Coming up short by a mere 3.048 seconds in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Black Swan Racing is looking to carry that momentum into the remainder of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season in a bid to capture GT Daytona class honors.
Tim Pappas, Nicky Catsburg, Andy Pilgrim and Patrick Long took second in the new No. 540 Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Obviously, it’s hard to call the season after one race, but it’s certainly better to start the year off with a strong finish,” said Pappas, owner of the Boston-based team.
“We didn’t get the win, but we’re happy with the points, and we’re real happy with the quality of the competition.”
Pappas won GTC titles in the American Le Mans Series in 2010 and 2011, co-driving a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with Jeroen Bleekemolen.
This year’s Rolex 24 was Pappas’ first since co-driving the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi in the race in 2014, and he experienced a new phenomenon in the 2016 rendition.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a race like Daytona before, where on every single lap of every single stint for all four of us was absolutely flat out,” Pappas said.
“We didn’t have the opportunity to be conservative on fuel or any other strategy, because the performance of so many cars was so high.”
Now, Pappas is looking forward to the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.
“I’ve always enjoyed racing at Sebring,” said Pappas, who won the GTC class in 2011 among several strong finishes.
“I think it will be interesting to be into the season with the rest of our competitors and see where people stack up now that we’ve had a couple of months with the new cars.
“Our goal is on winning the championship; we’re not going to get totally fixated on individual race wins.
“It’s going to be a real fight for the whole season, although I think everybody has a pretty strong feeling that this championship will come down to the last lap of the last race because it’s so competitive.”