Porsche 963 of Porsche Penske Motorsport victorious after gripping 24 Hours of Daytona

Race, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Round 1, Daytona, Florida

• Nasr/Cameron/Campbell/Newgarden dominate the nail-biting finale.
• Porsche clinches 19th outright win at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
• Second works-963 of Porsche Penske Motorsport finishes fourth.
• Strong result in the GTP category for the Porsche customer teams.
• Four Porsche 963 among the top six in the overall classification.
• AO Racing’s 911 GT3 R secures second in the GTD Pro class

The No. 7 Porsche 963 fielded by the Porsche Penske Motorsport factory team has won the 24 Hours of Daytona. The four driver lineup included two American factory drivers including Dane Cameron (Glen Ellen, California) and 2023 Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden (Nashville, Tennessee) as well as Felipe Nasr from Brazil and Matt Campbell of Australia. The second-year program extended Porsche’s record number of overall victories to 19. The No. 6 sister car finished in fourth place with “works” drivers Mathieu Jaminet (France), Nick Tandy (Great Britain), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Kévin Estre (France). The Porsche 963 campaigned by the formidable customer teams Proton Competition and JDC-Miller MotorSports followed directly behind. In the GTD Pro class, AO Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 R secured second place.

Daytona Beach, Florida. In an action-packed 24-hour endurance race witnessed by a record crowd, the two Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Porsche 963 hybrid race cars traded places at the front of the field with the competition around the Daytona International Speedway and around the clock… twice. In a nail-biting race between the manufacturers in the top GTP class, the last of 15 caution laps pushed the suspense to the edge leading to a 32-minute duel to take top honors in the crown jewel auto race. The final battle to glory went down to the wire with the No. 7 Porsche shared by Dane Cameron (Glen Ellen, California), 2023 Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden (Nashville, Tennessee) Matt Campbell (Australia) and Felipe Nasr (Brazil) in the No. 7 Porsche earning the overall victory. While it was the first win of the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, it was far from the fist win for the German sports car manufacturer at the Daytona Beach, Florida-track. The victory was the 19th overall title for Porsche in the 24-hour classic.

The victory was far from certain right up until the checkered flag on Sunday afternoon. Nasr battled Briton Tom Blomquist at the wheel of a Cadillac prototype as the clock ticked towards 24-hours complete. In the last sprint, the Brazilian struggled with deteriorating tires but successfully fended off his rivals to earn his first overall victory at Daytona – his second total having captured the 2022 GTD Pro class win in a Porsche, a victory he shared with Campbell two years ago. This was an emotional first overall Daytona title for veteran Californian Cameron and for Newgarden who added the accolades to his popular first victory in the 2023 Indianapolis 500 driving for Team Penske, owned by Porsche Penske Motorsport team boss, Roger Penske.

Shortly after sunset on Saturday evening, the No. 6 car was in contention, taking the lead for the first time. However, several penalties forced the car shared by Mathieu Jaminet (France), Nick Tandy (United Kingdom), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Kévin Estre (France) back down the field. They would finish just off the podium in fourth place.

“What a fantastic win to start the year,” offered 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 center in Weissach [Germany] 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 checkered 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,” said 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 organization,” 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 organization 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 privateer entries fielded by the Proton Competition and JDC-Miller MotorSports rounded out the banner result in the top GTP class. At times, both race cars were even on course for the podium and threatened for overall victory. With a mixture of seasoned drivers and younger talent at the wheel of Nos. 5 and 85 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 race car. At the wheel of the No. 77 “Rexy” race car, works driver Michael Christensen (Denmark), former Porsche Junior Laurin Heinrich (Germany) and Sebastian Priaulx (United Kingdom) 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 grueling 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 No. 7 car are also at the top the drivers’ leaderboard. Round two of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is set to be another highlight race, the traditional Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will take place on March 16 in Sebring, Florida. The endurance race also counts as the second round in the Michelin Endurance Cup.

Felipe Nasr, Driver, No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963.
“Wow! Right after crossing the finish line, I had to take a moment and let it all sink in. To have the decision in a 24-hour race come down to the very last few meters in a head-to-head duel – unbelievable. The Cadillac was very strong, especially in the final phase as temperatures rose. We gave everything tactically and driving-wise to take this victory. It worked. I’m super proud of everyone in the team.”

Matt Campbell, Driver, No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963.
“We won the 24-hour race at Daytona – that’s just phenomenal! I can’t thank my colleagues Josef, Felipe and Dane enough. The team as a whole was simply perfect. We had an absolutely crazy battle with the Cadillac. It was back and forth over the entire distance. It was intense, exciting and exhausting. Now, it’s time to celebrate our success.”

Dane Cameron, Driver, No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963.
“A fantastic day for us all. The Porsche 963 was extremely strong in today’s race and showed that we’ve made the necessary progress in terms of reliability over the winter. I’m proud of everyone who enabled us to achieve this. Our team simply worked flawlessly. This is the first victory for the 963 in one of the really big races, and my first overall victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona – it couldn’t be better.”

Josef Newgarden, Driver, No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963.
“I’m over the moon and extremely proud. We had an outstanding car. The combination of Porsche and Team Penske was the perfect package. A massive thanks to everyone who helped us on the way to this huge success. A 24-hour race like this requires months of intensive preparation. I think we deserved to win. It’s a perfect start to the year. I wish the team a super successful season.”

Alessio Picariello, Driver, No. 5 proton Competition Porsche 963.
“I’m completely exhausted, but also relieved and delighted. It’s been a very intense weekend, and I learned an incredible amount. On top of that, I still had a fever on Friday. It doesn’t matter, when I got in the car, the adrenaline took over. I didn’t make any mistakes, kept our number 5 on course and so I’m satisfied with my performance.”

Richard Westbrook, Driver, No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963.
“There are plenty of positives. On the one hand, we’re all thrilled to have the first 24-hour race with the Porsche 963 behind us and to have scored lots of points in the process. The fact that we made it over the distance so well is also due to the great kit and the good support we received from Porsche. Unfortunately, a few minor things set us back a bit at the very end. Now, I’m looking forward to Sebring like a kid on the way to the candy shop.”

Michael Christensen, Driver, No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3.
“I’m very pleased. Despite having started the race from pole position, second place was the best result we could achieve in this competition. We knew after the first hour that we weren’t quite fast enough. We had to drive perfectly, deliver flawless pitstops and choose the best strategy. That’s exactly what we managed to do over the entire distance, and we all put in a first-class performance.”

Race result
GTP class:

1. Cameron/Nasr/Campbell/Newgarden (USA/BR/AUS/USA), Porsche 963 #7, 791 laps
2. Derani/Aitken/Blomqvist (BR/UK/UK), Cadillac #31, -2.112 s
3. Taylor/Deletraz/Herta/Button (USA/CH/USA/UK), Acura ARX-06 #40, -14.989 s
4. Tandy/Jaminet/Estre/Vanthoor (UK/F/F/B), Porsche 963 #6, -15.387 s
5. Bruni/Jani/Picariello/Dumas (I/CH/B/F), Porsche 963 #5, -44.479 s
6. Van der Helm/Westbrook/Hanson/Keating (NL/UK/UK/USA), Porsche 963 #85, - 2 laps

GTD-Pro class:
1. Serra/Rigon/Pier Guidi/Calado (BR/I/I/UK), Ferrari 293 GT3 #62, 733 laps
2. Heinrich/Priaulx/Christensen (D/UK/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #77, -34.999 s
3. Sellers/Snow/Verhagen/van der Linde (USA/USA/USA/RSA), BMW M4 GT3 #1, -2 laps

GTD class:
1. Ward/Ellis/Dontje/Morad (USA/UK/NL/CAN), Mercedes AMG GT3 #57, 731 laps
7. Adelson/Skeer/Heylen/Makowiecki (USA/USA/B/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #120, -1 laps
9. Andretti/Chavez/Hargrove/Preining (USA/USA/CDN/A), Porsche 911 GT3 R #43, -3 laps
11. Brule/Udell/Hindman/Andlauer (USA/USA/USA/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #92, -12 laps
12. Li/Fjordbach/Ten Voorde/Bachler (CHN/DK/NL/A), Porsche 911 GT3 R #86, -13 laps

Full results at: https://imsa.alkamelsystems.com.

  • Image courtesy of Porsche.