FIRST TEST OF THE PORSCHE GT3 R IN PREPARATION OF IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
Pfaff Motorsport has been a key figure in Canadian Motorsport over the years being involved in diverse racing series in Canada and the United States. They have moved up the ladder one step at a time and now they are going all-in for the upcoming season of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship running the Porsche GT3 R in the GTD class with very talented drivers.
It was a learning experience for the entire team over the week-end at the Roar in what will be a very tight battle for the top step of the podium in the GTD class come race time.
The four Porsche factory driver Scott Hargrove(CAN), Zach Robichon(CAN) and Dennis Olsen (NOR), Lars Kern (DEU) shared the driving duties amongst the six on-track sessions at Daytona International Speedway.
The team could be seen hard at work in the garage and pit area making adjustments to the handling characteristics of their Porsche GT3 R. It all paid off as they placed as high as 7th during the night session on Saturday. The top 15 being separated by less than a second.
Zack Robichon on his first time driving at Daytona: “It was a fantastic experience to finally get on track at the Roar. Having never driven a GT3-spec car, and being my first time at Daytona, there were a lot of firsts to cover, but I felt very comfortable with everything,” Robichon said. “The GT3 R is a great platform and the improvements over our sessions were a great positive to build upon heading into the 24.”
For Scott Hargrove, comparing to last year’s car: “This new GT3 R was as stunning to drive as it looks,” Hargrove said. “It’s a massive step from what the car was last year on every front, but it still feels familiar. We were able to gain as much information as possible as we could over the two days, and there’s still room for improvement, which is massively positive. Now it’s up to us to analyze the data and put the pieces together for the big show.”
Chief engineer Andrew Marangoni: “We’ve worked our way up the ranks of North American sports car racing and have learned an incredible amount along the way, but we certainly didn’t expect to enter the Roar without any challenges,” he said. “The IMSA WeatherTech series is the pinnacle of the sport in North America, so everything from personnel to equipment, the car and order of operations needs to be meticulously prepared.
“The Roar allowed us to identify any and all issues with the car and our team, and implement corrective actions prior to the 24,” Marangoni continued. “We now have a plan in place, so I’d certainly classify the Roar as a success for our program.”
Marangoni was quite pleased with the feedback all four drivers provided. A key to maximizing the performance of the car.
“It was an absolute privilege working with Olsen, Hargrove, Kern and Robichon,” Marangoni said. “All four drivers are absolute professionals and provided excellent feedback and input, which is a trait coveted by any engineer. Most encouragingly, all four drivers provided very similar commentary on the performance and handling of the car, which allows us to progress with our testing and enhancement of the setup overall.
Now that the Roar is behind them, the team is focusing on the tasks at hand in preparation for the 24-Hour race to take place on January 26-27.
Team manager Steve Bortolotti is well aware of the work to be accomplished to be fully prepared.
“We have a great team of engineers, strategists, mechanics and of course, our drivers,” he said. “Over the next couple weeks we’ll be holding numerous meetings in the shop with all of our staff. We’ll be working out the final preparations of the car, our systems and our tools, and look forward to returning to Daytona with the added experience that we were able to gain from the Roar. Everyone at Pfaff is excited and focused on the challenge ahead, and we’re looking forward to getting back [to Daytona] for our biggest race yet.”
Image credit: Pfaff Motorsports/Lenssen Photo
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