Rolex 24 Daytona 2021 – This Sunday, January 31, 2021, the Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque Alexander Rossi and Hélio Castroneves crew won the 24 Hours of Daytona after a stunning final. Simon Pagenaud is 2nd, Olivier Pla 4th. Seven French are the podiums in the three prototype categories!
The planet Endurance has started the 2021 season with a first extraordinary meeting: the 24 Hours of Daytona of madness.
Wayne Taylor Racing have taken a record third consecutive victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in a nailbiting finale that went right down to the wire.
The race in DPi was a story between Cadillac and Acura, as the lone Mazda in the race suffered problems from the very start and was never really a contender in the race.
In the early hours, Mustang Sampling and Whelen Engineering both laid claim to the race lead, with the latter starting from pole position. As the darkness setted in, however, Chip Ganassi Racing made its way it the front.
That set the stage for a lead battle between Mustang Sampling’s Sebastien Bourdais and Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon. When Bourdais then had to serve a penalty, the fight evolved to Renger van der Zande and Ally Cadillac Racing’s Kamui Kobayashi, who won the previous two editions of the race together.
Kobayashi came out on top in the fight and led the race at the eight-hour mark, but the #48 Cadillac DPi-VR dropped back somewhat when Jimmie Johnson took over.
That allowed Acura to enter the fray for the overall lead for the first time, with Filipe Albuquerque taking the race lead in the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 away from Chip Ganassi’s Kevin Magnussen at the halfway point.
Albuquerque lost the lead again after a brake change, and the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac regained the lead headed into the early hours of the morning, with Van der Zande fending off a failed challenge from Kobayashi into turn one, which resulted in a spin for the Japanese driver.
Wayne Taylor Racing then regained the lead on Sunday morning due to some quick pit work, after which Kevin Magnussen challenged for and captured the lead in the #01 Cadillac by passing Alexander Rossi, but the Chip Ganassi entry dropped out of contention when Magnussen had to serve a drivethrough penalty.
At around the same time, Whelen Engineering’s challenge for victory also fell apart when the #31 Cadillac DPi-VR suffered a gearbox failure. Chip Ganassi Racing too was left out of contention when Scott Dixon’s charge up the field after the earlier penalty was halted due to a major puncture on the oval.
The subsequent puncture bunched the pack right back up, and the leading Acura was then challenged by the #55 Mazda RT24-P, which had made its way back to the lead lap after recovering from multiple issues. It then came down to a tense finale in which Renger van der Zande chased down Filipe Albuquerque, which ended when Van der Zande yet again suffered a puncture.
As a result, Albuquerque, Rickt Taylor, Alexander Rossi and Helio Castroneves took the win in the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05, the third consecutive Daytona win for the illustrious team.
Kamui Kobayashi, Simon Pagenaud, Mike Rockenfeller and Jimmie Johnson took second in the #48 Action Express Cadillac DPi-VR. The #55 Mazda RT24-P of Harry Tincknell, Oliver Jarvis and Jonathan Bomarito came back from several laps down to finish third.
Rolex 24 Daytona – Era Motorsport take first IMSA win in style
LMP2 was won by Era Motorsport in a battle that came down to just two teams.
The battle basically came down to Era’s #18 ORECA 07-Gibson and the #8 Tower Motorsport ORECA 07-Gibson after the #47 Cetilar Racing Dallara P217-Gibson fell away with mechanical issues after the halfway mark, leaving the three entries down to fight for the win. With all other LMP2 contenders suffering crashed, including early retirnemt for the #81 DragonSpeed ORECA as well Racing Team Nederland and High Class Racing, the three IMSA regulars were left to fight for victory.
Heartbreakingly, with just over three hours remaining, DragonSpeed’s final push for a third consecutive LMP2 win came to an end when Fabian Schiller brought the #82 ORECA 07-Gibson into the pits with an oil leak, narrowing the LMP2 fight down to Era Motorsport and Tower Motorsport.
The fight between Era Motorsport and Tower Motorsport got a major twist with under two hours remaining. Matthieu Vaxiviere managed to put the #8 Tower Motorsport ORECA ahead of Ryan Dalziel’s #18 Era Motorsport ORECA 07-Gibson after a slow lap for Dalziel. Vaxiviere, however, had to serve a drivethrough penalty for jumping the start and Dalziel was promoting back into the lead.
Follwong a last-minute stop by Tower Motorsport, the win went to the #18 ORECA of Paul-Loup Chatin, Ryan Dalziel, Dwight Merriman and Kyle Tilley. John Farano, Gabriel Aubry, Timothe Buret and Matthieu Vaxiviere finished second for Tower Motorsport, with Eric Lux, Devlin DeFrancesco, Christopher Mies and Fabian Schiller third for DragonSpeed.
Rolex 24 Daytona – Corvette one-two in GTLM
Corvette Racing took its first Rolex 24 win since 2016 after a tightly contested race that kicked off in bizarre fashion.
Kevin Estre, driving the #79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19, was rear-ended by the #25 BMW M8 GTE of Bruno Spengler while coming to the green flag. The resulting damage brought out the first caution, and ended their race before it had effectively begun.
In Porsche’s absence, Corvette quickly established a strangehold on the class, effectively only opposed by the Risi Competizione Ferrari and and the two BMWs, including a tight battle between the two Corvettes and BMW’s Connor de Philippi on Sunday morning.
The Corvettes seemed unstoppable, until the team stumbled with under two hours remaining. A pitstop issue and subsequent penalty for Nick Catsburg dropped the #3 Corvette C8.R out of contention, while Augusto Farfus passed Alexander Sims in the #24 BMW M8 GTE to take the lead, although Sims managed to take the lead back in the #4 Corvette not much later.
A pitstop cycle later, however, Farfus got back in front once more, but again Corvette fought back, with Jordan Taylor this time taking the lead in the #3 Corvette.
In the end, Taylor, Antonio Garcia and Nick Catsburg took the win ahead of the #4 of Nick Tandy, Tommy Milner and Alexander Sims. The podium was completed by Augusto Farfus, John Edwards, Marco Wittmann and Jesse Krohn in the #24 BMW M8 GTE.
Rolex 24 Daytona – Difficult debut for LMP3
LMP3 had a somewhat underwhelming debut in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, with multiple incidents for LMP3 runners and a number of cars suffering mechanical problems.
The #74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 of Gar Robinson, Scott Andrews, Oliver Askew and Spencer Pigot took a comfortable win in the end. They won by several laps to the #33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier of Joao Barbosa, Lance Willsey, Yann Clairay and Wayne Boyd.
Mercedes score one-two to break Lamborghini GTD streak
After an extremely entertaining scrap ended in controversy, GTD was won by Winward Racing.
The #57 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo captured the race lead in the early hours of the night after the pair of Vasser Sullivan Lexus runners fell away, and carried it throughout much of the darkness.
Sunday morning then brought a terrific fight with the #21 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo, with the two cars battling within seconds of each other for several hours and swapping positions on several occasions.
What could have been a battle that raged all the way to the end concluded in drama within hours of the finish, as Matteo Cressoni made contact with Philip Ellis at turn one, sending the Ferrari spinning into the barriers and suffering a puncture.
While the Ferrari’s challenge was over, the Mercedes escaped unscathed and was able to keep out of trouble to take a commanding win.
Ellis, Russell Ward, Indy Dontje and Maro Engel took the win, ahead of the #75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Kenny Habul, Mikael Grenier, Luca Stolz and Raffaele Marciello third.
The #1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers, Corey Lewis and Andrea Caldarelli completed the podium.
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