Rolex 24 GTD class pole winner, others penalized (UPDATED)

1 Comment

UPDATE (8:58 p.m. ET): Post-qualifying inspection failures have resulted in three cars having their Rolex 24 at Daytona qualifying times disallowed, including the GTD class pole-winning No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8.

Christopher Haase had taken the No. 48 to P1 on the GTD charts but IMSA officials found an unapproved rear wing endplate on the Audi and have subsequently sent it to the rear of the field for Saturday’s race.

Another quick GTD machine, the No. 46 Fall Line Motorsports Audi R8, has suffered the same fate because of a ride-height violation. The car had originally qualified third in the class.

Finally, the No. 78 Starworks Motorsport Prototype was popped in inspection for both a ride-height violation and the use of an unapproved aerodynamic device. Brendon Hartley had originally put the No. 78 third on both the overall and Prototype grids.

With all of that taken into account, the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia (GRAND-AM GT driver’s champion Alessandro Balzan/Toni Vilander/Jeff Westphal/Lorenzo Case) has been elevated to pole in GTD. Corsa’s sister Ferrari, the No. 65, is now second on the class grid, and the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 shall line up third.

As for the Prototype grid, everyone from fourth on back will now move up one position.

GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing took the overall and P class pole position in the hands of Alex Gurney, in the No. 99 Corvette DP. Before the penalty to the Starworks No. 78, Gurney’s lap of 1:38.270 led seven straight Daytona Prototypes, with the DeltaWing eighth in the hands of Katherine Legge and the fastest P2 car only 11th, 1.5 seconds behind the overall pole.

Colin Braun followed up his early pace in the day’s two practice sessions to earn the PC class pole in his No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09. Braun, a veteran of several Rolex 24s in DPs and GT cars, said he was adjusting to racing at Daytona with the expanded field of vision from an open cockpit car.

In GTLM, the No. 91 Viper GTS-R, driven by Marc Goossens, posted a flier of 1:44.506 to lead one of the factory Porsche 911s, the second Viper, the No. 4 Corvette C7.R and second Porsche in the class top five.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

Getty Images
Leave a comment

On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home ofΒ Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.