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Porsche 911 GT3 R in the leading pack, bad luck for WeatherTech Racing ... Ferrari in top Positions Mid-Race


 

Daytona, 31st January, 2021

The Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by the Wright Motorsports customer team lies in a promising position after three hours of racing at the Daytona 24 Hours. The 500+hp vehicle run by the experienced squad from the US state of Ohio currently ranks fourth in the GTD class after a turbulent start to the season-opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Meanwhile, in the hotly contested GTLM category, bad luck has plagued the WeatherTech Racing team. The No. 79 Porsche 911 RSR got caught up in an accident at the start and is now running at the back of the field.

In bright sunshine and temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius, works driver Kévin Estre took up the race from the third grid spot at the wheel of the Porsche 911 RSR. When the 59th edition of the American endurance classic took off, misfortune hit. The Frenchman’s vehicle was hit from behind and forced into a spin. This action caused his car to shunt a competitor in front. The team, which receives support for the IMSA campaigns from the seasoned Proton Competition squad, repaired the ca. 515 hp car from Weissach but lost 14 laps. Thanks to a clever strategy during numerous caution phases, that gap was reduced by two laps. The first stints went considerably better for the four customer teams contesting the GTD category for vehicles complying with the GT3 regulations. In the early phase, Belgium’s Jan Heylen was at times running in second place at the wheel of the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Wright Motorsports. Maintaining fourth place after three hours of racing, the chance to fight for class victory looks good for the squad. In twelfth position, the identical vehicle campaigned by Pfaff Motorsports also has good prospects. The two Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Hardpoint EBM and TGM head into the Florida night ranking 13th and 19th.

Twelve hours in, the Ferraris are enjoying a steady race with the 488s in the running for victory. After a long spell with no yellow flags, two full-course yellows compacted the group, turning up the excitement on an already fantastic spectacle.

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Davide Rigon and Jules Gounon, in the 488 GTE of Risi Competizione, are currently in fourth position twenty-eight seconds behind the leader. The Italian driver patiently tried to make up the ground after Calado served a drive-through in the first six hours, a feat achieved in part thanks to a Full Course Yellow. After a slowish stop, the Ferrari was just over ten seconds behind the leading Corvettes. However, this gap was wiped out by a second Full Course Yellow after the Lexus no. 12 in the GTD class caught fire and came to a halt at the bus stop.

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he 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of AF Corse has held the lead for a long time, courtesy of a formidable stint by Matteo Cressoni, gaining over forty seconds on its closest pursuers. The Italian driver is sharing the wheel with Nicklas Nielsen and Simon Mann, who again drove the Ferrari during one of the two Full Course Yellows. The Ferrari no. 21 passed the twelve-hour mark in second, with Daniel Serra twenty-six seconds behind Engel, the race leader. The Scuderia Corsa car’s race is proceeding smoothly with Bret Curtis, Ed Jones, and Ryan Briscoe’s behind the wheel. The US team’s crew, which also includes Marcos Gomes, is in eleventh place, two laps behind the leader.

After 18 hours of racing, all three Ferraris continue to lap competitively and without significant issue, setting themselves up for a thrilling finale as the 59th running of the Daytona 24 Hours marches towards its conclusion. The overnight hours continued to be marked by caution periods caused by prototype incidents that have largely not affected the Ferrari running.

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The no. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE of Risi Competizione continued its very competitive run, finding itself within 15 seconds of the leading Corvette in GTLM after 18 hours of running. The team completed the usual brake change overnight and currently finds itself in 4th in the category with Davide Rigon behind the wheel.

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The no. 21 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of AF Corse finds itself in the thick of a fight for the GT-Daytona class win. In the ever-competitive GT-Daytona category, five cars have set themselves apart from the field of 19 and are all running within 40 seconds of each other after 18 hours of running. Among that group, the AF Corse Ferrari is currently running first with Daniel Serra behind the wheel and one more stint yet to complete for their Am driver, Simon Mann. Meanwhile, the no. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Scuderia Corsa finds itself two laps down, but with Bret Curtis’ drive time complete for the race, allowing the team to focus on their pro drivers for the remaining six hours. The team is currently in 10th with Ed Jones behind the wheel.


 

 

Ferrari finished the 24 Hours of Daytona with a fourth place in the GTLM class and more than a few regrets. Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Davide Rigon and Jules Gounon drove the 488 GTE of Risi Competizione to the finish line, completing the 59th edition of the race in the same lap as the victorious Corvette no. 3. The Maranello cars were very competitive, especially in the GTD class where the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of AF Corse was in the running for victory until it suffered a collision, four hours from the chequered flag. The Scuderia Corsa entry retired just under three hours from the end.

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The 488 GTE no. 62 of Risi Competizione enjoyed an excellent race, even though the balance of performance meant the Italian car could not compete on equal terms with its rivals, as the race’s final hours showed. Despite this, the US team’s quartet did all they could, taking the lead on several occasions and setting the fastest lap time of 1:42.411 on lap 429. There were some tense moments, particularly in the first few hours, but the Ferrari showed outstanding reliability and robustness, pushing for a podium finish down to the line.

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There were also regrets for the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 no. 21 of AF Corse, one of the race’s big performers and well in contention for the class win before a collision with the Mercedes no. 57 that eventually won the race. After a brilliant first phase, the Italian team’s car held the lead for long stretches, with Daniel Serra and Nicklas Nielsen in particular, engaging in some exciting duels with the Mercedes no. 57 of Winward Racing. Simon Mann and Matteo Cressoni also shared the wheel, and when the latter had just begun his stint with a little under four hours to go, the Ferrari suffered its contact with the German car. The AF Corse car ended up against the barriers, limping back to the pits with a punctured tyre that damaged the rear diffusor. It lost two laps for the necessary repairs. Despite the drivers’ efforts and a few Full Course Yellows allowing it to make up a lap, the Ferrari crossed the line eighth in class. Scuderia Corsa’s 488 GT3 Evo 2020 retired less than three hours from the chequered flag.  Ryan Briscoe, Ed Jones, Bret Curtis, and Marcos Gomes enjoyed a good outing, considering that the four were competing together for the first time. More experienced at the wheel of a Ferrari than his teammates, the Brazilian Gomes had set the fastest lap of the race in 1:45.724 and made up one of the two laps lost in the first 12 hours before being forced to retire.

Schedule
With six hours complete, there are 18 remaining before the 24 Hours at Daytona will have its thrilling conclusion at 3:40pm ET.

The first race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season can be viewed outside the USA and Canada on www.imsa.com. Live timing of all sessions is available at scoring.imsa.com.

 

Next event
The IMSA series will be back on track at another legendary Florida circuit, Sebring, for the 12 Hours from 17 to 20 March.