The 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona came to a successful end yesterday after a hard fought race that began on Saturday. Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP won the race in a thrilling finish which was marked by a 10-minute sprint to the checkered flag. All three drivers have won races with Barbosa having won in class at Daytona in 2003, Fittipaldi came 2nd overall in 2004 while Bourdais has 4 title in the Champ Car World Series.
Corvette flawlessly owned the top four finishes and even though the sister C7.Rs which also made debut in this race failed to win in their class, the Corvette DPs represented them pretty well. Brothers Burt and Brian Frisselle and John Martin and Fabien Giroix came third in the No. 9 Action Express Corvette DP, followed by Richard Westbrook, Michael Valiante and Mike Rockenfeller No. 90 Spirit in the Daytona Corvette DP.
ALMS legends Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr finished fifth overall but first in the LMP2 class with Alex Brundle in the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Nissan/ORECA. The No. 25 8Star Motorsports of Enzo Potolicchio, Tom Kimber-Smith, Mike Marsal and Rob Huff finished second in this class followed by the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports of Tomy Drissi, Gabriel Casagrande and Julio Campos.
The race had earlier suffered a 55 minute delay after the pole winning No. 99 GAINSCO Corvette DP driven by Memo Gidley was involved in a crash with the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia driven by Matteo Malucelli. So far, Ford and Chevrolet have tied in the manufacturer’s points.
Then comes the GT classes which comprises of both the GT LeMans and GT Daytona. While the SRT Motorsports had shown early dominance by scooping pole position, things turned around as Porsche North America took the quick win in the factory No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR. They had this win in the final laps taking the lead from BMW Team RLL by 2.838 seconds, the No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE thus finished second, the No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R of Goossens, Dominik Farnbacher and Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third.
The GT Daytona (GTD) class showed one of the best finishes between two hotly driven GTD cars; the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia against the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS. The Ferrari crossed the line first but was disqualified for driving too aggressively and the win was awarded to the Audi but the decision was later on reverted and the Ferrari retained the win. This was Ferrari’s first Rolex 24 win since Gianpiero Moretti’s win in the MOMO Ferrari 333SP in 1998. Third in this class was the No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America.
The TUDOR United Sportscar Championship has started with promising times ahead; as we look forwards to rounds like the the Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda.
Winners In Brief:
P: No. 5 Action Express Racing
GTLM: No. 911 Porsche North America
PC: No. 54 CORE autosport
GTD: No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports