Proton Competition’s Mustang Sampling Porsche 963 successfully started its 2024 campaign with a debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team’s #5 hybrid prototype spent most of the race on course for a podium finish, ultimately taking the checkered flag after 24 hours and 791 laps placing fifth overall.
During the 62nd running of the world-famous endurance classic in the Sunshine State, 59 cars went in search of the most prestigious victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The Mustang Sampling Porsche 963 of Christian and Michael Ried’s was forced to start from the back of the GTP field after missing qualifying following a crash that occurred just before the session. Despite the small setback, Gianmaria Bruni (ITA), Neel Jani (SUI), Alessio Picariello (BEL) and Romain Dumas (FRA) made up positions in the first hours of racing and were on course for the podium for the first time in the night in third place.
The historic 24 hour race remained exciting from start to finish. Consistently fast laps kept the Mustang Sampling Porsche 963 in contention and enabled the team to take best-placed customer car accolades with an overall fifth place finish. A strong start to the season for Proton Competition in the USA.
Voices after the race
Michael Ried, Team Manager and Technical Director Proton Competition: “It’s not just the winners who can be proud at Daytona. We presented ourselves excellently against very strong competitors. The performance of our drivers was just as impressive as that of our pit crew, who completed all 32 stops of our 963 perfectly and kept us in the fight for the lead until the end.”
Christian Ried, team owner Proton Competition: “This start to the season gives the entire team a lot of confidence. Certainly not many people expected us to fight for a podium at the first Daytona outing of our new 963. A big thank you to everyone who contributed to this strong team performance.”
Gianmaria Bruni (Mustang Sampling Porsche 963 #5): “In the first few hours of racing we had a problem with our belt system, but we were able to fix it during the pit stop. Apart from that, our Porsche 963 ran like clockwork. We weren’t the fastest, but we were able to set very consistent lap times. The lapping traffic was really wild at times. There were some tricky situations, but we got through them without any damage.”
Neel Jani (Mustang Sampling Porsche 963 #5): “That was a strong race. We were able to win back a lost lap in the early hours of the morning, which was important. Although, unlike our competitors, we didn’t test at Daytona in December, the race went better and better for us from then on. We learned more with every passing lap.”
Alessia Picariello (Mustang Sampling Porsche 963 #5): “My first race with the Porsche 963 and that in Daytona – a dream came true for me. We did well in this very strong field.”
Romain Dumas (Mustang Sampling Porsche 963 #5): “It couldn’t be more exciting. It was a strong performance from the entire team for the first race with the Porsche 963 in Daytona.”
The next outing for Proton Competition in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship is the twelve-hour race in Sebring, Florida on March 16th.