In a last-ditch effort to challenge for overall victory, Wayne Taylor Racing swapped out an ill Jordan Taylor for Max Angelelli for a final run to the flag, but it wasn’t enough to prevent ESM‘s Pipo Derani surging to victory, by a final winning margin of 26.166sec. Taylor emerged from his stint complaining of a vibration and also a possible exhaust fume leak into the cockpit and, having taken the flag in second, Angelelli pulled over to the side of the track – and would be subsequently taken to hospital for evaluation.
Ryan Hunter-Reay Visit Florida #90 Corvette DP finished third – on the lead lap but approximately 90sec behind the winner. The #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP was fourth, Brendon Hartley fifth in the #01 Ganassi Riley-Ford.
In GTLM, Oliver Gavin emerged from his final pitstop right ahead of Earl Bamber‘s Porsche, but on cold tires, the Corvette couldn’t stay ahead. Once Antonio Garcia pitted the #3 for his final splash-and-dash, the Bamber/Gavin battle became the lead battle, but with Garcia right behind. With 38mins to go, Gavin muscled past the Porsche, nudging the #912 wide and then pulling away. Shortly thereafter, it was Garcia’s turn to pass Bamber.
After the two Corvette GTLM cars got around the class leading #912 Porsche 911 towards the end of this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan gave his drivers permission to race each other. Garcia briefly took the lead from Gavin until wrong-footed by traffic. After some thrilling nerve-wracking side-by-side action, Gavin edged Garcia across the line by a mere 0.034sec.
In GTD, a late off by Richie Stanaway in the #98 Aston Martin appeared to add to the comfort of the Magnus Racing team, for whom Rene Rast led in the #44 Audi R8. It also handed second place to the Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan, driven by Fabio Babini. However, both Rast and Babini were in major fuel conservation mode in the closing laps. With less than 10 minutes to go, Rast was ordered by the pits to allow the Lamborghini through, yet Babini didn’t pull away and instead the pair were being caught hand over fist by Nicky Catsburg in the Black Swan Racing Porsche. Finally, Babini slowed and had to pit from his brief lead, Rast trickled home to win, with Catsburg 3.048sec shy at the checkered flags. The No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper was third.
Kenton Koch guided the #85 JDC-Miller Oreca across the line to win Prototype Challenge by three laps, ahead of PR1/Mathiasen’s #52 car.
Ahead of its assault on Le Mans, under Chip Ganassi, the Ford GT’s racing debut had been the big story leading into the Rolex 24. However by hour three, though, it was clear class victory wasn’t going to be, either. Both GTs suffered issues, revolving around electrics, brakes and gearboxes, putting them 15 laps apiece off class best. Both cars finished, though, and on their competition debut. Disappointment within the team, as ongoing issues kicked them further out of touch, turned to pure emotion at the chequered flag.
“I have mixed feelings. I’m not sure ‘well done’ was the first thing that came to my mind, but certainly the reliability issues we had are not unusual for a first time program, first time out,” said Ford group vice president Raj Nair.
“We’ve got the right team, drivers and partners, we just need some time to get miles on the car and sort out those issues. She’s fast and she’s pretty, but she’s temperamental right now. The guys are on the trailer right now, checking parts, and we were working on data during the race. The one thing we can’t buy is time. We’ve got a great bunch of guys: everyone is positive and it looks like we’ve got something here. But at the same time, you don’t win races in the garage. We’ve got to get the reliability fixed. But given a choice at this point of the program, I’d rather have the car fast and us having to fix the reliability, than a slow, reliable car that we don’t know how to make fast.
2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona Results:
Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P2/Honda #2 – Scott Sharp, Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek, Pipo Derani
Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype #10 – Rubens Barrichello, Max Angelelli, Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor
VisitFlorida.com Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype #90 – Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ryan Dalziel, Marc Goosens
JDC Miller Motorsports #85 Oreca FLM09 – Kenton Koch, Misha Goikhberg, Stephen Simon, Chris Miller
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports #20 Oreca FLM09 – Tom Kimber-Smith, Robert Alon, Jose Guttierez, Nicholas Boulle
BAR1 Motorsports #20 Oreca FLM09 – Tomy Drissi, Johnny Mowlem, Ricardo Vera, Brendan Gaughan
GT Le Mans
Corvette Racing #4 Corvette C7.R – Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler
Corvette Racing #3 Corvette C7.R – Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller
Porsche North America #912 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Earl Bamber, Frederic Makowiecki, Michael Christensen
Magnus Racing #44 Audi R8 LMS – Rene Rast, John Potter, Andy Lally, Marco Seefried
Black Swan Racing #540 Porsche 911 GT3 R – Timothy Pappas, Nick Castburg, Andy Pilgrim, Patrick Long
Riley Motorsports #93 Dodge Viper – Gar Robinson, Jeff Mosing, Eric Foss, Damien Faulkner