The official racing debut of the new Porsche 963 began on Saturday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway as the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship began with the annual 24 Hours of Daytona. The two cars from Porsche Penske Motorsport started second and ninth in the new GTP class.
In front of a historic crowd, the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship took the green on Saturday afternoon, along with the debut of Porsche Penske Motorsport, the Porsche 963 and the all-new GTP class in the 61st running of the 24 Hours of Daytona.
Nick Tandy was behind the wheel of the No. 6 for the opening stint of the 24-hour event, while Felipe Nasr drove the No. 7 during the first two hours of the event. Tandy was able to drive from ninth to third, showing strong pace in his 963.
“The race began really well,“ said Tandy. “For starting at the back of the field after not putting up a lap in qualifying, the car was handling really nice and gave me confidence. We made up some places and it was fun to battle with the other GTP cars. We found some areas of the race track where some cars are good and others not so much. It is really quite interesting. It was a clean, trouble-free run. We are in the race after a couple of hours. I am happy so far.”
Nasr raced in the top three for the first hour, but fell victim to a couple of technical issues that dropped him to the back of the GTP field. First, the No. 7 Porsche 963 lost power steering on the Daytona highbanks, which was quickly fixed with in-car adjustments. Then, Nasr lost rear drive, but got the car refired without losing a lap.
“The first stint was good. Pace was good and I was able to keep up with the leaders,” said Nasr. “With the tires we had, we were able to keep up with the leaders. Then we started to deal with some system issues, especially with the power steering and some hybrid issues. I had to be very patient to restart the system and get the car going again. Those were some issues we didn’t hope for, but we made some changes on the mode switches that helped fix it. The car seems to be running ok now. It’s a long race, and there is enough time to recover from that. The speed of the car is there, we just have to run trouble free.”
The 24 Hours of Daytona continues throughout the night, with it finishing up on Sunday afternoon at 1:40 pm ET (19:40 CET).