Porsche Motorsport boss Thomas Laudenbach is hopeful IMSA will make a last-minute Balance of Performance adjustment to the new Porsche 911 GT3 R after being “far off” the pace in GTD Pro and GTD.
The German manufacturer, which along with Ferrari and Lamborghini, are debuting new GT3 homologations in this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, has struggled since the start of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 last weekend.
All seven Type-992 Porsches entered in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener brought up the rear of the time charts in the combined test session results prior to qualifying, where Wright Motorsports’ Jan Heylen ended up the quickest Porsche in 21st between the combined GTD Pro and GTD rankings.
IMSA did not make any BoP changes to the Porsche, nor any new-for-2023 car following the Roar, which saw the trend continue into Thursday’s practice sessions for the Rolex 24, with the Porsches near the bottom of the running order.
“Looking at the results, we’re far off, that’s not a secret,” Laudenbach told Sportscar365.
“I accept and respect the approach that IMSA is doing by saying, ‘It’s a new car so we’re being very careful and we’ll bring it into the field not from top-down.’ There’s no complaints from my side.
“Everybody knows it that if you bring a [new] car [into the series] this is a conservative approach [to the BoP], which is OK.
“Just looking at the pure lap time difference, this is far too much. We are far off.”
While IMSA technical director Matt Kurdock declined to comment to Sportscar365 regarding specific BoP decisions, he did indicate that the Porsche, Ferrari 296 GT3 and Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 are all currently in a ‘probational’ period being new cars and carry specific rules per Appendix 2 of the sporting regulations.
“We’ve got three new GT3 platforms that are introduced here at Daytona. Those certainly follow a different [BoP] process because we don’t have 2022 data to reference,” Kurdock told Sportscar365.
“We’re certainly looking forward to kicking off the race and seeing the true performance of all the cars in the WeatherTech Championship classes are like.”
Kurdock indicated on Wednesday there would be no further BoP adjustments prior to the race.
Laudenbach, however, said they remain closely in contact with IMSA’s technical committee and is hopeful of a positive outcome.
“We’re still discussing with them,” he said. “They are prepared to talk. I wouldn’t say the door is closed and that’s what I like about IMSA.
“In the end, they always keep the door open, so therefore I consider the door to still be open and there will be talks today, then we will see the outcome. I’m still hoping for it.”
He added: “What’s very tough is our teams. This is something I do not like to see. They’re obviously spending a lot of money and have put a huge effort into that.
“Nobody wants to start a race knowing you are two seconds off.
“I appreciate the process that IMSA is doing; I’m not blaming them.
“We are still in close contact with them, and I would like to see that they do a change to at least bring the Porsches up to a position where they can fight, where they are able to be somewhere in the pack.
“We don’t want to have an advantage and again I understand this comes from bottom-up, but the situation we have right now is just far off.”
When asked how the Porsche got to the current performance level, Laudenbach said he was told that IMSA did not take data from Sunday’s qualifying into account.
This contradicts what Kurdock told Sportscar365 on Wednesday.
“The explanation that we got was they took a theoretical approach by taking the figures on a piece of paper in the simulation and that was the outcome, which to me is OK, but obviously not precise enough,” Laundenbach said.
“To me, the reality is what counts and the reality is showing clear figures.
“If you’re referring to rumors that we were sandbagging, the only thing I can say is, definitely not. We didn’t hold any performance back.”