Rolex 24 at Daytona 2020 ends with repeat overall winner

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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The Rolex 24 at Daytona has concluded at the Daytona International Speedway this afternoon. The 58th running of the event saw multiple lead changes, a crash for Team Penske and many more highlights along the way.

The No. 10 Cadillac of Wayne Taylor Racing won with Kamui Kobayashi behind the wheel. Kobayashi won by more than a minute over the No. 77 Mazda of Oliver Jarvis.

It was the third Rolex 24 win in the past four years for the team, but it seemed in doubt earlier on when Kobayashi’s co-driver Briscoe committed a pit violation with five and a half hours remaining by missing a red light at the end of the pits during the race’s fourth caution. After serving a 60-second penalty, Briscoe fell from fourth to first, handing the lead to the No. 5 Cadillac.

But a fifth yellow put the car back on the lead lap, and Briscoe charged back to second on the 3.56-mile road course. He retook the lead during a pit stop, and Kobayashi drove it to victory lane.

It was a relatively clean race aside from a DPI shunt near the four-hour mark that left Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves apoplectic at Harry Tincknell for contact that knocked him from contention.

Here were the winners in the other divisions:

LMP2: No. 81 ORECA LMP2 of Dragon Speed USA

GTLM: No. 24 BMW M8 GTE of BMW Team Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

GTD: No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Paul Miller Racing

Starting lineup 

Oliver Jarvis. Photo: IMSA

Oliver Jarvis put the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest entry on the pole position during Thursday’s qualifying session with a lap of 1 minute, 33.711 seconds on the 3.56-mile road course.

Jarvis will share the front row with the No. 6 Acura Team Penske entry of Juan Pablo Montoya.

In the LMP2 class, Ben Keating won the pole position with a lap of 1:37.446 in the No. 52 ORECA. Henrik Hedman qualified second at 1:37.728 in the No. 81 DragonSpeed ORECA, which won the LMP2 class in last year’s Rolex 24

Jonathan Bomarito qualified third in the second Maza Team Joest entry, while Felipe Nasr will start in the fourth position in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac.

In GTLM, Nick Tandy set a track record of 1:42.207 in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR -19. Tandy edged his teammate Laurens Vanthoor by 0:049. Antonio Garcia qualified third in the No. 3 Corvette.

Zacharie Robichon starts on pole in the GTD class, putting the No. 9 Porsche 911 of Pfaff Motorsports on the pole with a track-record lap of 1:45.237.

Click here for full qualifying results 

Click here for the starting grid in the 58th running of the Rolex 24

2019 winners

The Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta DPi Cadillac took overall honors with drivers Fernando Alonso, Kamui Kobayashi, Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande.

Here are last year’s other class winners:

  • LMP2: DragonSpeed ORECA team with drivers Roberto Gonzalez, Pastor Maldonado, Sebastian Saavedra and Ryan Cullen.
  • GTLM: BMW Team RLL M8 GTE with drivers Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, Augusto Farfus and Colton Herta.
  • GTD: GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 with drivers Mirko Bortolotti, Rik Breukers, Christian Engelhart and Rolf Ineichen.

Automaker Depth

There are 12 manufacturers in this year’s race, representing some of the most prestigious makes from around the world:

  • Acura
  • Aston Martin
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Cadillac
  • Chevrolet
  • Ferrari
  • Lamborghini
  • Lexus
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes-AMG
  • Porsche.

Notable drivers

Kyle Busch. Photo: IMSA

Several NASCAR and IndyCar stars will compete in this year’s race, including Kyle Busch, who will make his Rolex 24 debut in the No. 14 AIM Vasser-Sullivan Lexus RC-F GT3 in the GTD Daytona class. Busch will share the entry with Parker Chase, Jack Hawksworth and Michael De Quesada.

I’M NOT THE TOP DOG: Busch embraces challenges

Acura Team Penske will have four different Indy 500 winners between its two DPi entries, with Alexander Rossi and Helio Castroneves sharing the No. 7 car with Ricky Taylor.

Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud will pair up with Dane Cameron in the No. 6 entry.

READ MORE: Whether dining or driving, Montoya and Cameron fast friends at Penske 

Young IndyCar sensation Colton Herta will return to BMW Team RLL in attempt to defend their 2019 GTLM victory. Once again, Herta will be joined by Conor De Phliipi, Phillip Eng, while Bruno Spengler is a new addition to the team in 2020.

VIDEO: Colton Herta continuing family legacy at Daytona

Five-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon will return to the DPi class with defending overall winner Wayne Taylor Racing, joining Alonso, Kamui Kobayashi, Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande.

MORE ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA COVERAGE:

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Tom Blomqvist keeps eye on IndyCar during impressive rise: ‘ I would love to give it a go’

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In between two of his latest superstar-driver-in-waiting performances, Tom Blomqvist walked through the Daytona International Speedway garage in anonymity.

“Nobody knows who the (expletive) I am,” he said to a team member with a laugh (and without a trace of being miffed), evincing the cheeky humor of someone born in England, raised in New Zealand and also of Swedish descent.

The lack of recognition in the garage might have been because he was clad in a relatively nondescript shirt, hat and sunglasses instead of a colorful firesuit covered by sponsor logos. But he also was on the way to a Friday race eve media availability where his entrance was greeted by only one reporter (after a few minutes).

During a news conference a day earlier, he sat patiently on the dais while his Indy 500-winning teammates and car owner fielded nearly all the questions – even though Blomqvist had turned maybe the most impressive lap of the month to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole position in the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category.

The Meyer Shank Racing driver still might lack the attention commensurate with his already world-class CV (which expanded Sunday with his second consecutive Rolex 24  victory for MSR), but Blomqvist, 29, clearly isn’t bothered by it.

He carries the quiet confidence of knowing his immense talent will ensure results that will make him impossible to ignore.

“To a degree, I guess, it’s definitely ramped up a lot for me,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports. “In America, I’m starting to get a lot more (attention). In the last year, I’ve quite often got a lot of maybe what you’d call the glory moments. It’s been fun. And within the paddock, there’s a lot of respect for me anyway. It’s been good.”

There have been several moments of acclaim since he joined MSR barely a year ago in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In his first start for the team at last year’s Rolex 24, Blomqvist turned in a Herculean performance to position the No. 60 Acura for the victory (giving way to Helio Castroneves because he was too “cooked” to complete the last 74 minutes).

He was even better this year at Daytona.

He ripped off a monster “one and done” pole-winning lap to beat the clock in qualifying on the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course. During the race, Blomqvist was as dominant in his first stint as his last in the ARX-06 while taking the checkered flag. He set the mark for the fastest time on Lap 6 that no one topped over the final 755 laps.

The 10 fastest laps in the race belonged to Blomqvist, carrying over his speed from the 2022 when he won the Petit Le Mans season finale to clinch the premier prototype championship at Michelin Road Atlanta.

A year earlier at the same track, he had burst onto the radar of car owner Mike Shank, who was intrigued by Blomqvist’s results as a BMW factory driver in the Formula E and DTM series. In 2014, Blomqvist also finished between second in F3, between champion Esteban Ocon (now with Alpine’s F1 team) and Max Verstappen (who has won the past two Formula One championships).

“He did a lot of high-level stuff, and then kind of fell out of favor, or I don’t know what happened, but he was a free agent,” Shank said. “I started looking at his numbers, and I’m like, ‘We should test this guy. So I take him to Road Atlanta in the fall of ’21, and he got in the car and just slayed it.”

Within minutes, he had called co-owner Jim Meyer.

“I’ve got our guy,” Shank said. “This is our guy. There’s no question about it.

Honda Performance Development president David Salters hugs Tom Blomqvist after the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole (Mike Levitt/LAT/IMSA).

“Now what’s happened, though, and I think if you look back at the Rolex here last year (and) what he did, he’s a gold nugget. He reminds me a little bit when (Robert) Wickens came into IndyCar out of DTM (as a rookie in 2018).

“He truly believes he’s the fastest guy out there, and he proved it (at the Rolex 24).”

Said David Salters, president for Honda Performance Development: “We love Tom. He’s the real deal, isn’t he? Immensely talented, super smart, and on it.

The great thing about our teams, the strength in depth is tremendous. But if you look through the sports car racing now, that’s the standard you have to have. Tom, brilliant, Filipe (Albuquerque), brilliant. Ricky (Taylor). You can go through that list. They’re all superstars. Tom is awesome. His lap in qualifying quite frankly was unbelievable.”


Having conquered one of the world’s greatest endurance races twice with Acura, Blomqvist could be ticketed for the world’s biggest race next – the Indy 500 — with HPD’s primary brand.

He tested a Dallara-Honda for MSR last October at Sebring International Raceway, and while he plans to focus solely on IMSA this season, he remains very intrigued by IndyCar.

And with Castroneves, 47, beginning a one-year deal with MSR’s IndyCar team, there could be an obvious opening in 2024.

“Obviously, it’s not in the cards this year,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports the day before the Rolex. “Yeah, I would love to give it a go. To be honest, I think that would be an amazing step for me in my career. I enjoy the sports car stuff so much. It’s been really good to me lately. I really enjoyed the style of racing.

“But I feel like IndyCar would be a step up for me and my career. It would be fantastic if I could get that opportunity. But yeah, I guess I have to keep pushing Mike or something to give me a shot. But obviously for now, the focus is here in the sports car stuff. It’s not really down to me at the end of the day. And I’ve got to do my job and then the people who pay the bills and make the decisions obviously have to decide if that’s something worth pursuing.

“But yeah, I’d love to give it a go, and I definitely would be up for it.”

Tom Blomqvist after winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole on the final qualifying lap (Mike Levitt/LAT/IMSA).

A transition from IMSA to IndyCar naturally would be easier than switching teams, but it also would be comfortable because Blomqvist already seems such a good fit at MSR.

It might have seemed an unusual pairing given his European-heavy background, but Blomqvist likes the Midwestern culture that’s been built at MSR. Based just outside Columbus, Ohio, the team’s shop has “no egos, and that just enables each and every one of to reach our potential.

“Obviously, with Honda, we obviously have some great resources, but we’re up against Porsche, BMW and some big heavy hitters in the motorsports world,” he said. “I wouldn’t say we’ve got a huge team compared to them, but we’ve obviously got a very capable team, and I think that’s what has been so impressive and really, really nice to see about the work that’s been done. No stone has been left unturned.”


Blomqvist still is living in Europe and planning to commute for the nine-race GTP schedule (which has a nearly two-month break after the Rolex 24 until the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring). But though he’s “got good friends in America, so I do have places to stay,” he seems open to being based more permanently near MSR in America.

“Let’s see what the future brings, and if that means me spending more time over here,” he said. “It’s a fantastic team. It’s a different environment to what I’m used to. It’s obviously now a hugely successful team, but it is a small team. It does feel like a very small family-operated team, which it is.

“I think Mike’s really just built this thing. It hasn’t happened overnight. Mike’s a great guy and put a lot of trust and faith in me, and I played a relatively good part in some of the success last year. I was able to reward him and give him my all every time I’m on track, and he respects that. But we are still a small team. In the grand scheme of things, we still are a really, really small team.”

Blomqvist said the BMW factory program would have two or three times the staffing of MSR – just on one of its two GTP cars.

“But it’s not the number of people that makes a difference, it’s the quality of people, and obviously Mike and HPD are a fantastic operation to go racing,” Blomqvist said. “We’re racers at heart.

“I’ve been part of some big outfits, and the European way of working is very, very different to how people go about racing in America. I’d say it’s more seat of your pants. A lot of emotion and kind of rides on that competitive spirt, competitive nature and on their personalities. It’s a lot more pure. It feels very pure. You want to win, so we go out and don’t cut corners on trying to win.”

Though it’s aligned with Liberty Media and has big-budget backing and support from Honda Performance Development, MSR also is much less corporate than most GTP teams.

A longtime and respected team owner who has built a sponsor portfolio, Shank also describes his maniacal dedication to success as “messed up,” and he’s known for dropping vulgarities into postrace interview with his blunt and self-deprecating sense of humor.

Meyer Shank Racing co-owner Mike Shank congratulates Tom Blomqvist on the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole position (Mike Levitt/LAT/IMSA).

With a more laid-back but sometimes just as biting demeanor, Blomqvist has become the team’s unquestioned leader behind the wheel

“I definitely feel a lot more immersed,” he said. “Within the team, I was a bit more of an unknown quantity the start of last year. Obviously after last season, the team trusts me a lot. And that gives me a lot of pleasure, pride and confidence. In this sport, confidence is a huge aspect of drivers’ psychology in a way. We’re in extremely high-pressure moments where my job is to perform under the pressure of these organizations and the brand as well.

“It’s just a good, healthy team to be a part of. It’s a high-pressure environment, but the team obviously have put a lot of faith in me, and I’ve been able to deliver for them on occasions.”

Rolex 24 starting lineup
Tom Blomqvist celebrates after winning the pole in the No. 60 Acura ARX-06 (Mike Levitt/LAT/IMSA).