2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona
When it comes to top classes, Le Mans is somehow predictable, but the second most famous 24 hours race in the world, the Rolex Daytona 24 Hours was packed with excitement as Chip Ganassi Racing team claimed its sixth victory, taking the title away from Action Express Racing, who dominated the opening race of Tudor United SportsCar Championship in the previous year.
With just 1.33 seconds apart, Riley-Ford Ecoboost DP driven by Scott Dixon and shared by Toni Kanaan, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson crossed the finish line followed by a Coyote Corvette DP driven by Action Express Racing’s driver Sébastien Bourdais, who shared the cockpit with Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa. Wayne Taylor Racing’s Chevrolet lost both the first and the second place, leaving them a minute behind the winning two cars. During the penultimate round of pitstops, Dixon took the lead from Ricky Taylor, but Taylor had to stop while the pits were closed in order not to break a rule of driving more than four hours in any six hour period, which cost him a drive-through penalty and the second place. That way, the Action Express Racing car was back in the game, closing down a three-lap gap after problems with fuel pressure which left it stranded on the track. Unfortunately, a five-time overall winner Scott Pruett had to retire around 1:00 pm due to clutch issues.
With twenty six laps behind, the best Prototype Challenge car was PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca, winning by a lap over BAR 1 Motorsports’ car. The winning car was driven by Mike Guasch, Andrew Novich, Andrew Palmer and Tom Kimber-Smith.
In the GT Le Mans class, the winners were Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Ryan Briscoe in a Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. With 30 seconds behind was the BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE driven by Dirk Werner and shared with Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler. The third place in GTLM class went to the other Corvette Racing crew, with Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Simon Pagenaud.
The GTD class was claimed by Riley Motorsports and the Dodge Viper shared by Ben Keating, Kuno Wittmer, Dominik Farnbacher, Cameron Lawrence and Al Carter. With seven seconds behind, on the second place was the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America shared by Shane van Gisbergen, Andrew Davis, Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil.
This year’s race will also be marked by several strange accidents, like the two factory Porsches taking each other out from the race, or the death of a possum that wandered onto the track and had a close encounter with Magnus Racing’s Andy Lally, a devout animal rights advocate and a vegan, forcing him out of the race due to oil leak.
This year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona was undoubtedly a cliffhanger, so we have great expectations when it comes to the rest of the season. Mobil 1 Tvelwe Hours of Sebring is the next event on the calendar, so mark down March 18th in your calendar!