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Rolex 24: Wayne Taylor Acura wins, heartbreak for Ganassi

Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor, Alexander Rossi and Helio Castroneves delivered Wayne Taylor Racing a fourth Rolex 24 at Daytona win in five years, after the pursuing Ganassi Cadillac blew a tire with seven minutes to go.

The Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 won by just 4.7sec, beating Action Express Racing’s #48 Cadillac which passed Harry Tincknell’s Mazda with four minutes to go.

That said, Mazda performed a miracle to come from three laps down to score a podium finish, but Chip Ganassi Racing was on the flipside of fortune, suffering heartbreak as it picked up a right-rear puncture while Renger van der Zande had the leader in his sights.

In LMP2, Era Motorsport beat Tower Motorsport by Starworks, Corvette Racing scored a 1-2 in GT Le Mans – its first Rolex 24 win since 2016 – while Riley Motorsports took LMP3 honors by three laps, and HTP Winward Racing and SunEnergy1 scored a GT Daytona 1-2 for Mercedes.

The final 3 hours

The 22nd hour started dramatically for the #48 Action Express Racing Ally-sponsored Cadillac DPi-V.R which had been running second in Mike Rockenfeller’s hands. Just before he was due for a scheduled pitstop, Rocky suffered a puncture, enforcing a slow in-lap. He handed off to Kamui Kobayashi, but the Japanese driver now had only a nine second margin over the charging Scott Dixon in the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac.

Ricky Taylor, meanwhile took over the leading Wayne Taylor Racing Acura from Filipe Albuquerque and kept a dozen second lead at first. In fourth, Dane Cameron had fallen 10sec behind Dixon at the start of the stint.

Then with 2hr25min to go, with Taylor’s lead over Kobayashi down to 8sec and Dixon less than seven seconds behind that, the Ganassi Cadillac suffered a right-rear puncture. Dixon, being a master of self restraint, cruised gently back to the pits without causing the flapping tire to wreck the rear bodywork or fall off the rim. He emerged from the pits down in fifth, and then stopped again under the yellow – along with all the other Prototypes – to fit the other three fresh tires and to be replaced in the cockpit by Renger van der Zande.

Meyer Shank Racing did the best job in pitlane, boosting Dane Cameron to the front ahead of the other Acura of Taylor, while Mazda Motorsports had jumped Jarvis ahead of Kobayashi’s Cadillac.

At the restart with 2hr08mins to go, Taylor dived down the inside of Cameron at the Bus Stop chicane, and Jarvis and Kobayashi followed him through half a lap later. The Acura, Mazda and Cadillac kept pulling away from Cameron – and covered only by 1.5sec – when the 12th caution flew for debris on the track.

The next restart saw the first three maintain position but van der Zande moved the Ganassi Cadillac past Cameron’s MSR Acura into fourth. By the next stops, Taylor had pulled 3.8sec over Jarvis. They were replaced by their teammates, Filipe Albuquerque and Harry Tincknell respectively.

Ganassi did a fantastic job to get van der Zande out ahead of both Tincknell and Kobayashi, and put him onto the tail of Albuquerque, although the WTR Acura started pulling away, and a charging Tincknell started applying the pressure to the Ganassi Cadillac, while dropping the Ally AXR Cadillac. With 80mins to go, Tincknell duly snagged second and started trying to close the 3sec deficit to Albuquerque.

With an hour to go, the WTR Acura’s lead remained intact and they pitted together with 55mins to go. They emerged with 5sec between them, but both had been jumped by the earlier stopping Cadillacs of van der Zande and Kobayashi. The Japanese driver was filling the mirrors of the Ganassi driver with 40mins to go, the pair of them 4.5sec ahead of Albuquerque who was just about maintaining his 5sec margin over Tincknell.

Van der Zande and Kobayashi made their final stops with 33mins to go, taking on four new tires etc, but Albuquerque only took on two new tires when he and Tincknell made their final stops next time by.

The extra heat in his one-lap-old tires allowed van der Zande to dive past Tincknell for second but he was still five seconds behind leader Albuquerque. However, with 15mins to go, he had shaved the WTR Acura’s lead down to near-nothing, and Albuquerque was having to take some defensive lines into the tighter corners. Then with six minutes to go, another right-rear puncture sent van der Zande limping to the pits, eventually to emerge in fifth.

Kobayashi had gained a second wind in the final stint and passed Tincknell for second place, and while the Mazda driver fought back, he came up 1.8sec short. Nonetheless, from three laps down, it had been a remarkable performance by the RT24-P drivers. Meyer Shank Racing’s Juan Pablo Montoya came home 50sec further adrift.

LMP2 suddenly became very interesting with 2.5 hours to go, Ryan Dalziel’s Era Motorsport entry holding just a 5sec margin over Matthieu Vaxiviere in the Tower Motorsport car. This pair ran three laps ahead of DragonSpeed’s Eric Lux.

Vaxiviere was presented with an ideal chance to close on Dalziel with the Dixon-caused full-course caution. However, Dalziel kept his cool and pulled away to 5sec margin in the dozen minutes between the end of the 11th caution and start of the 12th.

However, at the next restart, Dalziel pitted, allowing Vaxiviere into the class lead – but Vaxiviere was handed a drive-through penalty for jumping the restart, which halved Era Motorsport’s deficit to 45sec.

Dalziel went back into the lead when Vaxiviere stopped with 1h24m to go and handed over to Gabriel Aubry, but then Aubry regained preeminence when Dalziel handed the Era car to Paul-Loup Chatin. Then a last gasp splash of fuel for Aubry allowed Chatin to move into the lead and win the class by 19.5sec.

Riley Motorsports dominated LMP3 in the end, Spencer Pigot driving to the checkered flag three laps ahead of Joao Barbosa in the Sean Creech Motorsport car, while Muehlner Motorsports collected third, a further four laps adrift.

Following the GT Le Mans pitstops with three hours to go, Nicky Catsburg’s lead over Corvette Racing C8.R teammate Alexander Sims had extended to 13sec, and Sims’ margin over Marco Wittmann’s #24 BMW M8 had reduced to 12sec. James Calado remained a minute off the class lead in the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488.

However, the pitstops under caution saw Catsburg struggling to get the #3 Corvette moving, handing the class lead to Sims, and dopping to fourth behind Alessandro Pier Guidi in the Risi 488 and Augusto Farfus who’d taken over the #24 BMW.

Catsburg’s day went from bad to worse as the car was assisted while outside its pitbox and thus he served a drive-through penalty, while Farfus passed Pier Guidi for second.

The 12th caution, caused by AF Corse’s Daniel Serra dragging debris onto the track, allowed Catsburg to close back up to the top three, but still not within striking distance of the Risi Ferrari.

At the restart, Farfus made his move and edged ahead of Sims and into the lead, but the Corvette driver wouldn’t let him go and slipped past into the lead at Turn 3, while Catsburg had also moved up to third ahead of Pier Guidi.

The penultimate pitstops saw Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner replace Catsburg and Sims respectively, Taylor getting the #3 in front by stopping earlier and getting on fresh tires earlier. However, both of them emerged behind Farfus in the #24 BMW.

The C8.R drafted around the outside of the M8 along the pitstraight with 68mins to go and Taylor took the lead but Farfus remained within a second going into the final hour, the pair of them 6sec ahead of Milner who was 38sec up on the Risi Ferrari.

Milner had a far shorter final stop than Taylor and Farfus and moved the #4 car marginally ahead of its sister car, but the pair were battling for second – behind the off-sequence Ferrari – with less than 40mins to go. Taylor got ahead six minutes later but couldn’t escape.

With 20mins to go, Pier Guidi made his final stop and emerged in fourth, leaving Taylor with a 1.5sec lead over Milner who in turn had nine seconds over Farfus.

The GT Daytona battle with three hours to go had distilled into a Mercedes-AMG GT3 fight between Maro Engel of Winward Racing and Luca Stolz in the SunEnergy1 machine, with Engel edging away.

Behind them, the battle between Klaus Bachler in the Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R and Bryan Sellers in the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan was equally intriguing but 50sec adrift of the leaders.

Following the 11th caution with little more than two hours to go, Raffaele Marciello briefly jumped the SunEnergy1 Mercedes ahead of Engel, but the Winward Racing machine didn’t take long to reestablish itself in front, while behind them Bachler’s Wright Porsche and Andrea Caldarelli now in the PMR Lambo continued their battle for third.

The briefer 12th caution period gave Caldarelli a change to close up, and once he got ahead of Bachler, the Huracan pulled away rapidly.

The next round of stops saw Marciello emerge behind Caldarelli but the Mercedes got back in front although both had to survive trips through the grass at the Bus Stop, which allowed the Wright Porsche, now driven by Jan Heylen, to close in.

Going into the final hour, Engel’s margin over Marciello was 2.5sec, with Caldarelli six seconds back and Heylen another four seconds in arrears. Then Marciello and Heylen stopped with 52mins to go. Ross Gunn in the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage also stopped at the same time, and having stopped far more recently off-sequence, he was stopped for a shorter amount of time and emerged within 10sec of the Wright Porsche.

However, Winward Racing got Engel out swiftly when he made his final stop, and he commenced the 48min run to the flag with a 10sec lead over the similar SunEnergy1 car of Marciello.

He in turn had 7sec over Caldarelli who now only had two seconds in hand over Heylen, but over the final stint these four separated again, and Engel won the class by 16.3sec over Marciello, with Caldarelli third, 10sec ahead of the Wright Porsche.

Race results:

Cla Class Num Driver Chassis Laps Gap
1 DPi 10 United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United States Alexander Rossi
Brazil Helio Castroneves
Acura DPi 807
2 DPi 48 United States Jimmie Johnson
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
France Simon Pagenaud
Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Cadillac DPi 807 4.704
3 DPi 55 United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
United States Jonathan Bomarito
Mazda DPi 807 6.562
4 DPi 60 United States Dane Cameron
France Olivier Pla
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
United States A.J. Allmendinger
Acura DPi 807 54.418
5 DPi 01 Netherlands Renger van der Zande
Denmark Kevin Magnussen
New Zealand Scott Dixon
Cadillac DPi 807 1'07.744
6 LMP2 18 United States Dwight Merriman
United Kingdom Kyle Tilley
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
France Paul-Loup Chatin
ORECA LMP2 07 787 20 Laps
7 LMP2 8 Canada John Farano
France Gabriel Aubry
France Timothé Buret
France Matthieu Vaxiviere
ORECA LMP2 07 787 20 Laps
8 DPi 31 Brazil Felipe Nasr
United Kingdom Mike Conway
Brazil Pipo Derani
United States Chase Elliott
Cadillac DPi 783 24 Laps
9 LMP2 82 United States Eric Lux
Canada Devlin DeFrancesco
Germany Fabian Schiller
Germany Christopher Mies
ORECA LMP2 07 783 24 Laps
10 LMP2 51 United States Cody Ware
Turkey Salih Yoluc
United States Austin Dillon
Germany Sven Muller
Ligier LMP2 778 29 Laps
11 GTLM 3 Spain Antonio Garcia
United States Jordan Taylor
Netherlands Nick Catsburg
Corvette C8.R 770 37 Laps
12 GTLM 4 United States Tommy Milner
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
United Kingdom Alexander Sims
Corvette C8.R 770 37 Laps
13 GTLM 24 United States John Edwards
Finland Jesse Krohn
Brazil Augusto Farfus
Germany Marco Wittmann
BMW M8 GTE 769 38 Laps
14 GTLM 62 United Kingdom James Calado
Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
France Jules Gounon
Italy Davide Rigon
Ferrari 488 GTE 769 38 Laps
15 GTLM 25 United States Connor de Phillippi
Austria Philipp Eng
Germany Timo Glock
Canada Bruno Spengler
BMW M8 GTE 768 39 Laps
16 LMP2 11 United States Thomas Steven
United States Tristan Nunez
United States Thomas Merrill
United Kingdom Matthew Bell
ORECA LMP2 07 764 43 Laps
17 GTLM 79 United States Cooper MacNeil
France Kevin Estre
Austria Richard Lietz
Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 760 47 Laps
18 LMP3 74 United States Gar Robinson
United States Spencer Pigot
Australia Scott Andrews
United States Oliver Askew
Ligier JS P320 757 50 Laps
19 LMP3 33 United States Lance Willsey
Portugal Joao Barbosa
United Kingdom Wayne Boyd
France Yann Clairay
Ligier JS P320 754 53 Laps
20 LMP3 6 Germany Moritz Kranz
Germany Hoerr Laurents
United States Kenton Koch
United Kingdom Stevan McAleer
Duqueine D08 750 57 Laps
21 LMP3 91 United States Jim Cox
United States Dylan Murry
United States Austin McCusker
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
Ligier JS P320 746 61 Laps
22 GTD 57 United States Russell Ward
United Kingdom Philip Ellis
Netherlands Indy Dontje
Germany Maro Engel
Mercedes-AMG GT3 745 62 Laps
23 GTD 75 Australia Kenny Habul
Italy Raffaele Marciello
Canada Mikael Grenier
Germany Luca Stolz
Mercedes-AMG GT3 745 62 Laps
24 GTD 1 United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
United States Corey Lewis
Italy Andrea Caldarelli
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 745 62 Laps
25 GTD 16 United States Trent Hindman
United States Patrick Long
Belgium Jan Heylen
Austria Klaus Bachler
Porsche 911 GT3 R 745 62 Laps
26 GTD 23 United Kingdom Ian James
Canada Roman De Angelis
United Kingdom Darren Turner
United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 745 62 Laps
27 GTD 96 United States Bill Auberlen
United States Robby Foley
Australia Aidan Read
United States Colton Herta
BMW M6 GT3 744 63 Laps
28 GTD 97 United States Maxwell Root
Ireland Charles Eastwood
United States Ben Keating
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 744 63 Laps
29 GTD 21 France Simon Mann
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Brazil Daniel Serra
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Ferrari 488 GT3 743 64 Laps
30 GTD 28 Canada Daniel Morad
United States Michael de Quesada
United States Billy Johnson
Germany Maximilian Buhk
Mercedes-AMG GT3 741 66 Laps
31 LMP3 54 United States Jon Bennett
United States George Kurtz
United States Colin Braun
United States Matt McMurry
Ligier JS P320 737 70 Laps
32 GTD 88 United States Rob Ferriol
New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
Denmark Christina Nielsen
Porsche 911 GT3 R 737 70 Laps
33 GTD 44 United States John Potter
United States Andy Lally
United States Spencer Pumpelly
Germany Mario Farnbacher
Acura NSX GT3 736 71 Laps
34 DPi 5 France Tristan Vautier
France Loic Duval
France Sébastien Bourdais
Cadillac DPi 723 84 Laps
35 LMP2 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Antonio Fuoco
Italy Andrea Belicchi
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Dallara LMP2 710 97 Laps
36 GTD 9 Canada Zacharie Robichon
Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
Germany Lars Kern
Australia Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 GT3 R 702 105 Laps
37 LMP3 38 Sweden Rasmus Lindh
Canada Cameron Cassels
Guatemala Mateo Llarena
United States Ayrton Ori
Ligier JS P320 687 120 Laps
38 GTD 12 United States Robert Megennis
United States Zach Veach
United States Townsend Bell
United States Frankie Montecalvo
Lexus RC F GT3 681 126 Laps
39 GTD 63 United Arab Emirates Ed Jones
United States Bret Curtis
Australia Ryan Briscoe
Brazil Marcos Gomes
Ferrari 488 GT3 676 131 Laps
40 GTD 42 United States Alan Metni
United States Andrew Davis
United States J.R. Hildebrand
United States Don Yount
Audi R8 LMS GT3 665 142 Laps
41 LMP2 52 United States Ben Keating
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
United States Scott Huffaker
France Nicolas Lapierre
ORECA LMP2 07 664 143 Laps
42 GTD 14 United States Aaron Telitz
United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
United States Kyle Kirkwood
United Kingdom Jack Hawksworth
Lexus RC F GT3 641 166 Laps
43 GTD 64 United States Ted Giovanis
United States Owen Trinkler
United States Hugh Plumb
United States Matt Plumb
Porsche 911 GT3 R 515 292 Laps
44 LMP3 7 United States Mark Kvamme
United States Ryan Norman
Colombia Gabby Chaves
United States Charles Finelli
Duqueine D08 413 394 Laps
45 GTD 111 Switzerland Rolf Ineichen
Italy Mirko Bortolotti
Netherlands Steijn Schothorst
Italy Marco Mapelli
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 347 460 Laps
46 GTD 19 Canada Mikhail Goikhberg
France Franck Perera
Spain Albert Costa
Germany Tim Zimmermann
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 195 612 Laps
47 LMP2 29 Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
Netherlands Job Van Uitert
France Charles Milesi
ORECA LMP2 07 64 743 Laps
48 LMP2 20 Denmark Dennis Andersen
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Poland Robert Kubica
ORECA LMP2 07 56 751 Laps
49 LMP2 81 United States Rob Hodes
Canada Garett Grist
Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout
United Kingdom Ben Hanley
ORECA LMP2 07 53 754 Laps
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Series IMSA
Event Daytona 24
Author David Malsher-Lopez
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