For the second time in the past three years, the overall win went to No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R with the start studded driving team of two-time Formula 1 World Champion and 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Fernando Alonso, Jordan Taylor, one of team owner Wayne Taylor’s sons, former Formula 1 driver Kamui Kobayashi and 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar PC Champion Renger Van Der Zande.
“All four drivers led in their own right and drove to the lead, different parts of the race, and it was all about survival,” said Jordan Taylor. “You saw a lot of guys taking a lot of risk early in the race, but we waited with the game plan of running our own race and not getting caught up in anyone else’s battles. I think it was the right game plan. We stayed out of trouble, no car damage, no one went off the track. That’s the way you win these 24‑hour races.”
Second place went to Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran and Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing
Cadillac Dpi. Third place went to the driving team of Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor’s brother and Wayne Taylor’s other son, three-time Indy 500 winer Helio Castroneves and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura Dpi. Canadian drivers, Devlin De Francesco, just 19 years old, and Misha Goikhberg, along with the teammates Tristan Vautier (France) and former Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) finished 5th in their No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac Dpi.
This year’s race was started by 2019 Grand Marshal Scott Pruett, a five-time overall winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. “It’s been a dream come true to be Grand Marshal, I’m really humbled and it’s been a fantastic experience. The racing was incredible tight from the start – it was nose to tail – with a lot of action in all the classes. It is unfortunate that we finished under the red flag, but the conditions were so tough and the right call was made. When you drive in these conditions it’s intense and precision is key because as we’ve seen, if you put a foot wrong, it will catch you out. The race, over the last 24 hours, demanded the highest level of commitment, focus and dedication and the drivers have been inspirational.”
For the second year in a row the GTD win went to the GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 driven by Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart, Rik Breukers and Rolf Ineichen. Lamborghini had never celebrated a 24 hour win until the GRT team won the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 took second place with the driver team of Canadian Daniel Morad, Dries Vanthoor (Belgium), Christopher Mies (Germany) and Ricky Feller (Switzerland). Third place went to the driving team of Townsend Bell, Aaron Telitz, Jeff Segal and Frank Montecalvo in their AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.
“We were actually one lap down when I started the stint,’’ said Christian Engelhart. “So, I managed to overtake the leader so that, when the yellow came out, we got a wave by and rejoined the pack, but we were very, very far behind. At this point, I asked what position we are, and I think we were P8 or P9, something like this, he said on the radio. And after that, I never got any more information. I was just pushing. When the red flag came out, I didn’t know I was first. I was told then that we were first. I thought we were still fighting, and I was giving everything to come to the front, and I didn’t expect that we were already. So quite a surprise, a positive one, of course.”
“As our 50th Anniversary season begins, having a record number of manufacturers in our championships speaks volumes to the global relevance IMSA has confirmed as we look forward to the start of 2019 and beyond,” IMSA CEO Ed Bennett said. “Our strategy of providing dynamic, cost-effective platforms to showcase a wide variety of manufacturer technical specifications is rewarding for all involved, but race fans are the main beneficiary. It’s a fantastic time to be an IMSA fan.”
The participating manufacturers include Acura, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Ferrari, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mazda, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Nissan, Porsche and Volkswagen.
The next race in the twelve race IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series is the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring at the Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida on Saturday March 16, 2019.
Photographs © Copyright 2019 Gary Maavara