Filipe Albuquerque drove the Wayne Taylor No. 10 Acura DPi to victory in the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona by a results margin of 4.704 seconds over the No. 48 Cadillac.
As time was running off the clock one thing was certain. This would be a record setting race.
After 23 hours, 52 minutes the separation between Wayne Taylor’s No. 10 Acura led the No. 01 of Chip Ganassi was less than a second. One team was going for three consecutive wins; the driver behind the wheel of the second-place car was also vying for his third straight victory after being released by Taylor late last year.
“I could almost see (van der Zande’s) eyes in my mirror,” Albuquerque said after climbing from the car. “He was so hungry for this. Especially with the whole story – leaving Wayne Taylor for another team.
“He was faster definitely. But it’s one thing to catch and another thing to pass. He was really pushing hard. I was lucky they had a puncture.”
ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS: Wayne Taylor wins his third consecutive Rolex 24
Wayne Taylor Racing became only the second team to win three consecutive 24 Hours of Daytona, joining Chip Ganassi Racing from 2006 through 2008.
And Taylor was not the only person going for three straight. Kamui Koboyashi was looking for his third consecutive win in his first three attempts at the twice-around-the-clock classic after also being released from Taylor.
In addition to Taylor’s record-tying threepeat, another record was set for the most cars on the lead lap as five DPis complete the 807 laps.
Acura also recorded its first overall win.
After van der Zande’s tire failure, there was another close battle for second. Kobayashi in the Mazda No. 55 passed Harry Tincknell in the closing laps to secure second. Mazda was also going for their first overall win.
One of Johnson’s co-drivers, finished second twice for the third time. He has not yet won the Rolex 24 hours, but came close in 2005 for Howard Boss (11 laps behind winner Wayne Taylor) and in 2008 with Bob Stallings (two laps behind Chip Ganassi)
Making his Rolex 24 and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut, Chase Elliott earned marks for consistently improving, but his effort was slowed by mechanical failure. An issue with the gear box sent the No. 31 Cadillac DPi 22 laps off the pace. But the failure had a silver lining as it also allowed Elliott to get back behind the wheel for additional track time. Elliott finished the race, running the last stint and finishing eight overall.
The No. 18 Era Motorsport entrey of Dwight Merriman, Kyle Tilley, Ryan Dalziel and Paul-Loup Chatin completed 787 laps and beat the No. 8 Tower Motorsports entry. Merriman was behind the wheel for the final stint. He finished third with this same team last year. In 2020, Dalziel was with rival Tower Motorsports and finished fourth in class.
The No. 74 Riley Motorsports entry of Gar Robinson, Spencer Pigot, Stott Andrews and Oliver Askew completed 757 laps and beat the No. 33 Sean Czech Motorsports entry by three laps.
The No. 3 Corvette Racing entry of Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg completed 770 laps and beat their sister No. 4 car by 3.519 seconds Taylor was behind the wheel when the field crossed under the checkers. Tommy Milner led the 4 car that was also driven by Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims.
Upon the completion of his stint, Garcia left the race after driving eight hours because he had tested tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) virus. Garcia’s last stint in the car came at 9 a.m. and caused the three-driver lineup to rely on the two remaining drivers to complete the race.
The No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes of Russell Ward, Philip Ellis, Indy Dontje and Maro Engel complete 745 laps and beat the No. 75 Sun Energy 1 Mercedes by 16.329 seconds. It was the first win for all four drivers in the Rolex Kenny Habul was behind the wheel of the second-place car when it crossed under the checkers.
As with the DPi series, five cars also finished on the same lap in the GTD class.
STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:
NEXT: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will resume with the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring March 17-20.