Chip Ganassi Racing claimed its sixth victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the first round of the United Sportscar Championship, by just 1.3 seconds.
The Ford EcoBoost-powered #02 Riley DP of Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray had a largely trouble-free run, albeit engaged in a dogfight with the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP for much of the race. Ganassi retook the lead at the final stops, but WTR’s Jordan Taylor kept the pressure on. WTR’s bid came unstuck, however, just 15 minutes from the end of the race, when the team realised that Taylor was about to exceed the driving time limit, so he forced to pit and hand over to brother Ricky Taylor. As the stop happened whilst the pit was closed during a safety car period, a penalty was incurred which dropped the crew to third.
The late race caution period closed the field up, but Dixon in the #02 car did just enough to hold off the advances of Sebastien Bourdais, driving the #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP with Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa. The pole-sitting Michael Shank Racing HPD finished as the leading LMP2 car, but dropped down to 11th overall.
Corvette Racing claimed GTLM honours. The #3 car of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Ryan Briscoe was well clear of the second-placed #25 Team RLL BMW Z4 after an off-track excursion ripped the car’s back bumper off.
The factory Porsche’s had an embarrassing end to their race. Both of the team’s cars were trying to negotiate a slower GTD class Aston Martin; Earl Bamber in the #912 car got squeezed onto the grass and lost control, taking out the #911 sister car of Marc Lieb as he slewed back onto the track.
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports took the Prototype Challange victory, while the Riley Motorsports Viper prevailed in GTD. Of the sixteen drivers who claimed winner’s trophies at Daytona, only Dixon had done so before. That could well be an endurance racing record for first-time winners.
The United Sportscar Championship continues with the Sebring 12 Hours on 21 March.
Daytona 24 Hours top 10 finishers
- #02 Scott Dixon — Chip Ganassi Racing w/ Felix Sabates Riley-Ford DP — 740 laps
- #5 Sebastien Bourdais — Action Express Racing Coyote Corvette DP — +1.333s
- #10 Ricky Taylor — Wayne Taylor Racing Dallara Corvette DP — +1m05.741s
- #90 Richard Westbrook — Visitflorida.com Racing Coyote Corvette DP — +6 laps
- #3 Antonio Garcia — Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R — +15 laps
- #25 Dirk Werner — BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE — +15 laps
- #31 Phil Keen — Action Express Racing Coyote Corvette DP — +19 laps
- #4 Oliver Gavin — Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R — +22 laps
- #52 Tom Kimber-Smith — PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca-Chevrolet FLM09 — +26 laps
- #16 Johnny Mowlem — BAR1 Motorsports Oreca-Chevrolet FLM09 +27 laps
Prototype: #02 Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray
Chip Ganassi Racing w/ Felix Sabates — Riley-Ford DP
GT Le Mans: #3 Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, Ryan Briscoe
Corvette Racing — Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
Prototype Challenge: #52 Mike Guasch, Andrew Novich, Andrew Palmer, Tom Kimber Smith
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports — Oreca-Chevrolet FLM09
GT Daytona: #93 Ben Keating, Dominik Farnbacher, Al Carter, Kuno Wittmer, Cameron Lawrence
Riley Motorsports — Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R