Wright Motorsports was able to celebrate a GT class podium in the Rolex 24 at Daytona after successfully taking the challenge to a number of bigger-budget, multi-car teams in the opening round of the Grand Am Rolex Series.
The team headed into the weekend with a brand new Porsche GT3 for Phillip Martien, BJ Zacharias, Sascha Maassen and Patrick Pilet with the focus on trying to take the fight to the likes of TRG and Farnbacher Loles for a place on the podium.
The quartet were forced to deal with a throttle issue on the #33 car and a late puncture scare to battle to eleventh overall and third in class, despite dropping down to 17th place in GT early on due to the throttle problems on the 911. Despite attempting to fix the problem, the drivers were only able to use 90-97 per cent of the throttle for the remainder of the race.
Despite that, the drivers battled back and ran in a podium position throughout the closing hours of the race, despite Pilet pitting to have bodywork removed from the rear of the car in the final hour for fear of it rubbing against a tyre on the car.
"This was only my second Rolex 24 and my first podium in this race, so the day was a great success,” Pilet said. “The team did a very good job. I knew John Wright had a good team. The car was very consistent. The pit stops were very quick. The podium finish was a very nice present for Phillip [who was celebrating his 50th birthday]. We don't know why the throttle wasn't working correctly. It was only about 90 per cent. Next time we'll come back with it 100 per cent and maybe we can win!
"I don't know exactly what happened at the end; I don't think I was hit. There was a vibration in the rear and smoke came out of the left rear. We thought it was a puncture. We came in and tore off the rear bumper in case something was rubbing the tire, but luckily it was okay.
"I hope to be here next year with the same team, only next time we want to win!"