Daytona24: BMW Motorsport race report
BMW Motorsport congratulates Chip Ganassi Racing on Daytona win
Munich, 1st February 2011. The team of "Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates" has achieved a remarkable one-two victory at the 49th edition of the prestigious Daytona 24 Hours with two BMW Riley Daytona Prototypes. Joey Hand (US), Scott Pruett (US), Graham Rahal (US) and Memo Rojas (MX) crossed the finish line after 720 laps of the "Daytona International Speedway" with a 2.46 second lead over the sister car, driven by Scott Dixon (AU), Juan Pablo Montoya (CO), Dario Franchitti (GB) and Jamie McMurray (US).
The victorious BMW Riley Daytona Prototype was powered by a Dinan Motorsport BMW 5.0-litre V8 engine, while BMW of North America and BMW Motorsport supported Chip Ganassi's (US) team.
"Congratulations to Chip Ganassi's team on this huge success," says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "It is fantastic to see BMW on top of the podium at the second important 24-hour race of the year, following the success in Dubai. The outstanding team performance in Daytona was rewarded with the first BMW victory at this race since 1976."
The key to success for car number 01 was a quick pit stop around one hour before the end of the race, when Pruett was the only driver in the leading group to come into the pits for fuel during a yellow phase. The extremely short time spent in the pits during the final round of pit stops took the BMW Riley past its team-mates and into the lead. Hand, who is racing for BMW Team Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) in the 2011 American Le Mans Series with the BMW M3 GT2, had previously completed a fantastic comeback following a 30-second time penalty. Team owner Ganassi paid respect to his team's performance. "I don't drive the cars, I don't change the tires and I don't work on the engines," he said. "There are lots of people, lots of great competitors, who make up this team."
BMW last won in Daytona in 1976. Back then, Peter Gregg (US), Brian Redman (GB) and John Fitzpatrick (GB) crossed the finish line as winners in a BMW 3.0 CSL.
The Daytona 24 Hours were the curtain-raiser of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, in which "Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates" won the drivers' and team titles in the DP class as well the manufacturers' crown for BMW in 2010.
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