It was like a photo finish with five cars on the lead lap in the GT class in the closing minutes of Sunday's Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Ferrari returned to Daytona with significant style and commitment by placing the Ferrari 458 Grand-Am specification GT3 challenger on the grid.
The No. 44 Porsche proved to be the fastest and most durable by winning the 50th anniversary of the endurance race at Daytona.
Porsche driver John Potter said: "The most challenging race I've ever done is an understatement.” The No. 59 of Brumos Porsche was in the hunt as well, but a mistimed late pit stop took it out of the hunt. "We got it stolen away from us right at the end. These guys did a great job.”
Ferrari had the legendary NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip in the Ferrari 458 Grand-Am for this year’s race. The American Canadian Racing entry took on the might of the Porsches and achieved a very satisfying fifth place finish in the GT class.
The winning Porsche displayed greater top speed and a more developed fuel economy than the new Ferrari, however, Ferrari and its drivers were pleased with the end result.
Team Principal Giuseppe Risi that ran the Ferrari cars said. “It’s an honor to be part of the 24 Hours at Daytona which is a name that’s so synonymous with motor racing around the world.
We brought two cars here to race. We had a superb line-up and did a fantastic job representing Ferrari and its North American dealer network. It’s obviously extremely disappointing that the No. 62 suffered the engine problem, and that we weren’t able to bring both cars home to the finish.”
Ferrari’s driver, and overall winner at Daytona in 2000, Olivier Beretta said: "First of all I want to thank everyone at Risi Competizione. Everyone has seen the Ferrari is fast but we have to remember the Porsches have been racing here for many, many years and we just arrived a few months ago."
Four time FIA GT1 World Champion and Scuderia Ferrari F1 development driver, Andrea Bertolini said: “I think we all did a good job. The car is completely new and at the end, after 24 hours we were on the same lap as some very experienced Porsche teams and highly developed cars."