2015 Tudor USCC: 24 Hours of Daytona preview
Along with the Monte Carlo Rally, Porsche 911 motorsport fans are spoilt for competitive action this weekend as the 2015 Tudor United SportsCar Championship gets underway tomorrow with the 53rd running of the 24 Hours of Daytona.
Last year, Porsche started their inaugural US factory campaign in the best possible fashion, capturing victory at the prestigious Florida endurance race with their newly-formed Porsche North America Racing outfit.
In the hands of regular Total 911 columnist, Nick Tandy, Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet, the no. 911 Porsche 911 RSR dominated large parts of the twice-round-the-clock encounter, surviving a late safety car period en route to winning the GTLM class.
This year, the Porsche North America Racing squad are back with another two-car assault on the US’s premier sports car championship. However, although their race numbers remain the same, the driver line-ups are all changed for 2015.
In the no. 911 machine, Tandy remains the only full-time 2014 driver to retain his seat in the Tudor USCC. For 2015, he will be partnered by Pilet, while the Anglo-French duo will be joined for Daytona by 919 LMP1 racer, Marc Lieb.
Across the garage, the no. 912 line-up consists of Jörg Bergmeister and Earl Bamber, with Frédéric Makowiecki taking up the third driver role at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans.
A new addition to the Daytona grid this year is the Team Falken Porsche 991 RSR. Last year, the privateer squad didn’t take delivery of their car until Sebring, meaning they missed the 2014 season opener.
This year, the iconic teal-and-blue Porsche will make its maiden assault on the Rolex 24 at Daytona with regular drivers Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers accompanied by factory driver, Patrick Long.
After showing good pace during the ‘Roar’ tests, the Porsche 911 RSR trio struggled in Thursday’s qualifying, with Nick Tandy the leading Weissach racer, placing the no. 911 car eighth on the GTLM grid, 0.594s behind the pole-sitting Corvette.
Makowiecki qualified the no. 912 RSR tenth, 1.271s away from pole, with the Falken entry splitting the two works cars in ninth, thanks to Sellers’ lap of 1m44.465s.
“At the moment we are losing on the straights,” explained Tandy. However, with a 24-hour race an entirely different proposition to a short qualifying session, the Porsche 911 RSRs will no doubt be in the mix come the chequered flag on Sunday.
The 2015 24 Hours of Daytona gets underway at 2:10pm Eastern time on Saturday. Look out for Total 911’s race report on Monday morning.
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