Porsche dominates WEC Mexico, No. 2 crew extends points lead

Porsche
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Porsche tightened its grip on both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ crowns in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking a dominant one-two finish in Sunday’s 6 Hours of Mexico at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Headed up by the championship-leading No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid crew of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber, Porsche finished over a lap clear of Toyota, who failed to put up any firm challenge in Mexico.

The result saw Porsche extend its lead in both championships as it looks to sign off from its time in the WEC’s LMP1 class in style, having announced its closure five weeks ago.

While the battle for overall honors in Mexico offered little in the way of a race, LMP2 came up trumps as the No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson held on for victory, seeing off a late charge from the CEFC Manor TRS Racing squad.

Impressive stints from Jean-Eric Vergne and Ben Hanley in the No. 24 Oreca gave Manor a shot at its first WEC win, only for a late spin for Hanley to stunt the team’s charge and drop it to third in class behind the No. 36 Signatech Alpine entry.

GTE-Pro saw AF Corse and Aston Martin Racing battle hard for victory throughout the six hours, with the No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE taking the checkered flag first by just 0.9 seconds.

However, Davide Rigon and Sam Bird were denied a second win of the season after receiving a penalty for speeding under a full course yellow, resigning them to P2 behind the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE shared by Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen.

Dempsey-Proton Racing picked up its second win of the season in GTE-Am courtesy of Christian Ried, Marvin Dienst and Matteo Cairoli in the No. 77 Porsche 911 RSR, finishing a lap clear of the No. 98 Aston Martin.

The WEC returns in two weeks’ time with its sole visit to the United States at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.

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.