Roger Penske has only found Victory Lane once in the twice-around-the-clock battle at Daytona International Speedway, and that happened in 1969 courtesy of Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons in a Lola T70 that was powered by Chevrolet.
However, Porsche has been a force in the endurance classic, capturing a record 19 wins as a constructor, along with four additional wins solely as an engine supplier.
For a second consecutive year, the pair go into IMSA’s season-opener merged as Porsche Penske Motorsport, with the German manufacturer seeking its 20th win as a factory outfit.
Meanwhile, in the IndyCar Series, Penske is also set to chase a record-extending 20th victory in the Indianapolis 500 this upcoming May.
Josef Newgarden’s last-lap pass on Marcus Ericsson secured a 19th win in ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ last season, which was also Penske’s first since purchasing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series in November 2019.
Penske, 86, shared his thoughts with Motorsport.com on the unique numerology that beckons.
“Wow, I think that is a great stat, and maybe that’s one we got to complete,” Penske said.
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Roger Penske. Team owner Penske Motorsport
“Those are the things we like about that. I mean, you get to these numbers, and they make a big difference. And I think that 20th for Porsche, 20th for our victory, terrific.”
And among the stout roster on hand for PPM is Newgarden, who is competing in the GTP category for only the second time ever (Petit Le Mans, 2023), piloting the No. 7 Porsche 963 alongside Felipe Nasr, Dane Cameron and Matt Campbell.
And considering Newgarden has got on well in the LMDh machine, showing competent pace throughout and was among the quickest in the final sector of Thursday night’s practice around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course, the prospects of replicating a special performance like he did on 28 May 2023, could be on the horizon.
“Well, I think that’s key,” Penske said. “I mean, there’s a number (11) of IndyCar drivers in the Rolex, which is terrific.
“Obviously, we’ve worked hard to get Josef a seat in the car for the practice and testing because this is not just jump in the car and race anymore; it’s flat out. I think he’s got a great chance. He did a great job the other night when he spent time behind the wheel at night and we’re excited. Look, he can help bring this victory home and I hope we can.”
Each of the last four years has seen a full-time IndyCar Series driver find glory in Daytona.
Sharing his thoughts on the prospect of the looming milestones, Newgarden told Motorsport.com: “It’s fun timing.
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#7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963: Dane Cameron, Felipe Nasr, Matt Campbell, Josef Newgarden
“There’s no doubt that would be pretty magical to pull off. There are no guarantees, but I think everybody’s as motivated as they can be to make the most of this coming year.
“Roger is just as focused as ever and excited to be in Daytona. The main thing for us is trying to give ourselves a chance. Every time we show up to the track, we got to give ourselves an opportunity and then if we’re in the right place at the right time, we’re going to try and capitalize on it.
“All I see is tremendous opportunity in front of us, like always. And with Roger, I feel confident we can get there.”