Porsche’s new 911 GT3 R has been described as a “very positive” step forward, particularly in its serviceability according to Pfaff Motorsports team manager Steve Bortolotti, who has praised the enhancements to the new-for-2023 model.
Pfaff, which won the inaugural GTD Pro title in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this year, took delivery of its Type-992 Porsche, chassis No. 1, last month and is representing the German manufacturer at this week’s IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona International Speedway.
While yet to run the car in anger, Bortolotti has praised both company management and the strides made with the car’s overall package, which will make its official customer race debut in next month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“Sebastian [Golz], the whole team over at Porsche Motorsport in Germany and North America have all worked very cohesively,” Bortolotti told Sportscar365.
“Any questions we have, I try to consolidate in emails with one big long one at night with all our questions.
“By the time I wake up the next day there’s a response from pretty much everything we needed.
“They’ve been amazing. It’s cool to get to do this [test] on their behalf.”
While featuring a larger 4.2-liter flat-six engine, the new 911 GT3 R also has all-new aerodynamics and other components that have been built around a more modular design.
“From the standpoint of the mechanics, working on it is easier,” Bortolotti said. “The car is very modular. It comes apart quicker, it goes back together quicker.
“Every piece of constructive feedback that most teams would have gripped about in the past, I feel like it’s been implemented. It’s very positive.
“Even simple stuff… When you take the IMSA-homologated dampers and have a travel sensor. The old travel sensor used to run all the way up under the hood.
“The homologation allows to shorten that and add a bulkhead. So if you had to take a damper out, you were cutting zip-ties in pit lane.
“Whereas now, there’s a nice bulkhead connector on the arm and is really well designed.
“What used to take eight or ten minutes on pit lane to do a spring change because you have to pull the damper out, I believe now it’s going to be half the time.
“For limited practice schedule and the way IMSA has gone with less track time in this post-pandemic world, I think it’s something we desperately needed but also came good on it as well.
“That’s super positive.”
Pfaff will become the first North American customer team to run the car in this week’s test, with Klaus Bachler handling driving duties over the two days of running.
The 31-year-old Austrian and Porsche veteran Patrick Pilet were announced on Monday as the team’s two new full-season drivers alongside Laurens Vanthoor for the Michelin Endurance Cup races.
Pilet, who drove for Pfaff in the 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona and Vanthoor, who won the 2021 GTD title with the team, will make their respective returns to the Canadian squad.
“Both of them, having driven for us, stayed close to Andrew, myself and the guys on the team, just from a friendship standpoint,” Bortolotti said.
“Klaus is impressive so far. He hasn’t driven the car yet but his attention to detail and the time he has to respond and be involved with the team has been incredible.
“He has a lot of GT3 experience and has such a great attitude. Everything’s so positive and upbeat with him all of the time. It’s good.
“I’m happy for the Matt’s [Jaminet and Campbell] and Felipe [Nasr] obviously for their opportunity [with Porsche Penske Motorsport] but we knew that at the start of last season that it was a one-year thing.
“Hopefully we have some continuity here for more than a season and it can be something we can build off of.
“Klaus and Patrick have driven together a bunch so they know each other quite well and Larry has driven with Patrick a fair bit and Klaus some.
“Having guys that know how to drive a Porsche is very important. It’s such a unique car to drive and I’m sure they’ll get the most out of it.”