Last week we kicked off our TUDOR United SportsCar Championship™ series with the sizzling 60s, which centered around the bitter Ford vs. Ferrari competition that helped elevate the two Florida races to international prestige.
This week, we’re following the history books into the 70s and the debut of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) GT Series, better known as the decade dominated by Porsches.
The Decade Dominated by Porsches
The 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona was the debut of the Porsche 911 GT America, the latest edition in a legacy dating back to 1973, when Hurley Haywood and Peter Gregg drove a Porsche 911 RSR to victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.
The victory at Daytona was the first international triumph for a 911-based Porsche, beginning a long and extremely successful legacy that is still prevalent today.
The models changed over the years from 917K to the production-based 911 RSR to the turbocharged 935, but Porsche remained the common denominator for winning cars in the endurance classics at Daytona International Speedway and Sebring.
FUN FACT: From 1970 through 1984, the 917s and models inspired by the 911 accounted for 21 of the 26 overall victories in the two Florida classics.
According to IMSA.com, “Five prototypes dominated the field for the 1973 Rolex 24, but it was a pair of Porsche 911 RSRs that dominated the race. Gregg and Haywood took the overall checkered flag for Brumos Racing when a similar RSR fielded by Penske Racing had a mechanical problem. Haywood and Gregg backed up their victory at Sebring, in a different RSR fielded and co-driven by Dr. Dave Helmick.”
However, in 1974 both races were skipped due to the international fuel crisis causing chaos. BMW showed up out of nowhere and briefly took the limelight at Sebring in 1975, and Daytona in 1976. Porsches then returned to dominate both classics for the remainder of the decade.
In 1978, the 935s put on a clinic winning for five straight years! And the year prior, the Sebring race saw Porsches’ sweep the top 10 positions. Not only were they unstoppable, but untouchable.
Do All Good Things Come to an End?
Majority would say yes, but the correct answer is no! Porsche's dominance didn't end with the close of the decade, ladies and gents.
According to IMSA.com, “Variations of the 935 won at Daytona through 1983 and at Sebring through 1984 (including a 934 in 1983). Mauricio DeNarvaez's victory at Sebring in 1984 was not the end of Porsche's domination – it was merely a changing of the guard”.
See How History Helped Form the Lone Star Le Mans at COTA
Now you know the history of the sport, see the Lone Star Le Mans for yourself! Between the world’s hottest racecars, drivers and the award-winning grand prix circuit, how could it not be the event of the year and YOU can be there with Official Ticket Packages!
Though Circuit of The Americas Experiences you will be a part of the ultimate racing weekend, complete with a dual ticket access the Paddock Building and its amazing views, VIP experiences, racing legend meet-and-greet with Townsend Bell, arranged ground transportation, and hotel accommodations.
There is no better way to experience United SportsCar! Pack your bags and your need for speed because you’re about to embark on a one-of-a-kind racing experience!