Porsche achieved a dream North American debut for the new 718 GT4 RS Clubsport with a 1-2 finish Friday in the Grand Sport (GS) class of the BMW M Endurance Challenge, the opening round of the 2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season.
Stevan McAleer, in the No. 28 RS1 Porsche, stalked Owen Trinkler’s identical No. 64 Team TGM Porsche for several laps as the final 30 minutes of the four-hour race unfolded, finally edging past in the famous tri-oval section of Daytona International Speedway with just under 13 minutes remaining.
From there, McAleer eased the Porsche he shared with Cocoa, Florida, native Eric Filgueiras to a 4.631-second margin of victory over the No. 64 car co-driven by Ted Giovanis.
It was the 10th Michelin Pilot Challenge victory for McAleer, a 37-year-old Scotsman, and the first for Filgueiras in his first IMSA race of any kind. It was also Porsche’s first win in any form of IMSA competition at Daytona since 2018, also delivered by RS1 in the Michelin Pilot Challenge.
“I grew up about an hour south from here, came to this race all my life, and always said I was going to be in it one day,” Filgueiras exclaimed. “This is my first IMSA race and my first IMSA win, and I’m just so glad to be here. I don’t know how to describe what this means to me.
“Stevan McAleer is an absolute hero, and that’s why we hired him,” Filgueiras added. “He took his time, he was persistent and he was patient. You could see that (executing the winning pass) took time. He kept asking how much time was left, and you could see he made a couple attempts that didn’t quite work as he tried to feel things out. This was an absolute team effort.”
McAleer said he encountered a gearbox glitch about 30 minutes into his stint that required him to recycle the Porsche’s electronics. After that, the car was flawless and fast – albeit, no longer in the lead.
“It was frustrating watching cars passing me left, right and center,” McAleer said of the moments when he slowed and had to reboot the car. “We had a little bit of work to do, but the car was utterly fantastic. It shows how good the new Cayman GT4 platform is because so many teams have moved forward with this car.”
The final restart came with McAleer running sixth, but he was confident in working his way to the front. He harbored a bit of worry about Trinkler in the leading Porsche.
“I wanted to play the game smart and certainly not take two Porsches out at the end of the race,” McAleer said. “Credit to him because we touched fenders a few times.”
Gary Ferrera and Kris Wilson, in the No. 11 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, won the Bronze Cup awarded to the top-finishing entry with an all-Bronze rated driver lineup. The No. 11 finished 11th overall.
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