Photo: IMSA

ESM, Corvette Headline Winners in a Dramatic Rolex 24

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A simply stunning 54th Rolex 24 at Daytona has ended with a dramatic finish and four popular winners in all four classes.

After dominating the majority of the race, Tequila Patron ESM has secured its second overall win in IMSA, first since Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at 2014.

Pipo Derani starred all race, the young Brazilian leading the driving charge along with other strong efforts from Johannes van Overbeek, Scott Sharp and Ed Brown in the team’s No. 2 Ligier JS P2 Honda.

The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP turned in a heroic effort of its own, down on pace by comparison, and then fighting some fumes in the final hour to even make the checkered flag.

Jordan Taylor drove more than expected given an illness, with Ricky Taylor, Max Angelelli and Rubens Barrichello completing the lineup.

Angelelli was transferred to a local hospital for further medical evaluation following the conclusion of the race. IMSA also confirmed as of 4:30 p.m. ET that he is conscious, stable and and being evaluated at a local hospital.

Another Corvette DP finished third, the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing entry driven by Ryan Dalziel, Marc Goossens and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

GT Le Mans provided the grandstand finish, with the two Corvette Racing Corvette C7.Rs unleashed to battle among themselves for the class win. Correspondingly, they produced a 1-2 finish in class with Oliver Gavin managing to hold off the hard-charging Antonio Garcia.

Gavin shared the No. 4 Corvette with Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler.

GT Daytona also featured its share of drama with Konrad Motorsport’s No. 28 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 running out of fuel from the lead in the final three minutes, and the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS making to the line on fumes to claim the team’s second Rolex 24 win (2012). John Potter, Andy Lally, Marco Seefried and Rene Rast shared the car, with Rast providing the expert fuel saving to bring it home.

In a war of attrition in Prototype Challenge, JDC/Miller Motorsports took its first IMSA win with Stephen Simpson, Kenton Koch, Mikhail Goikhberg and Chris Miller in the team’s No. 85 Oreca FLM09.

Koch, the IMSA Prototype Lites champion in his PC debut, went through a roller coaster ride with a fuel reserve issue and a crash that cost the team seven laps, but was the fastest driver of the quartet to win his debut. The win comes on the anniversary of his mom, Karen, getting a new heart – a group photo was taken this weekend for her.

More to follow…

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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