TUSC: Audi reveals a potent five-car Rolex 24 lineup for GTD

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Audi nearly swept the GT class podium in the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona, ending 1-2 with Alex Job Racing and APR Motorsport. In what’s looking like a stacked GT Daytona (GTD) class field already for 2014, the manufacturer announced potent lineups for all five of its R8s this time around in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season opener.

Flying Lizard Motorsports, which shifts to Audi after a long stint with Porsche, will field two R8s. Its two full-season American Le Mans Series pairings of 2013, Seth Neiman and Dion von Moltke (No. 35) and Spencer Pumpelly and Nelson Canache (No. 45), will anchor their two cars at Daytona. Additional drivers are Filipe Albuquerque and Alessandro Latif (No. 35) and Markus Winkelhock and Tim Pappas (No. 45).

Paul Miller Racing, Fall-Line Motorsports and GMG Racing will field an Audi apiece. Miller’s son Bryce leads the No. 48 car’s lineup alongside co-drivers Rene Rast, Christopher Haase and Matt Bell. Fall-Line has announced a pair of Charles – Espenlaub and Putman – for a full-season in its No. 46 R8, joined at Daytona by Brits Oliver Jarvis and James Walker. GMG features James Sofronas and Alex Welch, Audi drivers for the team in the Pirelli World Challenge, with Marc Basseng and Frank Stippler alongside in the No. 32.

“We competed at Daytona a year ago in order to highlight the qualities of the R8,” Romolo Liebchen, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, said in a release. “We achieved this perfectly after taking a one-two finish in the GT class. Since then, demand in the USA has risen sharply. We are delighted that four teams now rely on the Audi R8 LMS to begin the TUSCC – particularly as all four teams have a good reputation in the USA. We are intrigued to see how they will measure up at Daytona and in the other races.”

The GTD class is designed to feature a pro-am format, but all of these lineups have maximized their driver combinations with a balance of true pros, 2013 Silver-rated drivers who could be considered pros, and fast gentlemen drivers. That’s the key to success in modern endurance sports car racing; eliminating as many weak links as possible.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.