New GTD Porsches struggling with top speed at Roar Before the 24

Jake Galstad/Lumen

New GTD Porsches struggling with top speed at Roar Before the 24

IMSA

New GTD Porsches struggling with top speed at Roar Before the 24

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After failing to post competitive times, the teams campaigning the new 992-generation Porsche are grumbling about the Balance of Performance in the GTD categories, and apparently with good reason.

The cars have consistently been at the bottom of the time sheets for the sessions run so far in the Roar Before the 24, as much as 2s from the fastest 911 GT3 R to the fastest GTD car overall, and 0.75s to the next-slowest GT3 car — even the GTD PRO defending champions at Pfaff. Most of the lost time is coming in the third sector, running from the braking zone for the Le Mans chicane (nee Bus Stop) to the start/finish line — a section of track most dependent on top speed, and that’s where drivers say the issue is. While the possibility of sandbagging is always present, it would take quite the concerted effort across seven cars and 27 drivers in this case.

The Porsches aren’t without company. The new Ferrari 296 GT3 and the Evo2 version of the Lamborghini Huracán are also struggling, but not to the same level. The new Ferrari GT3 car has yet to post a top-five time in either GTD or GTD PRO, and the top Lamborghini squad from Iron Lynx only squeaked into the top five in GTD PRO during the third session.

The struggles of the trio is indicative of common BoP practice within the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship when it comes to new cars – bringing them up with BoP adjustments vs. trying to scale them back. IMSA commonly makes BoP changes between the Roar and the Rolex 24, and will occasionally make adjustments during the Roar, as it did last year with the newly-GTD spec Corvette. That is rare, but may be considered because qualifying for the race is done on Sunday at the Roar.

“We’re just going through the motions,” says Wright Motorsports driver Jan Heylen, who won GTD at Daytona last year with Ryan Hardwick, Zacharie Robichon and Richard Lietz. “I think it’s it’s understandable from IMSA…it’s impossible to come here with a new car and for the BoP to be spot on. That’s what you hope it will be but that’s very unrealistic, I think. We’re too slow on the straightaway. We have confidence in IMSA that they will do the right thing.”

Heylen also said the current weight of the car will lead to greater tire degradation, but getting more top speed is the priority for the Porsche teams.

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