Photo courtesy IMSA

Ford GT, Alegra Porsche, Performance Tech secure Rolex 24 class wins

Leave a comment

While Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R won the marquee Prototype class in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, two of the other three competing classes had exciting finishes as well in the 24-hour endurance race at Daytona International Speedway:

In GTLM, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 66 Ford GT brought home the checkered flag with Dirk Mueller behind the wheel, who teamed with Joey Hand and IndyCar driver Sebastien Bourdais.

Mueller held off the 911 Porsche GT Team’s Porsche 911 RSR, anchored by Patrick Pilet, winning by a 2.988-second margin.

“This is a stressful race,” Hand said. “You’ve got to be on your game. This race is all about the people we have behind us, the guys and gals for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Look what we did in one year. The first race (in the Ford GT) was one year ago with this car and look at what we’ve did in one year. We won Le Mans since then and now we’ve won Daytona.

“We did what we needed to do. Dirk was the man at the end, was in a tough situation and got it done. Thanks to my German brother from another mother (Mueller), he pulled through and it’s all over here.”

Added Bourdais, “I just couldn’t be any more prouder of these guys, Ford and Chip Ganassi Racing. It’s unbelievable the job (Mueller) did at the end to make it stick.”

In GTD, it was both a comeback and an anniversary for Alegra Motorsports. Team owner Carlos de Quesada won the Rolex 10 years ago. Sunday, de Quesada, along with son Michael, Daniel Morad, Jesse Lazare and anchor driver Michael Christensen came from behind to win in their No. 28 Porsche 911 GT3 R.

The 28 held off a strong last lap challenge, defeating the No. 29 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 by a mere 0.293 seconds.

“It was quite exciting,” Christensen told Fox Sports. “We hadn’t been in the lead until the last hour, but that was all according to plan.

“Obviously it’s difficult to make that plan happen in such a long and tough race, but I had to take some deep breaths the last few laps and last caution as well just to keep everything intact and keep focus on. … It was quite intense.

Morad thanked Carlos de Quesada for bringing him onto the team and giving him his first career Rolex start.

“Two years ago, I wasn’t racing,” Morad said. “(Carlos de Quesada) believed in a young driver lineup. It’s only fitting the last hour of the race ended like that.

“This whole thing has been a dream. Allegra won this race 10 years ago. This is the 10-year anniversary. Carlos was running with his son. … Just all Cup champions from the IMSA Development Series. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”

Lastly, in the five-car Prototype Challenge field, the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 – anchored in the final segments by Nicholas Boulle – cruised to an easy victory.

The No. 38 – which also included drivers James French, Patricio O’Ward and Kyle Masson – finished 22 laps ahead of its closest rival, the No. 26 Oreca FLM09 of BAR1 Motorsports.

NOTES: Sunday’s win in GTD marked the 77th class win for Porsche in the Rolex 24, while the GTLM win earned Ford its 27th class win.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
1 Comment

INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)