ESM takes first win in thrilling Daytona 24 Hours

The Extreme Speed Motorsport team took victory in an incredibly tightly fought Rolex Daytona 24 Hours that went down to the wire.

Pipo Derani was at the wheel of the #2 Ligier-Honda JSP2 as it crossed the line. The young Argentinian, in his first race for ESM, battled past the Wayne Taylor Racing Dallara Corvette to take the lead with two hours left on the clock and built a 26 second advantage by the time the chequered flag came out. He shared the win with Scott Sharp, Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek.

Jordan Taylor did his best to keep the WTR machine in contention, but the challenge was undone when exhaust fumes leaking into the cockpit meant he had to make an unscheduled stop to be relieved by Max Angelelli.

ESM’s win was the first by an LMP2-spec car in the race since they were introduced alongside the traditional Daytona Prototype machines in 2014. The Michael Shank Racing LMP2 Ligier set the pace in the early running, but retired with engine failure in the tenth hour. Likewise, the pole-sitting SMP Racing BR01 dropped down to 38th place after suffered brake issues.

The Coyote Corvette finished third, the last car on the lead lap.

Meanwhile, the GTLM class saw one of the narrowest victory margins in 24 hour racing history, as the two works Corvettes crossed the line just 0.034secs apart. Having dispatched the #912 Porsche with minutes to go, the two C7.Rs ran nose-to-tail through the closing laps. After more than 2,500 miles of racing, the result was decided on a drag race to the finish line, Oliver Gavin in the #4 machine beating the #3 quite literally by a nose.

The result of the GTD category was almost as close. Nearly out of fuel, Rene Rast coasted the Magnus Racing Audi R8 to the finish just three seconds ahead of Nicky Catsburg in the Black Swan Racing Porsche 911.

The new GTLM-spec Ferrari 488 and BMW M6 both made fine debuts, finished fourth and fifth. But the much-anticipated new Ford GT had a troubled first outing, struggling throughout with gearbox issues. Still, when it worked it was quick and both cars finished, albeit down in 31st and 40th place.

JDC-Miller Motorsports won the Prototype Challenge division by four laps from PR1/Mathieson Motorsports.

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship stays in Florida for the next race, the Sebring 12 Hours on 19 March.

Daytona 24 Hours top 20 finishers after 736 laps

  1. #2 P Scott Sharp/Ed Brown/Johannes van Overbeek/Pipo Derani
    1. Tequila Patron ESM/Ligier-Honda JSP2 — 24:00:34.607
  2. #10 P Ricky Taylor/Jordan Taylor/Max Angelelli/Rubens Barichello
    1. Wayne Taylor Racing/Chevrolet Corvette DP — +26.166
  3. #90 P Ryan Dalziel/Marc Goossens/Ryan Hunter-Reay
    1. Racing/Chevrolet Corvette DP — +1:27.276
  4. #5 P Christian Fittipaldi/Joao Barbosa/Filipe Albuquerque/Scott Pruett
    1. Action Express Racing/Chevrolet Corvette DP — +5 laps
  5. #01 P Lance Stroll/Alex Wurz/Brendon Hartley/Andy Priaulx
    1. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing/Riley-Ford DP — +11 laps
  6. #31 P Dane Cameron/Eric Curran/Simon Pagenaud/Jonny Adam
    1. Action Express Racing/Chevrolet Corvette DP — +12 laps
  7. #4 GTLM Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fassler
    1. Corvette Racing/Chevrolet Corvette C7.R — +14 laps
  8. #3 GTLM Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen/Mike Rockenfeller
    1. Corvette Racing/Chevrolet Corvette C7.R — +14 laps
  9. #912 GTLM Earl Bamber/Frederic Makowiecki/Michael Christsensen
    1. Porsche North America/Porsche 911 RSR — +14 laps
  10. #68 GTLM Alessandro Pier Guidi/Alexander Premat/Daniel Serra/Memo Rojas
    1. Scuderia Corsa/Ferrari 488 GTE — +15 laps
  11. #25 GTLM Bill Auberlen/Dirk Werner/Augusto Farfus/Bruno Spengler
    1. BMW Team RLL/BMW M6 GTLM — +15 laps
  12. #62 GTLM Giancarlo Fisichella/Toni Vilander/Davide Rigon/Olivier Beretta
    1. Risi Competizione/Ferrari 488 GTE — +27 laps
  13. #02 P Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan/Jamie McMurray/Kyle Larson
    1. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing/Riley-Ford DP — +28 laps
  14. #44 GTD John Potter/Andy Lally/Marco Seefried/Rene Rast
    1. Magnus Racing/Audi R8 LMS GT3 — + 33 laps
  15. #540 GTD Tim Pappas/Nicky Catsburg/Patrick Long/Andy Pilgrim
    1. Black Swan Racing/Porsche 991 GT3-R — +33 laps
  16. #93 GTD Ben Keating/Gar Robinson/Jeff Mosing/Eric Foss/Damien Faulkner
    1. Riley Motorsports/Dodge Viper GT3.R — +33 laps
  17. #98 GTD Paul Dalla Lana/Pedro Lamy/Mathias Lauda/Richie Stanaway
    1. Aston Martin Racing/Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 — +34 laps
  18. #85 PC Chris Miller/Misha Goikhberg/Stephen Simpson/Kenton Koch
    1. JDC-Miller Motorsports/Oreca-Chevrolet FLM09 — +34 laps
  19. #28 GTD Rolf Ineichen/Lance Willsey/Franz Konrad/Fabio Babini/Marc Basseng
    1. Konrad Motorsport/Lamborghini Huracan GT3 — +34 laps
  20. #97 GTD Michael Marsal/Markus Palttala/Maxime Martin/Jesse Krohn
    1. Turner Motorsports/BMW M6 GT3 — +35 laps

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By Only Motors

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