Cadillac, BMW and Lamborghini Win at The Rolex 24 at Daytona


TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_race_Sunday_Horseshoe Curve-3
TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_race_Sunday_Horseshoe Curve-3
Mother Nature decided that she wanted to get involved in the outcome of the most important endurance race in North America. For the first time in the races history, the 57th Rolex 24 at Daytona had experienced two red flag sessions due to relentless rainfall that started at around 4:30 am local time and didn’t let up. The cars were lined up in the pits for the final two hours of the race, not going anywhere while under red flag conditions. IMSA officially ending the race at 2:24 pm, 11 minutes before the races was scheduled to end.

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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.

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“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.”

TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_race_hour 21_#25_BMW Team RLL_BMW M8 GTE

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“I’m very, very proud of the job that we achieved today, but it was not a one‑day job, it was a one‑month job,” said Fernando Alonso. “For me in December we started preparing the race and receiving all the documents, how the Cadillac works and how Wayne Taylor Racing, some procedures that maybe are different compared with other teams. We tried to have a quick integration, Kamui and myself, trying to learn as much as we could from the team in the Roar, and then on the race itself, it was very, very difficult. Conditions were changing all the time.”

TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_race_hour 23_cars parked in pit lane

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.

TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_race_hour 21_#31 Whelen Engineering Racing 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.”

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TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_race_Sunday_#38 on front straight with brake lights on
In the GTLM class the team is co-owned by racing legend Bobby Rahal, late night talk show host David Letterman and businessman Michael Lanigan took the class win. Co-drivers Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, Colton Herta and Augusto Farfus took their No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE to the top step of the podium. Second place went to the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina. The final step of the podium went to Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet in their Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_qualifying_#911_Porsche 911 RSR_GTLM pole winner

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.

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“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.”

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IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) is celebrating their 50th anniversary season with an unprecedented lineup of 19 manufacturers participating in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Michelin Pilot Challenge.

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“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.”

TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_ race_busy corner

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.

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TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_ race_#85_Cadillac CPi-VR_#540_Ferris Wheel at night

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.

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  • TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_race_hour 1_ #67_ Ford Chip Ganassi Racing_Ford GT
  • TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_race_hour 6_#7_Acura Team Penske_Acura ARX-D5_DPi-2
  • TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_pre-race_#25_BMW team and car_special technology vehicle for Alex Zanardi
  • TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_race_hour 23_BMW pit radar monitor
  • TrackWorthy - Rolex 24_race_hour 20_#62_Risi Competione_Ferrari 488 GTE

Photographs © Copyright 2019 Gary Maavara

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