Pfaff Motorsports shows promise, battles mechanical issues through Daytona 24 Hours

January 30th, 2024 by

Daytona Beach, FL – Pfaff Motorsports took the green flag at the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech season opener at the Daytona 24 Hours and wasted little time moving up from its sixth-place starting position to the lead by lap 55 of the twice-around-the-clock event.

The record-setting crowd saw witness to the debut of the Driveway 720S GT3 EVO in impressive fashion, as driver Oliver Jarvis (UK) vaulted the team up five positions in the GTD Pro class, and 11 positions in the GTD category by lap 25 of the 791-lap total race distance, an incredible feat for the Canadian-based sportscar team. Pfaff Motorsports had run the new McLaren for the first time just one week prior, at the ROAR preseason test.

That momentum continued as Jarvis handed the 720S to fellow full-season Pfaff driver Martin Kirchöffer (DE), but nearing the end of his stint four-and-a-half hours into the race, the McLaren suffered a right front upright failure, forcing the team to limp back to the garage where they sprinted through a 39-minute repair to get the car back on track.

In a 24-hour race where anything can happen, Pfaff’s crew never wavered, leaning on both the impressive performance of the 720S GT3 EVO and its strategy to help get back into contention for a repeat of the team’s 2022 Daytona 24 Hour win.

Fighting into the evening, the team suffered yet another blow just after midnight on lap 291, when a starter issue froze the McLaren in the pits, forcing the team back to the garage for another 38-minute repair – putting them 43 laps down from the lead.

With victory seeming out of sight, Pfaff remained in the points hunt for their full-season championship fight, setting impressive lap times throughout the late hours and into the early morning, until at 8:40 am ET on lap 532, the McLaren suffered a powertrain failure that forced the team to retire from the race with just 5 hours remaining.

Steve Bortolotti (general manager): “This was definitely one of the toughest 24 Hours we’ve had here at Daytona. We knew coming in that we would have our work cut out for us, given that we ran the car for the first time here last week at the ROAR [preseason test], but despite that, Ollie [Jarvis] and the team showed what this McLaren is capable of in race conditions.

“The team gave it everything and I couldn’t be more proud of what they were able to do despite everything that was thrown at them, so a major kudos to everyone for laying it all on the table to give us a chance to fight for the points. We’ll have a major post-op and address these issues to come back stronger and harder at Sebring.”

Oliver Jarvis (driver): “From the start of the race, the car felt good. It’s impressively quick, so we were optimistic from the start that we could be fighting for the win. Unfortunately, there were just too many issues to overcome, but the team did an amazing job keeping us in for as long as they did, so we look forward to Sebring and getting back into it there.”

Marvin Kirchöffer (driver): “It was a difficult race, no doubt. But as the first race with this new team and a brand-new car, we showed a lot of promise for what’s ahead. I can’t wait to get back to Sebring to show what we’re capable of.”

James Hinchcliffe (driver): “This one stings for sure. The car was so quick, and it was easy to get excited for what was unfolding for the 24 hours. Unfortunately for the guys and girls, this just wasn’t our race, but it was a massive effort from everyone to give us a chance and put some positive laps into the car. I’m looking forward to getting back with everyone and seeing what we can do at Sebring, because while it was a tough race, there have been a lot of positives to take from this one.”

Alexander Rossi (driver): “We definitely had our hands full here [at Daytona], but throughout the last two weeks, this team has shown time and time again why they are champions and a threat no matter what is thrown at them. Coming in as a driver to a new team with a new car in the biggest race of the season, all I can say is their efforts are inspirational. I can’t thank them enough for making this an easy transition, and I’m excited to see what the future has in store.”

Pfaff Motorsports’ competition résumé includes historic victories and championships across multiple series. Since joining the top-tier IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2019, the team has won the prestigious 24 Hours of Daytona and twice at the 12 Hours of Sebring, in addition to being crowned the 2022 WeatherTech Championship GTD Pro class and 2021 GTD class champions. It has also won the 2018 GT World Challenge America championship and is a three-time Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada champion. For more information, please visit www.pfaffmotorsports.com.

Pfaff Motorsports Contact: Jordan Lenssen // [email protected]

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