AO Racing Relishes in Character-Building IMSA WeatherTech Debut

DAYTONA, Fla., (January 31, 2023) – The longest and possibly the most challenging race on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship concluded on Sunday afternoon, and new sports car racing team AO Racing took great pride in facing adversity to finish the Rolex 24 At Daytona. In some ways, the team faced a stacked deck with challenging regulations, but also, the normal demands of the endurance race came into play, giving the team quite the dose of adversity in their series debut.

It became apparent early into the Daytona festivities that the seven Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars competing in the event would be at a disadvantage based on series technical regulations (Balance of Performance-BOP). The Porsche teams accepted their fates, aiming to race clean and finish the event, which can be its own challenge, to maximize results.

Competing in the 23 car-deep GTD class, AO Racing started the 24-hour race from 19th place on Saturday. After early contact, the team was on the back foot, working with a car that had a certain level of damage that could not be diagnosed during the race. Already running three seconds slower than the competing manufacturers due to the technical restrictions, the team knew that the goal would be to finish the iconic race and yield as many points as possible with a positive result.

Drivers PJ Hyett, Gunnar Jeannette, Sebastian Priaulx, and Harry Tincknell proudly raced the No. 80 Porsche 911 GT3 R, a modern race car that wore a livery inspired by the Porsche 935 that won the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 1983. However, the ghost of 40 years before brought no luck to the team. Throughout the 24-hour race, the AO Racing program went through four bumper covers, two splitters, one fender, and one wing plate.

Despite the setbacks, the operation outlasted many veteran sports car racing teams, steering clear of any catastrophic crashes or damage that would have required extended time in the pits for repair or even early race retirement. With 61 cars in five classes all competing within the same race, the GTD class competitors constantly maneuvered out of the way of the four faster categories, racing through the day and night to be there in the end on Sunday afternoon. In the end, the team finished 14th in class, and third amongst the GTD class Porsches.

Round two of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will take place March 15-18 at Sebring International Raceway, near Orlando, Florida. The second of four endurance rounds on the IMSA calendar will run for twelve hours in a race known by all die-hard race fans as the Twelve Hours of Sebring. Hyett and Priaulx are slated to run the whole 2023 season together, with Jeannette racing alongside them in the endurance rounds. The Twelve Hours of Sebring is a fan-favorite, known for its notoriously bumpy and demanding road course surface. For more information, visit

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