Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) the #10 Cadillac DPi driven by Jordan Taylor, Kamui Kobayashi, Fernando Alonso and Renger van der Zande has won the 57th running of the Rolex 24 at a washed-out Daytona Raceway and a race that was disrupted by two justified red flag periods.
The race was shaping to be a classic with ultra low attrition and a pace that would have seen the distance smash through 800 laps, but with around 8-hours 30mins remaining the weather changed from a cool night into a series of rain storms that varied in intensity from spitting to monsoon-like. At times the race resembled more of a lottery with conditions changing from one lap to the next, and in particular the high speed sweeping entry into Turn one off the banking proving to be a repelling magnet for cars to fly in many directions. The race finally went Red with 2-hours remaining, and the order may be open to revision as the survival lottery and instincts of drivers where tested in the extreme.
The battle in DPi progressed from a Mazda/Cadillac fight into a Cadillac/Acura conflict with few others getting a look in. More often than not the WTR and Whelan Cadillacs were leading protaganists, with moments of intervention by the Acura Team Penske pursuit team. The stand-outs came from stints by Fernando Alonso and in equal equipment it maybe puts a few of those who dispute his talents to rest.. once again.. Given that any advantage was always reined in by the plethora of Full Course Yellows (FCYs) the result can be seen as both fair and acceptable.
Of the four starters in LMP2 only two remainded competitive to the flag with the #18 Dragonspeed Oreca just outpacing the #38 Performance Tech car. The #88 Dragonspeed was unfortuate to go off late in the race whilst leading the category by 3-laps, but recovered to come home a somewhat distant third.
For GTLM the lottery result brought an emotional conclusion to the race with the #25 BMW Team RLL on top. Emotional, given the sad news on the eve of the race of the loss of Charly Lamm a stallwart of the brand for so much of his long and distinguished career at Schnitzer. In second the #62 Risi Ferrari 488 came home with some impressive stint times from James Calado. Third place goes to the #67 Castrol-liveried Ford GT of Chip Ganassi Racing delayed by an early extended penalty for pitting incorrectly on a closed pit lane.
The GTD category mirrored in competitive terms the above result, varied and a lottery given the final 20 minutes of green flag running and associated offs. The #11 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 won out, followed by the #29 Audi R8 LMS GT3 and in third the #12 Lexus RC F GT3.
Mother Nature was the winner today, she allowed us to have our fun for over fifteen hours, but when the storms closed in as hard as we tried, we looked like kids playing with their toys in the bath!
We will remember some awesome battles during this race, some marvelous dust-ups and quite incredible saves by drivers. but all in all it whetted the appetite for the next round at Sebring and next year’s 58th running of the Rolex24 hopefully under more stable Floridian conditions.
The provisional standings of the Top-20 finishers is as follows –