Sports cars: DeltaWing, van der Zande, Acura and more in news

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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There’s quite a bit of news that’s come down in the land of sports cars in the last 24-48 hours or so.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • The DeltaWing won’t race at 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Despite Dr. Don Panoz’s announcement to the contrary at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Petit Le Mans, which seemed to catch most off guard, the radical DeltaWing will not in fact race next year’s season opener. The car had got a one-race grandfathering extension but opted not to pursue it. “We have decided not to race in the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona. It has been an incredible four years racing the most innovative car on the track, but as a lean organization Don Panoz decided to focus our efforts on other DeltaWing and Panoz projects.”
  • Panoz has still hired Tom Milner though to lead Panoz Racing. Veteran team owner and manager Tom Milner has been hired to spearhead Panoz Racing’s development of a GT4-spec racing program based on the Panoz Avezzano, the company’s new two-seat aluminum-intensive sports car powered by a front mid-engine mounted American V8. He has worked with Panoz before. A full release is linked here.
  • Van der Zande joins Visit Florida Racing. Renger van der Zande will replace Ryan Dalziel as Marc Goossens’ full season co-driver in the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing prototype, which is a new Riley Technologies Mk. 30 Gibson. This is a good move for both parties; although van der Zande hasn’t driven either DP or LMP2-spec cars the last few years – he’s starred in PC with Starworks Motorsport, and won this year’s title – the Dutch driver is a natural to step up given his evolution in sports cars, and he’s renowned as very quick.
  • Acura has confirmed its endurance drivers. Mark Wilkins and Tom Dyer will be the respective third drivers for Michael Shank Racing’s Acura NSX GT3 program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup (four races) and will also run with RealTime Racing in their Acuras in Pirelli World Challenge SprintX races, along with Ryan Eversley and Peter Kox. Specific driver groupings haven’t been determined yet; MSR’s four full-time drivers are Andy Lally, Ozz Negri, Jeff Segal and Katherine Legge, and Honda could opt for IndyCar drivers as their fourth drivers in either the No. 86 and/or No. 93 Acuras at the Rolex 24.
  • Mazda, Porsche reveals set for Wednesday in L.A. The Mazda DPi and new Porsche 911 RSR will be revealed on Wednesday at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.
  • Land Motorsport, Ebimotors set for Daytona. Connor De Phillippi strongly hinted at it when we spoke earlier this month, but now his Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi team is confirmed to run the Rolex 24 at Daytona (more here from DailySportsCar and more on site from Daytona from Sportscar365). It’s cool to see this as one of several European teams set to run next January. Ebimotors, additionally, is also set to run (more here from Sportscar365).
  • Daytona testing for some, Sebring testing for Ganassi. Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull posted a photo on Tuesday of the team set to test its pair of Ford GTs at Sebring International Raceway. This test is separate from the IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona, which takes place today and tomorrow.
  • Amy Ruman wins another Trans-Am title. We don’t cover the Trans-Am series here on MST; however, we would be remiss to not mention Amy Ruman has won another Trans-Am title, her second in a row. This past weekend she won her third straight race at Daytona and overcame a nine-point deficit to Paul Fix to win the title, in this, Trans-Am’s 50th anniversary season. “I woke up thinking ‘you know anything can happen, it’s racing,’” said Ruman. “Mechanicals happen. Traffic can play a role.  Paul could win; I could win.  When it boiled down to one race, anything can happen.” More info is linked here.
  • PWC scholarship program expanded. Corey Fergus took advantage of winning PWC’s Touring Car title in 2015 to advance into GT Cup this season via a driver scholarship program. Next year, WC Vision will offer the same opportunity to all three TC class champions (TC-Toby Grahovec, TCA-Elivan Goulart, TCB-Tom O’Gorman) to advance up a step in 2017 if they so desire. More information is linked here via the PWC website.
  • Mazda MX-5 shootout starts today. Today and tomorrow, the 11th annual Mazda Road to 24 Shootout for a $100,000 scholarship into the 2017 Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires takes place at NOLA Motorsports Park. Here’s breakout links to the eight candidates and six judges taking part.

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.