RECAP: Wright Motorsports VOLT® Lighting Porsche Has Strong WeatherTech Debut at Rolex 24
DAYTONA, Fla., (January 30, 2023) – After a grueling 24 hours of competition, the Wright Motorsports VOLT® Lighting Porsche closed out the first race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a successful debut at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The No. 77 Porsche 911 GT3 R (type 992) ran a mistake and penalty-free race, driven by 2022 Michelin Pilot Challenge champions Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman, with Max Root and Kevin Estre. The WeatherTech rookies finished the endurance event 11th out of 23 cars, in the largest of the five classes in the Rolex 24.
The team took delivery of the new Porsche in December and quickly began pre-season testing in preparation for the exciting new challenge of competing in the headlining IMSA series. Coming from the two-class, mostly sprint racing series, the step up to WeatherTech required Brynjolfsson and team to prepare for racing against four other classes, and for much longer stints. The new machine showed great speed in private testing and was later subjected to a series of technical adjustments by the sanctioning body in an effort to equalize all the Porsches against its fellow GTD competitors. While the enforced regulations put the German manufacturer’s entries at a disadvantage, the team pressed on, determined to execute strong in the pits and on track, hoping to gain an advantage through their own consistency and the attrition of others.
The bright yellow No. 77 Porsche started the race on Saturday from 16th place, and Brynjolfsson showed his strength behind the wheel at the drop of the green flag. All of his off-season physical and mental preparation paid off, and the bronze-rated driver hit all of his marks, opening the event without a wheel put wrong. Hindman, Root, and Estre were all returning participants and also saw to it that the Porsche ran a clean race, drawing from their previous successes at the event and in the WeatherTech series. Speedy work by the crew in pit lane and expert driving by the four VOLT drivers kept the car clear of calamity and in the race and within 10 laps of the class leaders. Though 14 full-course cautions and 11 retirements, the No. 77 Porsche shone bright, ultimately finishing in 11th, and second of all of the Porsches in the GTD class. The sister Wright Motorsports No. 16 1St Phorm Porsche just ahead in ninth, and the top of the GTD Porsches.
The VOLT Lighting Porsche effort will have their sophomore race at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the second round in the full-season championship and the second of four endurance races on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The race will again feature all five classes, running for 12 hours on the legendary Sebring International Raceway, March 15-18. Wright Motorsports won the event in 2020, then followed their victory with a second-place performance the following season. In 2022, the team secured pole position, further solidifying their success at the Florida circuit. For event information, visit imsa.com.
This was a very different experience for me than my teammates. As a 55 year old gentleman driver, simply competing in my first 24 hours of Daytona is in itself a huge accomplishment for me, and is something I will never forget. Being physically able to drive a triple stint at night for 3 straight hours was in itself a personal achievement I have been training hard for. I had a lot of firsts that I will never forget.
I am very proud of our team, my teammates, co-drivers and the car Porsche has provided. Wright Motorsports finished 1-2 out of the 6 Porsches in GTD showing the true strength of our team against equal competition.
A special call out to my three co-drivers Trent Hindman, Kevin Estre, and Max Root each of whom I could write a full press release on. Each one of them performed flawlessly and I admire as awesome humans from within.
First, I think there’s a massive debt of gratitude owed to our entire Wright Motorsports VOLT team. The Rolex 24 is very tough race to begin with, but considering the situation we were in performance-wise, we knew it was going to be a long day. The fact that everybody performed to a level that could have won this race despite knowing there was no real possibility goes to show who we are as a team.
It was very exciting to see Alan perform so well in his first ever Rolex 24 and WeatherTech Championship outing, Max did a phenomenal job as well, and of course it was great to have Kevin with his exceptional knowledge and experience. Lots of great lessons learned and I look forward to strong performances for the VOLT team at Sebring and beyond.
I’m very proud of the VOLT Racing team for completing their first 24 Hours of Daytona. Alan, Trent, and Kevin did an amazing job keeping the car together and having amazing stints with little to no effort. This was a huge milestone for the Wright Motorsports Volt program, as they continue their GTD debut, rivaling some of the best competition in the world. Lap in and lap out, we were able to do what we needed to do in our car circumstances, and ultimately prove what we’re able to offer this season. I think it’s very exciting to be together as a team for the rest of the North America Endurance Cup and get to pull together all of the high points and things that were out of our control to Sebring where we’ll try for a good result.
It was a tough race as we expected, but the team learned for the first time racing the new Porsche 911 GT3 R. It was the first time for the VOLT group with Alan, Trent, Max, and I working together, learning how to work with the engineers in this championship. This was a good race for them because nobody made a mistake. We had no penalties, no contact, nothing. That was a big positive form this race. We definitely have to work on the car to be better in Sebring so that we can get more performance out of it.