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ROLEX 24 at Daytona

 


 

Nasr Delivers Momentous Rolex 24 Victory for Penske, Porsche

No. 7 Porsche 963 Holds off the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac in Thrilling Finish 


 

January 28, 2024

By Mark Robinson

IMSA Wire Service

Rolex 24 At Daytona Unofficial Race Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Felipe Nasr delivered the first Rolex 24 At Daytona overall win for team owner Roger Penske in 55 years and the first for Porsche in 14 years, in an exciting conclusion Sunday to the iconic endurance sports car race.


 

Driving the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 that he shared with co-drivers Dane Cameron, Matt Campbell and reigning Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden, Nasr crossed the finish line 2.112 seconds ahead of the No. 31 No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R driven by Tom Blomqvist, who was aiming to become just the second driver in Rolex 24 history to be an overall winner three straight years.


 

Nasr took the lead for the final time when the No. 7 Porsche crew gave him a quicker pit stop than the No. 31 Cadillac crew could manage for Blomqvist under a full-course caution with 43 minutes remaining. Blomqvist hounded Nasr for the last half-hour but could never get close enough to attempt a pass for the lead.


 

Team owner Penske’s last win at the Rolex 24 came in 1969 when Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons drove a Lola T-70/Chevrolet to victory. A Penske entry also claimed a class win in 1966. Porsche’s last overall win came in 2010, when the Action Express Racing Riley-Porsche driven by Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Ryan Dalziel and Mike Rockenfeller triumphed. Ironically, Action Express also entered the No. 31 Cadillac that finished second on Sunday.


 

Blomqvist, who won in 2022 and ’23 with Meyer Shank Racing, finished second overall and in the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with Action Express co-drivers Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken. Blomqvist will drive full-time this year for Meyer Shank in the IndyCar Series and the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac.


 

The No. 18 Era Motorsport took the victory in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class with co-drivers Dalziel, Dwight Merriman, Christian Rasmussen and Connor Zilisch. The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 claimed victory in the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class with drivers Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado. Winward Racing’s No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT3 was victorious in the Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class, the car shared by Russell Ward, Philip Ellis, Indy Dontje and Daniel Morad.


 

The next WeatherTech Championship race is the 72nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 16 at Sebring International Raceway.

 


 

Risi Rejoices with Commanding Rolex 24 GTD PRO Victory

Winward Racing Takes GTD Honors for Second Time in Four Years


 

January 28, 2024

By Jeff Olson

IMSA Wire Service

Rolex 24 At Daytona Unofficial Race Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – At last, Risi Competizione has some fine timepieces.


 

A successful competitor in sports car racing since 1998, Giuseppe Risi’s Houston-based team has claimed multiple class victories over the years at Le Mans, Sebring and Petit Le Mans. But until Sunday, it had not celebrated victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.


 

Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado teamed to drive the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 from a fifth-place start in the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class to victory by a lap over the No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (992).


 

Among the spoils for the veteran Risi foursome are the customary Rolex watches awarded to class winners at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opener.


 

“This is the race that I was missing, that I really wanted to win,” said Serra, who drove the final stint. “Today is one of the happiest days of my racing career.”


 

Laurin Heinrich, Seb Priaulx and Michael Christensen brought the pole-winning AO Porsche home in second place, with the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 finishing third with co-drivers Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, Neil Verhagen and Sheldon van der Linde.


 

The dominance of the No. 62 Ferrari, which survived a fire in the pits in the first six hours of the race, was on display in the closing stages of the race. The car led the last 82 laps, 130 of the final 136 and 215 overall in the race.


 

“It’s never easy, you know?” Serra said. “You start to hear some noises in the car and you think that everything is out of control in the last few laps.”


 

The race tested the mettle of the GTD PRO cars and drivers almost from the start. Just minutes into the race, the 2023 GTD PRO champion was involved in a crash that relegated it to an 11th-place finish. Mike Conway was piloting the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 when Dennis Andersen’s Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) entry spun in front of him at the exit of Turn 1.


 

With just under two hours remaining in the race, the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW stopped for a brake change while running second behind the No. 62 Ferrari. The brake issues returned shortly after van der Linde returned to the track, and the No. 77 AO Racing Porsche moved into second in class.


 

In the end, the win and the Rolexes went to Risi Competizione, which started to show the strength of the Ferrari 296 GT3 in its debut last season. It was the first Rolex 24 win for Serra, Rigon and Calado, while Pier Guidi picked up his second watch following a Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) victory in a Level 5 Ferrari 10 years ago.


 

“Giuseppe deserves it,” Calado said of the team owner. “He’s wanted it for a long time. I’m happy for him, and I’m happy for us. It’s a great way to start the year and puts us in good stead for the rest of the year.”


 

Winward Racing Drives through Large GTD Field to Win

You’ll forgive Daniel Morad if he was a bit emotional at the end of the race. It’s not often that one wins the Rolex 24 At Daytona.


 

Morad led a come-from-behind effort by Winward Racing and teammates Philip Ellis, Russell Ward and Indy Dontje by anchoring the final hours of the team’s Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class victory in the No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT3.


 

“I’ve won it before sitting on the sidelines and now I’ve won it in the seat of the car,” Morad said. “I almost crashed on the in-lap (after the checkered flag), I was crying so much. My voice is gone. I think I hurt myself as well.”


 

There’s a reason for the emotion. The No. 57 Mercedes started 17th among the 23 GTD entries, yet soldiered through the field to victory, ending a run of bad luck that clouded Winward’s 2023 WeatherTech Championship season.


 

While 12 different GTD cars led throughout the race, the No. 57 Mercedes rose to the top toward the end, leading 123 of the final 134 laps and a class-high 383 in all. Morad’s previous Rolex 24 victory came in GTD seven years ago. Ward, Ellis and Dontje were all with the class-winning Winward team in 2021.


 

Ferrari claimed second through fourth places Sunday in GTD. The No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 296 GT3 co-driven by Simon Mann, Francois Heriau, Miguel Molina and Kei Cozzolino finished second, 2.731 seconds behind the winners. The No. 34 Conquest Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 co-driven by Manny Franco, Albert Costa Balboa, Alessandro Balzan and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli was third, with the No. 023 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 and drivers Onofrio Triarsi, Charles Scardina, Riccardo Agostini and Alessio Rovera taking fourth.


 

In the final hour, the pole-winning No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 stopped with smoke pouring from beneath its hood. Parker Thompson emerged safely and tried to extinguish the fire, but the car was retired and finished 15th in class.


 

The ensuing caution brought the field back together for the final minutes, but Morad turned his extended stint in the car to a 2.731-second class victory.


 

“Incredible team, perfect car today,” Morad said. 


 

The WeatherTech Championship season resumes March 16 with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway.

 


Porsche, Penske End Rolex 24 At Daytona Droughts

Era Motorsport Returns to Daytona Victory Lane in LMP2


 

January 28, 2024

By John Oreovicz

IMSA Wire Service

Rolex 24 At Daytona Unofficial Race Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 62nd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona boiled down to a two-car race for overall and Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class honors between the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R and the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963.


 

The Porsche seized the advantage a little more than 19 hours into the 24-hour endurance contest that served as the season opener for the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr combined to build a 10-second lead. But Pipo Derani and Tom Blomqvist fought back in the Cadillac, culminating in Blomqvist making a daring pass for the lead on Nasr into Turn 1 with an hour and 20 minutes remaining.


 

A full-course caution that flew with 52 minutes remaining eliminated Blomqvist’s 2.2-second advantage and reset the race for a final sprint. When the pits opened eight minutes later, the Porsche crew got Nasr out ahead for the green flag that flew with 32 minutes to go.


 

That clean air at the head of the field was all the Brazilian needed. He kept the No. 7 Porsche that he shared with Dane Cameron, Matt Campbell and Josef Newgarden in front through the final stages, crossing the line 2.112 seconds ahead of the No. 31 Cadillac, which was driven by Blomqvist, Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken. Jordan Taylor, Louis Deletraz, Colton Herta and Jenson Button finished third in the No. 40 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06.


 

“It’s incredible to think we pulled that one off,” Nasr exclaimed before being mobbed by Porsche personnel in the postrace celebration.


 

It was the 23rd time Porsche claimed overall honors in the Rolex 24, the last coming in 2010 using a Riley chassis in the Daytona Prototype (DP) class fielded by Action Express Racing – the same team that now fields the Whelen Cadillac.


 

Team Penske owns two prior sports car victories at Daytona – a 1966 GT/GTO class win and the overall prize in 1969, when Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons enjoyed a 30-lap cushion at the finish in a Lola T-70/Chevrolet.


 

“When you think about 1969, when we won here with a Lola, things were a lot different in those days,” Penske said. “Just to see the competitiveness, where six or seven tenths of a second was the difference after 24 hours of racing, it’s unbelievable.


 

“I’ll tell you, this goes down as one of the biggest wins we’ve had.”


 

The victory was equally as satisfying for Porsche, which entered IMSA’s new GTP era featuring a hybrid-electrified platform in 2023 in a highly publicized resumption of the German marque’s relationship with the Penske organization, which produced major sports car victories in several different time periods since the early 1970s. But the Penske-Porsche partnership fell short of the WeatherTech Championship crown last season, losing out to the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac.


 

Porsche targeted increased reliability in the five IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events for 2024. That goal was achieved at Daytona International Speedway, as all four Porsche 963 hybrids in the field (two with Penske, one with JDC-Miller MotorSports and one with Proton Competition) finished in the top six.


 

Cameron competed for the Penske-Porsche program in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2023, and the American sports car ace was delighted to transfer to the North American-based IMSA program for ’24. He was in tears in Victory Lane.


 

“Fifteen years – that’s a long time,” Cameron said. “I’m so proud of these guys. We had so many issues in the long races last year, and so much work to tune this thing up.”


 

Campbell and Nasr teamed to score a GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class victory at the 2022 Rolex 24 driving a Porsche, but this was the first overall win for each.


 

“Incredible the way this race ebbs and flows and the way we took it to the Cadillacs today,” said Campbell. “Hats off to them – they really gave it to us. To finally get our first big victory in the world with this car is phenomenal. What a team! We finally got it done.”


 

Era Motorsport Returns to Daytona Victory Lane in LMP2

The fight for Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class honors in the Rolex 24 was a good one, with five cars remaining in contention to the finish.


 

The No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR ORECA LMP2 07 and the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA were the main contenders, until the No. 18 with drivers Dwight Merriman, Ryan Dalziel, Connor Zilisch and Christian Rasmussen took control over the final four hours. The No. 18 drivers led 132 of the final 136 laps, with Rasmussen taking the checkered flag with a 6.8-second advantage over Malthe Jakobsen in the No. 04, which was co-piloted by George Kurtz, Colin Braun and Toby Sowery.


 

“It’s awesome; it’s a huge bucket list item for me,” said Rasmussen, the team’s IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup driver about to embark on his first full season of IndyCar Series competition. “We were just strong all race. We kept improving, we knew we had the pace and we had the strategy just right. Then just cruised to the finish. I’m over the moon.”


 

Merriman and Dalziel were also half of the Era lineup in 2021 that won the Rolex 24 LMP2 race.


 

The No. 74 Riley ORECA with drivers Gar Robinson, Felipe Fraga, Josh Burdon and Felipe Massa finished third in LMP2.


 

The WeatherTech Championship resumes March 13-16 with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Central Florida.


Unofficial Results, Points & Post-Race Nuggets | WeatherTech Championship
Rolex 24 At Daytona
Daytona International Speedway - Sunday, January 28, 2024

 
Additional results are available at results.imsa.com.

 
Unofficial points are available at pitnotes.org/points.
GTP
No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport
  • 36th career win
  • Second overall win in Rolex 24 for Roger Penske, first since 1969
  • Third Rolex 24 win for Roger Penske (1966, 1969, 2024)
  • Third win for Porsche Penske in GTP (Long Beach, Road America 2023)
 
Felipe Nasr
  • 10th career win
  • Second Rolex 24 win, previous 2022 GTD PRO
  • First overall Rolex 24 win
  • Fifth straight season with a win (2019-2024)
 
Dane Cameron
  • 16th career win
  • First Rolex 24 win in 17th start
  • First win since Laguna Seca 2019

 
Matt Campbell
  • 12th career win
  • Second Daytona win, previous 2022 GTD PRO
  • First overall Rolex 24 win
 
Josef Newgarden
  • First career win
  • Second Rolex 24 start, first in GTP

 
LMP2
No. 18 Era Motorsport
  • Fourth career win
  • Second Rolex 24 At Daytona class win, both in LMP2
  • Last win came at Road America in Aug. 2022
  • First win at Rolex 24 came in 2021 (Dalziel, Merriman, Tilley, Chatin)
 
Ryan Dalziel
  • 14th career win
  • Last win came at Road America in Aug. 2022
  • Third Rolex 24 win – 2010 DP/Overall, 2021 LMP2
 
Dwight Merriman
  • Fourth career win
  • Last win came at Road America in Aug. 2022
 
Christian Rasmussen
  • First career win in sixth career IMSA WeatherTech Championship start
  • Previous best finish was 2nd at Watkins Glen 2023 in LMP2
  • Competing part-time in IndyCar in 2024 with Ed Carpenter Racing
 
Connor Zilisch
  • First career win in first career start
  • 2022 Mazda MX-5 Cup Rookie of the Year; four wins in 2023 season
  • Trackhouse Racing development driver

 
GTD PRO
No. 62 Risi Competizione
  • 26th career win
  • Second Rolex 24 win for Risi, first as Risi Competition
  • First win since 2019 Petit Le Mans
 
James Calado
  • Third career win
  • First Rolex 24 win
  • First win since 2019
 
Alessandro Pier Guidi
  • Third career win
  • Second Daytona win, previous 2014 PC
  • First win since 2019
  • Won 24 Hours of Le Mans and Rolex 24 hours in the same calendar year
 
Davide Rigon
  • First career win
  • First Daytona win in 11th start
 
Daniel Serra
  • Third career win
  • First Daytona win
  • First win since 2019

 
GTD
No. 57 Winward Racing
  • Fifth career win
  • Second Rolex 24 win, previous 2021
  • Fourth consecutive season with a win
 
Daniel Morad
  • Second career win
  • Second Daytona win, previous 2017
  • First win since 2017 Daytona win
 
Russell Ward
  • Fifth career win
  • Second Rolex 24 win, previous 2021
  • Won a race each of the last four seasons
 
Philip Ellis
  • Fifth career win
  • Second Rolex 24 win, previous 2021
  • Won a race each of the last four seasons
 
Indy Dontje
  • Second career win
  • Both wins have come in the Rolex 24 with Winward racing

 

 


 

Halfway Home, No. 31 Cadillac Leads Rolex 24

Several Other GTP Contenders Face Setbacks



January 28, 2024

By Mark Robinson

IMSA Wire Service

Rolex 24 At Daytona 12-Hour Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 62nd Rolex 24 At Daytona reached an exciting midpoint early this morning with fireworks erupting on and off the track. After 12 hours of the renowned endurance sports car race at Daytona International Speedway, Jack Aitken had the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R in the race lead.


 

Aitken was 1.763 seconds ahead of Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 as the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener sped into the overnight hours. Live streaming coverage of the race continues on Peacock through the checkered flag at 1:40 p.m. ET. USA Network rejoins the action from 6 a.m. to noon, with NBC network picking up from there until 2 p.m.


 

The No. 31 Whelen Cadillac, the reigning Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) champion, swapped the lead with the No. 7 Porsche Penske entry throughout the second six hours of the race. Aitken passed No. 7 driver Dane Cameron while the two negotiated through slower traffic on Lap 362 and still held the top spot 23 laps later at the 12-hour mark.


 

Aitken is co-driving the No. 31 with Pipo Derani and Tom Blomqvist, the latter seeking a third straight Rolex 24 overall victory that would tie him with Helio Castroneves for the most in a row.


 

Meanwhile, several other GTP competitors suffered issues that removed their chance to contend for the win or put that chance in peril.


 

Just more than eight hours from the start, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 with driver Filipe Albuquerque slowed to a stop on track, bringing out the eighth full-course caution of the race. The car was carried on a flatbed truck to the garage area where it underwent a lengthy diagnosis before the team worked to replace the wiring harness. After a 90-minute repair, the No. 10 returned to the track but was nearly 100 laps off the pace.


 

“I started feeling something burning in the Bus Stop (Le Mans Chicane),” Albuquerque said. “I thought it was a GT (car) in front and said nothing, but then after I passed it the smell was the same. Then when I put it in seventh gear on the straight line, the engine died. I lost all the power in the car, all the systems.”


 

The No. 10’s sister car, the No. 40 WTRAndretti Acura, suffered what appeared to be a similar issue just before the 12-hour juncture when it came to a stop on track with Louis Deletraz at the wheel. But with help from the track safety crew, Deletraz restarted the car and lost just a lap.


 

Shortly after racing restarted following the caution for the No. 10, Sebastien Bourdais became a passenger in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R after the car sustained a punctured tire from running over debris. Bourdais slid off track and managed to stop the car just shy of hitting the tire barrier, but by the time he limped the car back to pit lane for a tire change, the No. 01 was two laps down. The No. 01 was still a lap behind the leaders at the 12-hour mark.


 

Other class leaders after 12 hours of racing were: the No. 52 Inter Europol by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07 in Le Mans Prototype 2, the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 in GT Daytona Pro and the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 EVO in GT Daytona.


 

The Rolex 24 also serves as the first of five races making up the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. Points are awarded at designated junctures of each endurance race. With points given at the six- and 12-hour marks at Daytona, the Michelin Endurance Cup class leaders are: the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac in GTP; a tie between the No. 04 Crowdstrike Racing by APR and No. 52 Inter Europol by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports in LMP2; a three-way tie among the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3, No. 4 Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports Corvette Z06 GT3.R and No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 in GTD PRO; and a tie between the No. 32 Korthoff/Preston Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 and No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 EVO in GTD.


 

Michelin Endurance Cup points will be given again at the 18-hour mark and at the race finish.


 

Jenson Button, NASCAR Driver?

Jenson Button, the 2009 Formula 1 World Champion, got his first taste of Rolex 24 racing with a triple stint in the middle of the night in the No. 40 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 that he’s sharing with Deletraz, Jordan Taylor and Colton Herta. Overall, Button was pleased with his effort other than a short off-track excursion after light contact with the No. 3 Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports Corvette Z06 GT3.R driven by Alexander Sims.


 

“This is my first Rolex 24 so getting used to it out there is nuts!” Button said when he visited the DIS media center just before midnight. “You’re playing chicken at sort of 200 miles an hour so it’s a big learning curve, but I enjoyed it.


 

“It’s action-packed; it’s never-ending out there. You think you’ve passed everyone and you get some clear air, and then suddenly they’re all there again. There’s not a lot of break out there.”


 

But Button added that he wouldn’t change the whole Rolex 24 experience for anything.


 

“It’s a great event, I love the build-up to it. It’s busy for the drivers before the race but it doesn’t matter. The whole thing is about the fan interaction and being able to get up close with drivers. If you come here as a fan, you see the most amazing cars. But also you see drivers from endurance racing, you see drivers from IndyCar, from F1, from NASCAR. I mean, there’s so many different drivers here and so many super-talented guys racing in this race. It’s a special one, especially this year, I think.”


 

Button has thoroughly enjoyed that fan interaction, particularly since so many have become his newer fans after he was part of last year’s NASCAR Garage 56 program that competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He’s noticed its effect at Daytona.


 

“I would say half of the autographs I’ve signed have been NASCAR pictures of me,” he said with a chuckle. “So yeah, I’m a NASCAR driver. Forget the 17 years in F1. NASCAR, yeah!”


 

Turnstyle Atop GTD Leaderboard


 

Not unexpectedly, the GTD class featured a spirited battle for the lead among several cars in the second six hours. The No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, No. 32 Korthoff/Preston Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, No. 47 Cetilar Racing Ferrari 296 GT3, No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 and No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 EVO each took turns at the head of the class through the nighttime hours.


 

“I did my first long stint, which was nice, and doing my first racing laps of the season,” said Maximilian Goetz, who drives the No. 32 Mercedes with Mike Skeen, Mikael Grenier and Kenton Koch. “I was obviously in a fight with other brands, so actually it was a nice stint and it was the first taste of what we have to expect in the next hours.


 

“I had some great fights and there was really a great respect out there, I have to say, between all the categories. It’s good to fight with so many different brands and great drivers (from) around the world. If you see the lineups, there’s nothing to add. It’s the best of the best.”

 


No. 7 Penske Porsche Leads Rolex 24 at Six-Hour Mark

Cadillacs Dominate First Five Hours of GTP Competition in 24-Hour Classic



January 27, 2024

By John Oreovicz

IMSA Wire Service

Rolex 24 At Daytona Six-Hour Results


 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Cadillac generally set the pace in the first quarter of the 62nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, continuing its dominance of practice and qualifying. But Porsche came on strong in the sixth hour, with Matt Campbell in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 holding an 11.392-second lead over the Motul Pole Award winning No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R at the six-hour mark.


 

Continue to follow all the action of the Rolex 24 on the NBC Sports platforms. USA Network resumes coverage at 10 p.m. ET Saturday until midnight, then returns from 6 a.m.-noon Sunday. NBC network picks it up from there, airing the race conclusion live from noon-2 p.m. Sunday. The entire race streams live on Peacock.


 

All 10 cars in the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class remained on the lead lap after six hours. Felipe Nasr ran in second place for the first two hours in the No. 7 Porsche before dropping down the order as the team concentrated on saving new sets of tires for later in the race. Most competitors attempted to run double or even triple stints on tires in the early hours with tire conservation in mind.


 

“In the heat of the day, (Cadillac) seems to have an advantage, especially under braking and traction,” Nasr related. “They seem to handle better in those two areas. They have the upper hand now, but ask me in a few hours and we might have a different answer.”


 

Cadillac Racing’s No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing led the majority of the first quarter of the classic endurance contest in the hands of drivers Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon and Alex Palou. But the 01 was shuffled back to fourth place during a full-course caution late in the fifth hour as the No. 7 fought back into contention.


 

“We knew we were going to have a fight, and we do,” Bourdais said. “I think the car shows that it’s got plenty of pace; I’ve never been in doubt of that. We knew we had the strong package as far as optimizing the performance level we have at our disposal, but it won’t be easy if it comes down to a drag race in the last 30 minutes.”


 

Porsche was the only Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) manufacturer that did not lead laps in the first five hours of the race, which started under sunny skies with a temperature of 80 degrees. But Campbell passed the No. 31 Cadillac in the hands of two-time defending Rolex 24 winner Tom Blomqvist a couple laps after the fourth caution of the event, some five hours and 20 minutes into the race.


 

Cadillac drivers remained confident that they could respond to the Porsche threat as the race unfolds.


 

“Obviously, we were good in qualifying already and the race is proving to be a similar situation with the field that we look to be good on pace,” said Jack Aitken, co-driver of the No. 31 with Blomqvist and Pipo Derani. “But the Porsches especially and the BMWs are not far behind. And even when we get behind the Acuras, it’s not easy to pass.” 


 

The six-hour point of the Rolex 24 also marked the first points distribution for the 2024 IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. The other class leaders at six hours were: No. 04 Crowdstrike Racing by APR ORECA LMP2 07 in Le Mans Prototype 2; No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 in Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO); and No. 32 Korthoff/Preston Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3 in Grand Touring Daytona (GTD).


 

No. 40 WTRAndretti Acura Recovers from Power Steering Issue


 

The No. 40 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 lost a lap when it experienced a power steering failure in the fourth hour. But the team was able to take advantage of a full-course caution to get back in touch with the leaders with Colton Herta at the wheel.


 

“I think we’re competitive; I’m not incredibly overjoyed, but we’re not doing terrible at the moment,” said Herta, who serves as the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup driver in the No. 40 alongside full-time pilots Jordan Taylor and Louis Deletraz, joined by Jenson Button at the Rolex 24. “We got the power steering fixed very quickly and we should be able to fight. I was able to pass some of the guys that seemed to be struggling more than us.”  


 

Herta also dodged a bullet when he and the No. 023 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 came together in the Le Mans Chicane five hours into the race. The Ferrari sustained rear-end damage but made it back to the pits for repairs. The No. 40 Acura went off course but Herta was able to steady it and get back on track without issue.


 

Westbrook Uses His Toolbox to Improve Car

Richard Westbrook praised the adjustability of the high-tech GTP class cars following his opening stint in the No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963.


 

Westbrook, who earned a Rolex 24 class win in 2018, was astounded how poorly his 2024 car handled at the start of the race. But he was able to use the many technological tools available to GTP drivers to tune the car into the race conditions.


 

“The first stint was terrible, if I’m honest,” Westbrook assessed. “We changed nothing (during a pit stop), and then the car was good! I mean, it was just the controls in the car. It was a really good lesson for me about how to handle the 963 over a stint. We completely changed the balance in the car. It was so far off at the beginning, locking the rear brakes up into Turn 1, but the car just seemed to gain pace and I really enjoyed it.”


 

Misfortune Strikes Early for No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus, No. 11 TDS Racing LMP2


 

The No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, the reigning GTD PRO champion team and class leader through 18 of the first 24 laps Saturday, was the first frontrunner to hit trouble, just under an hour into the race. Mike Conway, a two-time champion for Toyota in the FIA World Endurance Championship, was at the wheel and leading the class when the No. 20 MDK by High Class Racing LMP2 class entry driven by Dennis Andersen spun exiting Turn 2. Following closely, Conway was unable to avoid a collision and the Lexus sustained heavy frontal damage. After an hour in the garage undergoing repairs, the Lexus returned to competition more than 30 laps down.


 

Two hours into the race, Steven Thomas was uninjured when the No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA LMP2 07 he was driving crashed hard into the SAFER barrier exiting the Le Mans Chicane on the backstretch of the Daytona oval. The car sustained heavy front and rear damage and was the first entry officially eliminated from the race.

 

 


 

Winning Michelin Pilot Challenge Debut for Kellymoss with Riley

Dickinson Uses Perfect Strategy to Take BMW M Endurance Challenge; JDC-Miller Pulls out Miracle TCR Win


 

January 26, 2024

By John Oreovicz & Mark Robinson

IMSA Wire Service

BMW M Endurance Challenge Race Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kellymoss with Riley enjoyed a victorious debut in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Friday at Daytona International Speedway, and it couldn’t have been more dramatic.


 

Riley Dickinson, who won the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Pro class championship in 2023, displayed remarkable fuel-saving skills that made a daring pit strategy orchestrated by legendary engineer Bill Riley work to perfection.


 

Dickinson started the last lap in second place in the No. 91 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 718 GT4 RS Clubsport but swept into the Grand Sport (GS) class and overall lead of the BMW M Endurance Challenge when Kenton Koch pitted the No. 92 Random Vandals Racing BMW M4 GT4 (G82) for a splash of fuel.  


 

Dickinson, who teamed with Michael McCarthy and Brady Golan, had enough fuel on board to hold off a rapidly closing Daniel Morad in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4 and win the season opener. The Kellymoss with Riley Porsche crossed the finish line with a 1.936-second advantage. Matt Plumb and Owen Trinkler finished third in the No. 46 Team TGM Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 6.554 seconds in arrears.


 

Riley made the call for Dickinson to pit for fuel near the end of a full-course caution with an hour remaining in the four-hour contest. The No. 91 Porsche was in 10th place entering the final 15 minutes, but one by one competitors were forced to stop for fuel.


 

Making Dickinson’s last stint even more amazing, he revealed it was the first time that he was ever in a position where he was asked to save fuel – Porsche Carrera Cup consists of 40-minute sprint races where fuel mileage is not a concern.


 

“Ultimately, we should give Bill Riley a pretty big shoutout for the strategy,” said Dickinson, a 21-year-old Texas native. “He was the mastermind behind the fuel save. That was the first time that I’ve done a live fuel save during a race, so it was definitely a bit of a learn-on-the-fly kind of experience.


 

“This was a bit of a last-minute program,” Dickinson added. “Not even three weeks ago we decided to green light this thing. To be honest, to have this all happen the way it did is a dream come true. It’s been quite an up-and-down offseason for me, so this definitely feels quite rewarding right now.”


 

The debut in Michelin Pilot Challenge was an unexpected bonus for the Kellymoss organization, a longtime sports car stalwart now owned by Andy Kilcoyne and Victoria Thomas.


 

“We were really hoping for a top 10, best-case scenario, so we couldn’t be more excited,” Kellymoss with Riley co-owner Victoria Thomas said. “Riley’s strategy was absolutely spectacular, and the lineup of these three young guys, you can’t beat it. We’re so excited for the season.”


 

JDC-Miller Audi Makes ‘Hail Mary’ Recovery to Win TCR Class

Mikey Taylor won two races for JDC-Miller MotorSports on Friday. The first was to and from Orlando International Airport in the morning to pick up a critical part to be installed in the team’s No. 17 Unitronic Audi RS3 LMS TCR. Miller and co-driver Chris Taylor then proceeded to charge to the front and capture the four-hour Touring Car (TCR) class season opener.


 

After turning six laps in opening Michelin Pilot Challenge practice on Wednesday, the team was unable to start the car on Thursday. The No. 17 sat out Thursday’s practice and qualifying while the JDC-Miller crew scrambled to replace multiple parts on the Audi without success to get it restarted. What they didn’t have on hand to swap out was the engine control unit (ECU), but the nearest one they could find was in Mexico.


 

Arrangements were made for someone to fly with the part to Orlando early Friday morning and Taylor met them and the ECU at the airport and raced back to Daytona.


 

“We were not doing the speed limit to get back here,” Taylor said, “and we just made it just in time. Miraculously, the car started because we had no idea that the parts we had would actually fix the issue. It was a pure Hail Mary and we were super lucky today.


 

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my career,” he added, “and I don’t want to be part of it again because it’s too stressful.”


 

Starting at the back of the TCR grid, Miller knew quickly he had a fast car and moved up to fourth in class less than a half-hour into the race. Taylor pushed the No. 17 into the lead for the first time just past the halfway point and wound up leading all but four of the final 53 laps around the 3.56-mile road course.


 

Not to say it was easy. Taylor fended off challenges from Denis Dupont in the No. 76 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR, Tom O’Gorman in the No. 15 Rockwell Autosport Development Audi RS3 LMS SEQ and Mark Wilkins in the No. 98 BHA Hyundai. The margin of victory was 20.408 seconds over Dupont, Preston Brown and Nick Looijmans in the No. 76 Hyundai, but only because Dupont ran out of fuel coming to the finish line.


 

It was Taylor’s eighth Michelin Pilot Challenge win, the sixth for Miller and their second together at Daytona – the other in 2021.


 

It was also particularly rewarding for reasons other than the miraculous recovery. It salved the wounds of the way the 2023 season ended, when an early exit from the season finale ended a bid for the TCR championship. Team members also learned Thursday night that Jay Cottrell, a former JDC-Miller crew member, passed away and dedicated the victory to him.


 

“It was nice to be able to do this and have the whole team rally around trying to win it for him,” Miller said. “It feels extra special because of that.”


 

The Michelin Pilot Challenge returns to action March 15 with the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway.


Practice Results | WeatherTech Championship

Rolex 24 At Daytona

Daytona International Speedway - Friday, Jan. 26, 2024

Practice 4 Results

Practice 3 Results

Practice 2 Results

Practice 1 Results


 

Additional results are available at results.imsa.com.

 


 

Palou, No. 01 Cadillac, Weather Heat Up at Rolex 24 Practice

IndyCar Champion Paces Field through First Two Race-Week Sessions


 

January 25, 2024

By John Oreovicz

IMSA Wire Service

Practice 1 Results

 

Practice 2 Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Preparations for the 62nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway got a lot hotter Thursday.


 

Literally.


 

The 59 car and driver combinations entered for the season-opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practiced in conditions up to 30 degrees warmer than when qualifications were staged Sunday on an overcast day that topped out at 55 degrees Fahrenheit with gusty 30-mph winds.


 

Thursday afternoon’s 81-degree reading was the highest temperature seen so far in calendar year 2024 in the Daytona Beach area. But the results on the 3.56-mile DIS road course in the heat were essentially the same as they were in the chill, with the Cadillac V-Series.R setting the pace.


 

Both Thursday sessions were led by the No. 01 Cadillac in the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class, with Scott Dixon topping the charts in the morning session at 1 minute, 36.012 seconds (133.483 mph) and co-driver Alex Palou improving to 1:35.589 (134.074 mph) in the afternoon. Dixon and Palou are the endurance add-on drivers in the No. 01 this week, joining full-season co-drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.


 

“We don’t know what other teams and manufacturers are doing, but we know what we’re doing, and the car feels really good,” Palou said. “We’ve done a lot of progress since last week, and from what Dixon and Renger said, it’s a lot better than it was in the December test here. The team did amazing work.


 

“So yeah, we’re confident. But then it’s a 24-hour race, so it’s all about keeping the car in one piece until the last two hours and then go for it. It’s going to be up to the drivers to do that for the No. 01 car.”


 

Connor De Phillippi came closest to besting Cadillac in the morning session, lapping the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 in 1:36.139 (133.307 mph). Porsche came to the fore in the afternoon with Felipe Nasr clocking 1:35.724 (133.885 mph) in the factory Porsche Penske Motorsport No. 7 Porsche 963, closely followed by Gianmaria Bruni in Proton Competition Mustang Sampling’s No. 5 entry at 1:35.754 (133.843 mph).

In the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class, times were faster in the morning session. Toby Sowery was quickest, notching a 1:39.407 (128.924) mph lap in the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR ORECA LMP2 07. Clement Novalak led the afternoon session for the No. 52 Inter Europol by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA at 1:39.416 (128.913 mph).


 

In the GT classes, Katherine Legge turned the fastest lap of the day, also in the morning session. Legge toured the speedway road course in 1:46.585 (120.242 mph) in the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 in the Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class, nearly two-tenths of a second better than Jack Hawksworth in Vasser Sullivan’s GTD PRO class No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 (1:46.783/120.019 mph).


 

Legge was also fastest in cooler conditions on January 19, the first day of Roar Before the Rolex 24 testing.

“I’ve done this race 12 times now, and this is the best handling car I’ve ever had here,” declared Legge, whose best Rolex 24 finish was second in the GTD class in 2018. “I think a lot of people feel like it’s going really well, but there’s a lot of pressure that comes along with that. It’s a really long race, trying to not get in anybody’s way but still be competitive, not make any mistakes and not get taken out.


 

“Twenty-four hours is such a long time when you’re behind the wheel,” she added. “I think it’s about just trying to keep your head down to control the things you can control. We’re super fortunate that our JG Wentworth Acura is fast and seems solid. I just really, really hope that come hour 23-and-a-half, I’m in it for the end.”


 

Rolex 24 activities were scheduled to continue into Thursday night with a 90-minute practice under the DIS lights, with final practice scheduled for 11:20 a.m. ET Friday.


 

Live coverage of the Rolex 24 will be carried across NBC Sports platforms beginning at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on NBC network. USA Network takes over from 2:30-8 p.m., again from 10 p.m.-midnight and once more from 6 a.m.-noon Sunday. The race to the finish then airs live on NBC from noon-2 p.m. Sunday. All 24 hours of NBC’s coverage will stream live on Peacock.

 

 


Toyota Takes NASCAR Drivers Road Racing

Bubba Wallace, Cory Heim and John Hunter Nemechek Are Teaming in the No. 23 Smooge Racing Supra GT4 for the Michelin Pilot Challenge Season Opener


 

January 25, 2024

By John Oreovicz

IMSA Wire Service

BMW M Endurance Challenge Qualifying Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Led by the likes of Kyle Larson and his sprint car exploits, it’s become popular for NASCAR Cup Series drivers to occasionally take part in forms of racing outside of their full-time rides on the stock car circuit.


 

Toyota is especially supportive of helping its contracted drivers widen their racing horizons in alternative forms of competition. Christopher Bell, for example, frequently returns to his pre-NASCAR roots; he won three consecutive Chili Bowl Nationals for midget cars from 2017-19.


 

Toyota Racing Development created a different kind of moonlighting opportunity for three of its up-and-coming NASCAR stars to start their 2024 season. Bubba Wallace, John Hunter Nemechek and Corey Heim are sharing the No. 23 Toyota GR Supra GT4 EVO prepared by Smooge Racing in the Grand Sport (GS) class of the BMW M Endurance Challenge at Daytona, the opening race of the 2024 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.


 

Wallace qualified the striking black and gold Toyota 20th in the 28-car GS field, with Sean McAlister claiming the Motul Pole Award in the No. 39 CarBahn Motorsports BMW M4 GT4 with a lap of 1 minute, 52.842 seconds (113.574 mph). Defending Touring Car (TCR) class co-champion Harry Gottsacker earned the Motul Pole Award in TCR in the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Elantra N TCR with a 1:56.757 (109.766 mph) lap.


 

Wallace, driver of the No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota in the Cup Series, took responsibility for sparking the effort that landed the NASCAR young guns in the Pilot Challenge opener.


 

“I started this whole thing,” he joked. “I texted Toyota leadership and said I needed some massive help for my road course career in the Cup Series – whatever it takes to get more seat time, whatever we have to do. I knew it would be a fun time down here, learning these cars, just figuring it all out and adapting quick.”

When asked why he accepted the challenge of stepping out of his comfort zone, Nemechek distilled his initial response to one word: “Fun.”


 

“It goes back to us kind of asking Toyota to get us in something that would get us more road course experience,” he elaborated. “We want to be able to drive everything and compete and learn to the best of our ability, and being able to hop in different vehicles at different times just makes you adaptable in every situation, which makes us better as drivers.”


 

Heim, whose full-time ride in 2024 is in TRICON Garage’s No. 11 Tundra in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, had additional news to report on Thursday. He revealed that he has been contracted to assist a pair of Toyota-affiliated Cup Series teams in 2024. He’ll serve as Legacy Motor Club’s simulator and reserve driver, and as a reserve driver for 23XI Racing.


 

“Any extra running I can get on a road course will be beneficial for me,” Heim said. “My goal is to one day run in the Cup Series, and there’s a big road course presence in that. Whether it’s in a stock car or a GT4 (Michelin Pilot Challenge car), I feel like the extra seat time is pretty big for me.”


 

After two days of Roar Before the Rolex 24 testing on the Daytona International Speedway road course and practice and qualifying for Friday’s four-hour race, the three stock car specialists agreed that the most difficult part of the Michelin Pilot Challenge experience was the driver changes that are part and parcel of sharing a car in sports car competition.


 

“At 30, I felt young until we did driver changes,” Wallace said with a grimace. “Man, I’m hurting.”


 

“I don’t know if we have a higher heartbeat rate driving laps in the Supra right now or doing driver changes,” added Nemechek, who will soon embark on his first Cup Series season in Legacy Motor Club’s No. 42 Toyota. “We might be sweating more and doing more work with the driver changes.”


 

The BMW M Endurance Challenge starts at 1:45 ET Friday, with live coverage streaming on Peacock.

 


 

Practice Results | WeatherTech Championship

Rolex 24 At Daytona

Daytona International Speedway - Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024

Practice 3 Results

Practice 2 Results

Practice 1 Results


 

Additional results are available at results.imsa.com.


Practice Results | WeatherTech Championship

Rolex 24 At Daytona

Daytona International Speedway - Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024

Practice 2 Results

Practice 1 Results


 

Additional results are available at results.imsa.com.


Practice Results | WeatherTech Championship

Rolex 24 At Daytona

Daytona International Speedway - Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024

Practice 1 Results


 

Additional results are available at results.imsa.com.


 

Derani Obliterates Daytona Track Record in Front-Row Qualifying Sweep for Cadillac

Nine Cars Break Track Record in Qualifying for 62nd Rolex 24 At Daytona



January 21, 2024

By John Oreovicz

IMSA Wire Service

Qualifying Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – New track records are not a frequent occurrence at Daytona International Speedway.


 

But perfect, cool conditions, combined with a year’s worth of development on the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) cars that comprise the top class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, created a festival of speed Sunday in qualifying for the 62nd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.


 

Defending GTP class champion Pipo Derani smashed the five-year-old benchmark for the 3.56-mile Daytona road course en route to the Motul Pole Award, lapping the famous facility in 1 minute, 32.656 seconds (138.318 mph) in the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R. That edged the similar Cadillac Racing entry prepared by Chip Ganassi Racing and driven by Sebastien Bourdais by 0.071 seconds.


 

Derani, who also claimed the 2021 IMSA Daytona Prototype International (DPi) championship and owns a prior overall victory in the Rolex 24 (2016), was more than a second under the existing track record of 1:33.685 established by Oliver Jarvis in a Mazda DPi in 2019. Prior to that, one must go all the way back to 1993 to find a faster trip around DIS, when PJ Jones set what would be an enduring target near the end of IMSA’s original GTP era in the All American Racers Toyota Eagle Mk III.


 

All nine GTP cars that participated in Sunday’s qualifying session lapped faster than Jarvis’ previous track record.


 

“Obviously, the Cadillac was flying out there today,” Derani said after earning his 10th career pole position in IMSA competition. “It was just a privilege and a pleasure to drive such a car – really well balanced. There was great teamwork to improve what was needed for qualifying. The car felt on rails, and it was nice to enjoy and feel the full potential of GTP.


 

“In the end, everyone was really tight,” he added. “I think Porsche was within a tenth from pole (actually 0.22 seconds). It’s about finding those details to find a little extra time, and we were able to do just that today.”


 

Derani credited the atmospheric conditions – cloud cover, with temperatures in the mid-50s and a 17-mph tailwind through Daytona’s famous trioval – with creating lap times that were even faster than expected.


 

“We weren’t really talking about what was possible, we were just trying to maximize the tools that we had,” said Derani. “Quite honestly, I was quite surprised, but I think the conditions were perfect for that – cold, the tires were working well, and obviously for qualifying you’re running low fuel. I would say we were a bit more surprised than not by the lap time.”


 

Felipe Nasr qualified the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 third at 1:32.876, joined on the second row by Connor De Phillippi in the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8. The Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acuras locked out Row 3.


 

The No. 5 Proton Competition Porsche didn’t participate in qualifying after the car slid off track and into a barrier with Neel Jani at the wheel during a pre-qualifying practice session.


 

LMP2: Keating is Still King

The busiest man at Daytona International Speedway secured the best starting spot in the 13-car Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) field for the Rolex 24. Ben Keating, driving the No. 2 United Autosports USA ORECA LMP2 07, earned the class Motul Pole Award by producing a 1:38.501 effort (130.110 mph) a little less than halfway into the 15-minute LMP2 qualifying session. 


 

Keating, the 2021 and ’23 IMSA LMP2 class champion, is also part of the driver lineup in the Rolex 24 for JDC-Miller Motorsports’ No. 85 Porsche 963 in the GTP class. He noted that his track time the complex GTP Porsche benefited him when he stepped back into the more familiar LMP2 car, and credited Sunday’s track conditions with helping produce a lap a half a second quicker than he was anticipating based on his qualifying simulations.  


 

“The track was unbelievably fast today, almost perfect conditions,” Keating observed. “I was shocked; I couldn’t believe how quick it was. When I did that lap, I didn’t expect anybody to be close and I thought we might as well pull over. But Nick Boulle was just a tenth of a second behind me. That speaks to the high level of competition in LMP2 this year.”


 

Boulle’s best effort was 1:38.603 in the No. 52 Inter Europol by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA, followed by George Kurtz (No. 04 Crowdstrike Racing by APR ORECA).


 

“As I look across the 2024 LMP2 field, two-thirds of the cars are really strong,” Keating said. “It’s going to be an epic year, and I’m looking forward to it.”


 

The 62nd Rolex 24 takes place Jan. 27-28. NBC television coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday, with the network also carrying the finish beginning at noon Sunday, Jan. 28. Flag-to-flag coverage will stream live on Peacock, with additional television coverage airing on USA Network.

 


Priaulx Puts ‘Rexy’ Porsche on GT Pole for Rolex 24 At Daytona

First-Time Pole Winners in Both GTD PRO and GTD Classes



January 21, 2024

By Jeff Olson

IMSA Wire Service

Qualifying Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chalk one up for Porsche – but save some of that chalk for Lexus.


 

Seb Priaulx led the way for Porsche in qualifying Sunday for the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class for next weekend’s 62nd Rolex 24 At Daytona, but two Lexus cars weren’t far behind among GT entries.


 

Priaulx won the first Motul Pole Award of his career en route to the No. 1 starting position in the GTD PRO class with a lap of 1 minute 44.382 seconds (122.780 mph) in the No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (992). Jack Hawksworth was just a tick behind in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, which will start second in GTD PRO after he was timed at 1:44.462 (122.685 mph).


 

Meanwhile, Parker Thompson claimed the Motul Pole Award in the GTD class and was third overall in GT in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 with a lap of 1:44.494 (122.648 mph) around the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course. Both Priaulx and Thompson set track qualifying records for their respective classes.


 

While qualifying for a 24-hour race doesn’t seem consequential, Priaulx said the pole position proved a point of confidence.


 

“Everything is important,” said Priaulx, who will share the Dinosaur-liveried green Porsche known as “Rexy” with Laurin Heinrich and Michael Christensen when the Rolex 24 starts Saturday afternoon to open the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. “Obviously with this race it doesn’t matter so much how qualifying goes, but we know we have a good car here. It’s confidence-building in what we have.”

 

Hawksworth, who will co-drive the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus with Ben Barnicoat, Kyle Kirkwood and Mike Conway, followed the team’s championship of 2023 with a solid runner-up effort in GTD PRO qualifying for the 2024 season opener.


 

Antonio Garcia secured third in class with a lap of 1:44.786 (122.306 mph) in the No. 3 Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports Corvette Z06 GT3.R he’ll co-drive with Alexander Sims and Daniel Juncadella.

 

Sunday’s qualifying session was red-flagged early after David Brule slid off course in the No. 92 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) in the GTD class. The delay threw Priaulx off his rhythm for a moment, but he maintained focus and carried on.

 

“I kept my head down and focused on what I could do,” Priaulx said. “It worked out today, and I’m really happy.”


 

Thompson, Lexus prevail for pole in GTD

In his fifth race with Vasser Sullivan, Thompson claimed his first Motul Pole Award in WeatherTech Championship competition. The 25-year-old Canadian, who’ll run the full season for the first time, is co-drivers with Frankie Montecalvo, Aaron Telitz and Ritomo Miyata at Daytona.


 

“It means everything,” Thompson said. “Two years ago, I was spotting up there, and now I’m down in Victory Lane collecting my first pole. One for one, but I couldn’t do it without … the entire Lexus Racing Vasser Sullivan group. It’s such a solid group.”


 

Klaus Bachler continued the Porsche vs. Lexus theme by securing the No. 2 GTD starting position with a lap of 1:44.537 (122.597 mph) in the No. 86 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) that he’ll co-drive with Kerong Li, Anders Fjordbach and Larry Voorde.


 

Katherine Legge brought the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 home third in GTD at 1:44.640 (122.477 mph). She’ll team with Sheena Monk, Tatiana Calderon and Stevan McAleer for the race.


 

NBC’s live coverage of the Rolex 24 At Daytona begins at 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday. Flag-to-flag live coverage can be found on NBC Sports platforms. 

 


Aghakhani, Mars Repeat VP Racing Challenge Wins at Daytona

Duo Sweeps the Season-Opening Weekend at the World Center of Racing


 

January 21, 2024

By Mark Robinson

IMSA Wire Service

Race 2 Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Steven Aghakhani and Luca Mars duplicated their IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge wins from a day earlier on Sunday, staking early claims in their bids for 2024 class championships.


 

Aghakhani was the Race 2 overall winner and Le Mans Prototype 3 (P3) class victor in the No. 6 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P320. Aghakhani had a spirited battle throughout with Cody Ware (No. 51 Rick Ware Racing with Ave Motorsports Ligier), even though Ware was facing a 10-second postrace penalty for an incident with another prototype on the first lap of the 45-minute race.


 

Ware passed polesitter Aghakhani for the lead while the cars were working through lapped traffic with 26 minutes remaining, but Aghakhani returned the favor in the same area of the Daytona International Speedway road course’s infield section 16 minutes later.


 

A late full-course caution for a car stopped on track resulted in a one-lap restart dash to the checkered flag, with Aghakhani easily rebuffing Ware’s advances. With the Ware penalty assessed, Aghakhani won by 4.036 seconds over Marco Kacic (No. 87 FastMD Racing with Remstar Duqueine D08) and Ware wound up in eighth place.


 

“Traffic management is something we’ve always had sitting in the back of our head just from my racing background,” said Aghakhani, who’s raced in several series before joining the VP Racing Challenge this year. “It was very good to pull out some of those good memories and open that filing cabinet.


 

“It really showed on that move (to retake the lead) going into Turn 4, the Kink. I’m seeing three cars, four cars down the lane. I see another GSX car down the road and think to myself already exiting (Turn) 3, ‘Hey, I can use this guy’ (as a pick to pass Ware). It worked out perfectly fine. It ended up going almost three wide into (Turn) 4 but ended up making it stick.”

Mars faced a polar opposite race from his experience on Saturday when he charged from last on the grid to win the GSX class in the No. 59 KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT3. He started from the class pole on Sunday and faced few threats, winning by 1.322 seconds ahead of Michael Cooper in the No. 55 Baby Bull Racing Porsche 718 GT4 RS Clubsport.


 

“I knew we had a fast car; I knew I was going to be the car to beat,” Mars said. “I lost a spot at the start due to some LMP3 traffic but was able to work around, get to the front and just kind of maintain that gap the whole race. The late caution came out and kind of brought everyone together for a one-lap shootout. I was able to just hold my ground and get the win today.”


 

The two wins builds momentum for Mars not only for the VP Racing Challenge season but for his IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge ride with KohR that begins with Friday’s BMW M Endurance Challenge at Daytona.


 

“Two firsts, it’s great for the (VP Racing Challenge) championship,” said Mars. “We’ve got a lot of confidence for the year now and a lot of confidence for next weekend, for the four-hour race.”


 

The next doubleheader round for the VP Racing Challenge takes place at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of the Florida city, March 8-10.

 


 

Practice Results | WeatherTech Championship

Roar Before the Rolex 24

Daytona International Speedway - Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024

Practice 5 Results

Practice 4 Results

Practice 3 Results

Practice 2 Results

Practice 1 Results


 

Additional results are available at results.imsa.com.


 

 

Privateer Porsches Stake Their Claim at Roar Testing

JDC-Miller and Proton Competition Top the GTP Chart in the Afternoon Session



January 20, 2024

By John Oreovicz

IMSA Wire Service

Session 3 Results

 

Session 4 Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – When it comes to pure numbers, Porsche has the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship covered, supplying four of the 10 cars in the Rolex 24 At Daytona field.


 

Porsche is also the only one of four (soon to be five) manufacturers participating in GTP that currently sells cars to private customer teams in addition to fielding the two Porsche Penske Motorsport entries. Those customer Porsches proved their worth Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, as Phil Hanson turned the fastest lap of this year’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 test sessions in the No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963 in preparation for next weekend’s Rolex 24.


 

Hanson’s time of 1 minute, 35.216 seconds (134.599 mph) in the fourth sessions of track time since Friday paced a tight field in which the top five cars were clustered within about a quarter of a second. Neel Jani and Connor De Phillippi came closest to Hanson on Saturday afternoon, clocking identical 1:45.329 laps in Proton Competition’s No. 5 Porsche 963 and the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8, respectively.


 

Hanson, a 24-year-old Englishman, was asked whether he felt the factory Penske Porsches that finished eighth and 10th in the same session were not yet showing their hand.


 

“I don’t think we’ve shown our hand yet, to be honest,” Hanson replied with a grin. “The JDC boys did a really good job of rolling out with a strong package this morning, and I think that showed in both practice sessions. We were very fast in the morning when my teammates drove, and that also translated into the afternoon.


 

“I think we’re in good shape, to be honest,” he added. “We’re just trying to learn as much as we can about the car. There are several other things we want to understand, foreshadowing the race weekend. There are going to be very different conditions, so we want to get as much data as we can now to adapt as best we can. The team is doing a really good job at the moment, and it’s nice to be at the front.”


 

JDC-Miller was the first customer team to campaign a Porsche 963, beginning in May 2023 in the race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The team’s full-time drivers this year are Richard Westbrook and 2023 carryover Tijmen van der Helm, joined at the Rolex 24 by Hanson and last season’s Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class champion Ben Keating.


 

Keating is performing double duty at Daytona, sharing the JDC-Miller Porsche in GTP while also anchoring the driver lineup in his full-time ride – the No. 2 United Autosports ORECA LMP2 07 in the LMP2 class. Keating was fastest in LMP2 in the Saturday afternoon session, notching a 1:39.047 lap (129.393 mph). Nicklas Nielsen turned the quickest LMP2 lap of the day in the morning with a 1:38.576 (130.011 mph) in the No. 88 Richard Mille AF Corse ORECA.


 

Keating shares the No. 2 car with Nico Pino, Ben Hanley and Patricio O’ Ward. United Autosports also paced LMP2 on opening day of the Roar, in the hands of Paul di Resta in the team’s No. 22 entry.


 

“Obviously it’s early in the process of going through this event, but it’s looking like we’re near the top,” said di Resta, whose No. 22 Daytona teammates are Daniel Goldburg, Bijoy Garg and Felix Rosenqvist. “We’re being naive in the sense that we’re just concentrating on ourselves, trying to make the best possible car with the philosophy we think, and hopefully that will enable us to battle for the win.”

Klaus Bachler managed the fastest GT lap of the day, recording 1:45.799 (121.135 mph) in the afternoon session in the No. 86 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (type 992) that competes in the GT Daytona (GTD) class. Tommy Milner produced the day’s best lap in the GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class in the morning, timed at 1:45.844 (121.084 mph) in the No. 4 Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports Corvette Z06 GT3.R.


 

Porsche finished 1-2-3 in GTD in the Saturday afternoon session, a year after a difficult debut for the latest generation of the 911 GT3.


 

“I would definitely take it if next Sunday we would end up in this position,” Bachler remarked, looking ahead to the Rolex 24. “Nothing else to say – it was a good session for us, and the car felt really good. Last year was really hard for us; it was honestly the longest and hardest 24-hour race I’ve ever had. This is different this year, for sure.”


 

Roar activities were scheduled to continue Saturday evening with a two-hour session under the DIS lights. A final GTP session is set for 1:25 p.m. ET Sunday, just ahead of Rolex 24 qualifying for all classes starting at 1:55 p.m. Peacock has live streaming coverage of the Sunday practice and qualifying.


 

The 62nd running of the Rolex 24 takes place Saturday, Jan. 27. Flag-to-flag coverage is available on the NBC Sports platforms, with the race start airing live on NBC network beginning at 1:30 p.m.

 

 


 

Day of Firsts in Opener of Second VP Racing Challenge Season

Aghakhani Claims Overall Victory in Series Debut; Mars Delivers Win in New Mustang GT4’s First Race

January 20, 2024

By Mark Robinson

IMSA Wire Service

Race 1 Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It’s the second season for the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, but Saturday was a day of firsts at Daytona International Speedway.


 

Steven Aghakhani made his first series start and first-ever race in a prototype memorable, taking the overall and Le Mans Prototype 3 (P3) class win in the season-opening 45-minute sprint race. Luca Mars charged from last on the grid to win the Grand Sport X (GSX) class in the global racing debut for the new Ford Mustang GT4.


 

Driving the No. 6 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P320, Aghakhani started from the pole position but lost the lead on the opening lap when Alex Kirby (No. 7 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier) bolted from third place to first. Aghakhani blamed his lack of prototype experience warming up the Michelin tires for the faulty start, but he slotted in behind Kirby and hawked the leader the rest of the race.


 

Aghakhani bided his time until making the winning move with just more than two minutes remaining. He used an outside-inside passing maneuver around Kirby heading into the infield section of the 3.56-mile road course. The cars made side-to-side contact at the exit of Turn 2 but Aghakhani held on for the lead, crossing the finish line 1.238 seconds ahead.


 

“The pass at the end was more or less the only big window that I saw show up, and I told myself it’s either this or we’re finishing second place,” Aghakhani said. “Decided to take it inside on (Turn) 1 and make it work, side by side through (Turn) 2 and somehow got past in (Turn) 3.”


 

It also provided quite the return to racing for Aghakhani, the former Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America driver who took the 2023 season off from the sport.


 

“Not doing any driving for all of (2023) and coming back to the first race of the season at Daytona in a brand-new car with a new team, and here we are winning it,” he said. “I think it’s absolutely amazing. … It’s a really good feeling, especially knowing that I still have that second nature of driving.”

Mars qualified third in GSX but his No. 59 KohR Motorsports Mustang was found underweight in technical inspection and moved to the rear of the field. Starting 20th in class, Mars quickly reached the top 10 within three laps and was running fourth when the only full-course caution occurred with 16 minutes remaining.


 

Mars slipped into third on the restart 10 minutes later, then into second on the penultimate lap. It set up a drag race to the checkered flag with class leader Gregory Liefooghe (No. 43 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4) from the Daytona Turn 4 banked oval through the dogleg to the finish line. Mars edged the Mustang ahead to win by 0.051 seconds.


 

“Coming down to the last lap, I knew that’s when I had to make my move,” Mars said. “I just used the draft on Greg, was able to get just close enough to where I could pop out and then it was a battle to the line and the Mustang was able to beat out the BMW.”


 

And give the new Mustang GT4 a memorable win in its first race anywhere.


 

“The Ford guys have been working really hard,” he said, “and for us to get the first win for the new car, it’s just an awesome feeling.”


 

Aghakhani and Mars will start on their respective class poles in Sunday’s race, which streams live on Peacock at 12:20 p.m. ET.

 

 


 

Practice Results | WeatherTech Championship

Roar Before the Rolex 24

Daytona International Speedway - Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024

Practice 4 Results

Practice 3 Results

Practice 2 Results

Practice 1 Results


 

Additional results are available at results.imsa.com.

 

 


 

Strong Start for Defending GTP Champion Derani, No. 31 Whelen Cadillac

2024 WeatherTech Championship Gets Rolling with the Roar Before the Rolex 24



January 19, 2024

By John Oreovicz

IMSA Wire Service

Session 1 Results

 

Session 2 Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Just 97 days since the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship concluded, 59 car/driver combinations took to the track at Daytona International Speedway to mark the start of the new season with Roar Before the Rolex 24 test sessions.


 

Defending Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class champion Pipo Derani set the overall pace, lapping the 3.56-mile Daytona road course that incorporates the iconic NASCAR banking in 1 minute, 35.217 seconds (134.598 mph) in the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R during the second of Friday’s 90-minute practices. That was exactly 0.4 seconds faster than Nick Tandy managed in Session 1 in the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963, and 0.377 seconds better than the next-best Session 2 lap, achieved by Connor De Phillippi in the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8.


 

Derani actually turned three laps late in Session 2 that eclipsed De Phillippi’s best.


 

“It’s just getting back to the rhythm,” Derani remarked. “Everyone has been on holidays – well not on holidays, but just trying to prepare for the comeback. Like I’ve said before, you’ve got to be on your toes. It was a good day, but you’ve got to keep digging.


 

“It’s great to be back,” he added. “I think the three of us (Derani and co-drivers Jack Aitken and defending Rolex 24 winner Tom Blomqvist) are running fairly similar, and we want the same thing from the car. We still have our program to go through, but we are ticking those boxes and hopefully we’ll be as ready as we can for the race week.”


 

Katherine Legge posted the best lap of the day among all GT cars, also topping the Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class in Session 1. She took advantage of the cool initial late-morning conditions to extract a 1:46.289 lap (120.577 mph) out of the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 she shares with Sheena Monk, Tatiana Calderon and Stevan McAleer.


 

“A very good start for us,” Legge said. “Obviously, nobody necessarily wants to win practice, but I think it’s a good omen that we have the speed to be competitive next week which is when it counts. With a twin-turbo engine and it being cold this morning, we were as fast as I think we are going to be. But we wanted to see what it was going to be like, and I think we’re in the mix.”


 

Jan Heylen was the fastest GTD driver in Session 2 at 1:46.741 (120.066 mph) in the No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) fielded by Wright Motorsports that is carrying a livery representing “Chip Hart Racing” for an upcoming Apple Original Films production starring Brad Pitt.


 

Meanwhile, Ford’s ambitious program for the new Mustang GT3 got off to a good start, with Christopher Mies’ 1:46.494 lap (120.345 mph) in Session 2 topping the GTD PRO class. It was also a good day for Italian manufacturers, as Lamborghini ran 1-2 in GTD PRO in Session 1, headed by Matteo Cressoni in Iron Lynx Racing’s No. 60. Ferrari was also represented in the top three in both GTD classes in both sessions.


 

In the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class, emerging open-wheel star Christian Rasmussen was quickest in the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA LMP2 07 at 1:39.674 (128.579 mph) in Session 2.


 

“Very happy to start off the week like this – that’s always what you want,” Rasmussen said. “We improved the car a lot for Session 2. We’ll keep on working at it and see what we can do for the race. It’s one thing to put down a lap that’s fast, but we need to have a race car that’s works well over the course of a stint or a race.”


 

Roar Before the Rolex 24 activities continue at Daytona for the next two days. Saturday’s action features three test sessions for the WeatherTech Championship, including two hours of nighttime track time, while Sunday is highlighted by qualifying for the Rolex 24 starting at 1:55 p.m. ET and streaming live on Peacock and IMSA.tv.