Corvette Racing has kicked off the 2016 racing season by triumphing at the 54th Rolex 24 at Daytona over the weekend. Two Corvette C7.Rs claimed 1st and 2nd place in the GTLM category with an incredible photo finish separated by only 0.034 seconds. The overall win went to top prototype team, Tequila Patrón ESM with the #2 Honda Ligier JS P2. JDC Miller Motorsports scooped the win in the Prototype Challenge class while Magnus Racing won the GTD class in their #44 Audi R8 LMS.
24 Hours of Daytona 2016 Results
|Prototype||#2 Honda Ligier JS P2 (Tequila Patrón ESM)||Pipo Derani, Johannes van Overbeek, Ed Brown and Scott Sharp|
|Prototype Challenge||#85 Hi-Tide Boat Lifts/Red Line Oil ORECA FLM09 (JDC-Miller Motorsports)||Chris Miller, Misha Goikhberg, Stephen Simpson and Kenton Koch.
|GTLM||#4 Corvette C7.R (Corvette Racing)||Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler|
|GTD||#44 Audi R8 LMS (Magnus Racing)||Rene Rast, Andy Lally, John Potter and Marco Seefried|
The 2016 Daytona 24 Hours proved to be a competitive race with a whopping 76 lead changes, the eventual winner, 22-year old Pipo Derani took the lead with only one hour left to go. He took advantage of the stretch and managed to extend the gap over his rivals before sealing an incredible win for the Tequila Patrón ESM team. Derani was joined by his fellow teammate Johannes van Overbeek and car owners Ed Brown and Scott Sharp. This was the first overall victory for Honda and Ligier.
Speaking about his win, Derani said, “The last two hours and a half was pretty tough, pretty intense, with the Taylor brothers pushing us really hard trying to victory. I was trying to not make any mistakes and keep the gap. To increase the gap up to the end was amazing. I need to thank my team for the amazing car they gave me.”
Sharing the podium with Derani was Max Angelelli who crossed the finish line 26 seconds later in the #10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP. He shared the car with brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor and Formula One legend Rubens Barrichello. The #90 Corvette DP of Visit Florida claimed P3 in this class, the car was piloted by Ryan Dalziel, Marc Goossens and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
The #2 Ford Chip Ganassi EcoBoost Riley faced brake problems and fell back further when Kyle Larson crashed. The team finished 7th in class.
The #85 Hi-Tide Boat Lifts/Red Line Oil ORECA FLM09 dominated this class even after spinning in the 15th hour. The team had a lead of 19 laps when the incident happened, they lost 10 laps but managed to drive safely all the way to the chequered flag. Fielded by JDC-Miller Motorsports, the team comprised of Chris Miller, Misha Goikhberg, Stephen Simpson and Kenton Koch.
Last year’s Rolex 24 winner Tom Kimber-Smith finished second in this class in the #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA FLM09. He shared the car with Robert Alon, Jose Gutierrez and Nicolas Boulle. Third in this class was the #20 BAR1 Motorsports car driven by Brendan Gaughan, Johnny Mowlem, Tomy Drissi, Marc Drumwright and Ricardo Vera.
The Corvette C7.R might just be the best GT race car in the world right now, the Corvette Racing team has already proven this starting with last year’s wins at Le Mans 24 Hours and the 12 Hours of Sebring. The team scored another hat trick yesterday after winning the Daytona 24 Hours with a 1-2 photo finish.
Oliver Gavin flashed across the finish line first in the #4 Corvette C7.R leading Antonio Garcia in the #3 Corvette C7.R. The two were only split by a mere 0.034 seconds, the closest finish ever in the history of Daytona 24 Hours. The last 20 minutes were incredibly hot with Garcia and Gavin fighting over the edge of glory. At one point, Garcia passed Gavin but ran wide allowing Gavin to retake the lead.
Corvette Racing program manager, Doug Fehan said, “What you saw today was simply the two best road racers in the world with the two best cars in the world. You’d be hard pressed to find a better race than this. You don’t spend 23.5 hours working this hard and not let those guys continue to race.”
Gavin was co-driven by Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler while Garcia shared the #3 car with Jan Magnussen and DTM star Mike Rockenfeller. 2015 Le Mans winner Earl Bamber claimed the final spot on the podium in the #912 Porsche 911 RSR and was co-driven by Michael Christensen and Frederic Makowiecki.
The GTLM class also saw the race debut of the new Ferrari 488 GTE, BMW M6 GTLM and the new Ford GTLM. The Ferrari did fairly well, with the #68 car of Pier Guidi, Premat, Serra and Rojas finishing fourth in class. The #25 BMW M6 GTLM finished fifth ahead of the #62 Ferrari 488 GTE.
The Ford GTLMs were not strong enough with the best placed car (#86) finishing 7th in class and 31st overall, the #67 sister car finished 9th in class and 40th overall.
GT Daytona (GTD)
The GTD class had its fair share of competition with key runners including Lamborghini, Dodge and Audi. The eventual winner was Magnus Racing in the #44 Audi R8 LMS, proving once again the perfection of the new Audi R8 LMS. The win was not an easy one though, the #28 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 had taken the lead with nine minutes left in the race but ran out of fuel with only three minutes to go.
Rene Rast in the Magnus Racing Audi drove conservatively to eventually take the win ahead of the #540 Black Swan Porsche 911 GT3-R. Rast was co-driven by Andy Lally, John Potter and Marco Seefried while the Black Swan team comprised of Nicky Catsburg, Patrick Long, Timothy Pappas and Andy Pilgrim.
Third on the podium in the GTD class was the #93 ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper GT3-R piloted by Ben Keating, Jeff Mosing, Damien Faulkner, Gar Robinson and Eric Foss.
The next race on the IMSA calendar will be the 12 Hours of Sebring which will be held on March 16 at the Sebring International Raceway.