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Monday, March 4, 2024

Daytona 24 Hours efficiency a “query mark” for Proton’s GTP squad

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Christian Ried’s privateer Porsche 963 outfit entered the ultimate three races of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship final season forward of full season programmes in each sequence in 2024, starting with the IMSA season opener at Daytona later this month.

It was introduced earlier this week that Bruni and full-season co-driver Neel Jani shall be joined by Romain Dumas and Alessio Picariello for the 24 Hours, with the latter pair resulting from drive the automotive for the primary time at subsequent week’s Roar Earlier than the 24 pre-event take a look at.

Talking to Autosport, four-time Le Mans class winner Bruni mentioned the “Roar goes to be like a shakedown” for the Proton group that has not run the 963 because the 2023 WEC finale in Bahrain.

“This 12 months can be once more the whole lot new,” the Italian mentioned.

“We didn’t do any testing or anything, even a seat-fitting or one thing since Bahrain, so it’s actually a query mark, query mark, query mark.

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“Additionally my team-mate [Dumas], he’s going to return again from Dakar when the Roar goes to start out so it’s going to be difficult, I might say.

“But it surely’s like this, we can not change it.”

Picture by: Porsche

#99 Proton Competitors Porsche 963: Gianmaria Bruni, Harry Tincknell, Neel Jani

On the Proton group’s first outing with a prototype at Daytona final 12 months, Bruni was a part of the profitable lineup in LMP2 as team-mate James Allen snatched the victory away from Ben Hanley’s Algarve Professional-run Crowdstrike entry by 0.016s on the line.

Bruni acknowledged that the group returns to Daytona in “a really related scenario than final 12 months” with new mechanics and engineers hooked up to the programme, however feels the group is well-placed to construct on an encouraging finish to 2023.

Along with Jani and Harry Tincknell, Bruni scored the programme’s first GTP podium within the ultimate spherical at Petit Le Mans, which represented an encouraging response to a freak seatbelt drawback that thwarted a robust run within the WEC’s Fuji 6 Hours.

“This was a very good group consequence for positive and we have been very completely satisfied, particularly after Fuji,” he mentioned.

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“It exhibits that Proton may be there even with a restricted time on the automotive.

“It’s all the time good to have a preparation, however on the finish [in] these endurance races, the whole lot can occur and particularly if you end up in America and IMSA races when you could have so many classes collectively, and you’ve got so many yellows within the race.

“Something can occur till the checkered flag. That is additionally what is nice about IMSA, that you simply all the time have an opportunity, wherever you’re, no matter your beginning place, you may have all the time an opportunity to do one thing in case you are on the [lead lap] group.”

Proton is not going to defend its P2 class victory, however will discipline a full-season Ford Mustang GT3 entry within the pro-am GTD class with Giammarco Levorato and Corey Lewis joined by newly-appointed Ford manufacturing unit driver Dennis Olsen and group common Ryan Hardwick at Daytona.



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