While only having three customer cars officially announced thus far, Porsche is expecting up to a half-dozen of its new 911 GT3 Rs on the grid for January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Speaking to Sportscar365, Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser reaffirmed the German manufacturer’s commitment for the car’s debut race, with between five to six of the new GTD entries expected, subject to IMSA’s approval.
Alex Job Racing’s two-car effort, as well as Black Swan Racing have been the only IMSA teams to confirm the purchase of the new-for-2016 car, although it’s understood Park Place Motorsports will also likely run a 911 GT3 R next year as well.
“The whole team is preparing for Daytona,” Walliser told Sportscar365. “This will be the debut, but always what you don’t want to have is to start the car with a 24-hour race. But it is like it is.”
The new GT3 chassis, running the previous-generation non-direct injection engine, made a successful test debut in a VLN round last month, finishing third overall with Nick Tandy and Fred Makowiecki.
It has since continued testing and development, both in the U.S. and in Europe, with the new 4.0-liter flat-six engine. Walliser said the first customer cars were shipped to the U.S. teams late last week.
“We are testing and preparing everything,” he said. The cars are in production. We are doing a lot of things.
“It will come with the new engine, which is a heavy step. It was a late decision. We did that in December of last year, to develop a new race engine.
“That was really a task. We’re doing everything to prepare for this so it keeps the team really busy.”
Despite a slight decline in season-long IMSA entries, with only four cars expected to compete in the entire WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Walliser has been pleased with the overall level of interest in the car.
He said they have the potential of selling between 30 to 35 cars worldwide in 2016.
“The feedback on the GT3 R market is really good,” Walliser said. “It’s even a little bit better than expected. The interest is good.
“The interesting this is that it’s not only our well-known customer base, also new teams are wanting to come in. This is good.”