IMSA: Former PC champ Guasch returning to full-time competition in 2015

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The last time Michael Guasch competed in a full season, he became the last Prototype Challenge driver’s champion in the American Le Mans Series.

Guasch will certainly be hoping for another title in his return to full-time action this season, which was announced today by the team he won the 2013 ALMS PC crown with, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports.

He will co-drive the team’s No. 52 ORECA FLM09 through the entire 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship alongside newcomer Andrew Novich, who finished second in last year’s Prototype Lites standings.

Guasch is looking forward to working with Novich and knocking any rust off that he may have.

“All of the recent changes to the PC class should make for close competition and the schedule is better than ever,” he said in a team release. “It’ll be great to drive with Andrew all year as well. Both of us are [Northern California] guys and I’m hoping we can spend a lot of time training together and even hitting up the kart track at Sonoma throughout the year.

“We had a great test earlier this year [at Buttonwillow Raceway Park], my fitness is at an all time high, and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports always engineers one of the fastest cars in the class.  We are looking to have everything we’ll need to repeat and expand upon our 2013 successes.”

Novich comes off an interesting 2014 season that saw him excel despite having to transition to higher-downforce machines with the Lites cars.

He believes that it’s given him a solid baseline for 2015 and working with the ORECA in the TUDOR Championship.

“My first year in Lites was eye opening, just getting used to the horsepower ratio and high downforce levels,” Novich recalled. “They were a blast to drive, making my transition to the PC car much easier. In all honesty, the PC car is a dream to drive, but it definitely keeps you on the edge during the high speed corners.”

The PC category is also undergoing a series of technical changes ahead of the new year as well, adding to the challenge. Nonetheless, team owner Bobby Oergel expects the Guasch-Novich combo to be contenders.

“The technical package includes changes to the ride height, pulling out the air restrictor, revised engine camshafts, and increases to the downforce package at certain tracks,” Oergel explained in his own thoughts. “It’ll be key to get a handle on these changes as soon as possible and the find those precious tenths needed to run up front in this highly competitive spec category.

“One thing that hasn’t changed is the team’s commitment and dedication to win, so I know we’ll once again be challenging for wins and championships.”

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.