 and 85 cars put in commanding drives with blistering lap times and clean performances.
In the GTD Pro category, AO Racing secured the second podium step with the Porsche 911 GT3 R. At the wheel of the No. 77 “Rexy” race car, works driver Michael Christensen from Denmark, former Porsche Junior Laurin Heinrich from Germany and Sebastian Priaulx from the UK drove a flawless race – as did the entire customer outfit from the USA. “This year’s 24-hour race once again underlined that you have to fight to the end. AO Racing kept its cool during its debut race in the GTD Pro class and secured a terrific result with second place,” commented Sebastian Golz, Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R. “All of the cars reached the finish line. Wright Motorsports managed to finish seventh in this gruelling race and highly competitive field. That was obviously the maximum.” The identical 911 campaigned by Andretti Motorsports, Kellymoss with Riley and MDK Motorsports finished the race in ninth, eleventh and twelfth place.
Porsche kicks off the new IMSA season at the top of the table
With this win in the prestigious classic in Florida, Porsche has taken the lead in the manufacturers’ championship. After the season opener, the victorious drivers of the #7 car are also at the top the drivers’ leaderboard. Round two of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is set to be another highlight: the traditional 12 Hours of Sebring will take place on 16 March. The endurance race also counts as the second round in the Michelin Endurance Cup.