Five Porsche 911 GT3 R customer programs brought cars to the Roar Before the Rolex 24 in preparation of the January 28-29 Rolex 24 At Daytona. It was the one-off effort of Manthey Racing that set the bar for the weekend for the GT Daytona (GTD) class. The No. 59 was the quickest during the test session in the category, led by one of Porsche’s newest works drivers, Germany’s Sven Müller. Manthey has a long history with the German marque but is new to the class. This will be Müller’s first Rolex 24 as a factory driver.
Overall, five Porsche factory drivers will focus on the GTD class this year. North America’s only “works” driver Patrick Long will wear the familiar colors of CORE autosport at Daytona International Speedway driving for the No. 54 911 GT3 R in the South Carolina-based program. It will be CORE’s first Rolex 24 in the GTD class.
Wolf Henzler of Germany made his return to North America and to TRG driving the No. 991 over the weekend. This was the first test for California-based operation and 2003 overall winners of the Rolex 24, having announced its return to the German brand late in 2016. More familiar with his surroundings is factory driver Jörg Bergmeister. The tall German is back with Park Place Motorsports for the second season in the No. 73.
Hailing from Denmark, Michael Christensen had his first laps in the No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R during the Roar. The factory driver will lead a group of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge champions at the twice around the clock classic. 2016 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Platinum Cup champion Daniel Morad, 2016 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Platinum Cup titlist Jesse Lazare and last year’s GT3 Cup Challenge USA Gold Cup champion Michael de Quesada – as well as Alegra team principal and 2007 Rolex 24 GT class winner Carlos de Quesada – join him in the team’s return to the Rolex 24. Both Morad and Lazare are 2015 graduates of the Porsche Young Driver Academy.