The Rolex 24 at Daytona 2020 winners ... Cadillac ... ORECA ... BMW M8 GTE ... Lamborghini Huracan


Daytona, 25 – 26 January, 2020

The 58th edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona was held over the weekend of 25 – 26 January, held in fine dry conditions, after chilly and damp weather on the Wednesday and Thursday during the practice sessions, definitely much more amenable than the torrential rain of the 2019 edition. It was preceded by the 4 Hour BMW Endurance Challenge Race, part of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenges Series, on the Friday afternoon, together with the first two rounds of the Ferrari Challenge North America Series, both evening races on the Thursday and Friday, the first of which was the only race to be run on a wet track.

The entry list comprised of a total of 38 cars, 8 in the premier DPi class, 5 in the LMP2 class, 7 in the GTLM class, with the GTD class having the largest entry with 18 cars. Within the number there were only two Ferrari entries, the Risi Competizione 488 GTE in the GTLM class, and the Scuderia Corsa entry in the GTD class, although fans of the Cavallino Rampante had the previously mentioned Challenge races as additional food supplement. The race also saw the racing debut of the new mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, with a pair of entries in the GTLM class, whilst there was a road going example on display on the Chevrolet stand in the Fan Zone.

The qualifying sessions saw Oliver Jarvis in the # 77 Mazda DPi take the overall pole position with a time of 1min 33.711secs, with the # 6 Acura DPi driven by Juan Pablo Montoya 2nd quickest, but 0.443sec off the pole time. In the ORECA filled LMP2 class it was the # 52 example driven by Ben Keating that took the qualifying honours, whilst in the GTLM class it was the # 911 Porsche driven by Nick Tandy that was fastest, just 0.049sec quicker than the # 912 sister car driven by Laurens Vanthoor. In the “Roar Before the 24” held in early January, it had been the # 62 Risi Competizione entered Ferrari 488 GTE driven by James Calado that had topped the class time sheets, but this resulted in a restrictor size penalty for the race, which saw the car handicapped on top speed compared to its rivals, which left it at the tail end of the class qualifying times, over 1.4secs off the class pole time. The GTD class qualifying times were also led by a Porsche, this being the # 9 Pfaff Motorsports 911 GT3 R entry driven by Zacharie Robichon, with the # 63 Scuderia Corsa entered Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Jeff Westphal 2nd quickest.

From the start at 13.35 on the Saturday afternoon, it was the pole-sitting team of Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nunez and Olivier Pla in the # 77 Mazda Team Joest Mazda DPi that led the field for the first two hours, after which the lead pendulum swung between them and the Cadillacs for the next six hours. Thereafter it was essentially an inter-Cadillac battle, predominantly between the # 5 Mustang Sampling Racing / JDC-Miller Motorsports entry and # 10 example of Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. example.  s which it held the lead after the opening two hours of the race, they didn’t lead at an hour mark after the eighth. From half to three quarter distance it seemed that the # 10 example had the race in its pocket, putting distance between itself and the pursuing pack. However, it then suffered a glitch that caused the power steering to fail, and Ryan Briscoe, at the wheel at the time, had to pull onto the track apron whilst he set about recycling the electronics to reinstate it. This he managed to do without losing the lead, but obviously it allowed the others to reduce their deficit to the lead car. Shortly afterwards he missed the red light at the pit exit after a pit stop, and this incurred a 60secs Stop & Go time penalty, which allowed the # 5 example to take the lead and put the # 10 car a lap down, with a little over 5 hours remaining. A couple of full course yellows worked in favour of the # 10 Cadillac, and they managed to get back on the lead lap, taking the race lead once again with just over four hours remaining. From there they had a clear run to victory, the second in succession for team boss Wayne Taylor, and two of his drivers, Scott Dixon and Kamui Kobayashi, finishing just over a minute ahead of the # 77 Mazda DPi, which had clawed its way back to 2nd place, passing the # 5 Cadillac in the closing stages to take the runner-up spot.

The LMP2 class win went to the # 81 DragonSpeed USA entered ORECA LMP2 07 driven by . Hanley / Hedman / Braun / Newey, by 2 laps from the # 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports example driven by Boulle / Aubry / Keating / Trummer. In the GTLM class BMW bettered the class best qualifying Porsches, with the # 24 M8 GTE of Krohn / Edwards / Mostert / Farfus taking the class win from the # 912 Porsche of Bamber / Vanthoor / Jaminet, and the # 911 Porsche of Tandy / Makowiecki / Campbell took the final class podium position. The # 62  Risi Competizione Ferrari had fought valiantly throughout, and was running 4th in class with less than 90mins remaining, when it suffered a right rear tyre explosion that caused too much damage for it to complete the distance, although it was still classified 6th in class. In the GTD class it was a Lamborghini 1-2, with the # 48 Sellers / Snow / Lewis / Caldarelli driven example of Paul Miller Racing taking the win from the # 44 Mapelli / Pumpelly / Potter /  Lally driven GRT Magnus entry. The # 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari of MacNeil / Vilander / Westphal / Balzan also suffered from a BoP (Balance of Performance) deficit in relation to its competitors, with the drivers frustrated that they were left behind in both overall top speed and acceleration. However, it ran faultlessly throughout, even taking the class lead during the night, but ultimately had to be satisfied with a 7th in class finish.

Due to the clement weather and relative lack of full course yellows, six in number lasting just over an hour in toyal, the race broke the distance record of 808 laps set in 2018, by 25 laps, reaching 833 laps by the time that the chequered flag fell, with a total distance covered of 2,965.48 miles.

Overall & DPi Class Podium                                                                  

1st – # 10, R. Van der Zende / R. Briscoe / S. Dixon / K. Kobayashi, Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R., Cadillac DPi

2nd – # 77, O. Jarvis / T. Nunez / O. Pla, Mazda Team Joest, Mazda DPi

3rd – # 5, J. Barbosa / S. Bourdais / L. Duval, Mustang sampling Racing / JDC-Miller Motorsports, Cadillac DPi

LMP2 Podium

1st – # 81, B. Hanley / H. Hedman / C. Braun / H. Newey, DragonSpeed USA, ORECA LMP2 07

2nd – # 52, N. Boulle / G. Aubry / B. Keating / S. Trummer, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports

3rd – # 18, N. Minassian / D. Merriman / K. Tilley / R. Lewis, Era Motorsport, ORECA LMP2 07

GTLM Class Podium

1st – # 24, J. Krohn / J. Edwards / C. Mostert / A. Farfus, BMW Team RLL, BMW M8 GTE

2nd – # 912, E. Bamber / L. Vanthoor / M. Jaminet, Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR-19

3rd – # 911, N. Tandy / F. Makowiecki / M. Campbell, Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR-19

GTD Class Podium

1st – # 48, B. Sellers / M. Snow / C. Lewis / A. Caldarelli, Paul Miller Racing, Lamborghini Huracan GT3

2nd – # 44, M. Mapelli / S. Pumpelly / J. Potter / A. Lally, GRT Magnus, Lamborghini Huracan GT3

3rd – # 88, M. Bortolotti / R. Ineichen / D. Morad / D. Vanthoor, WRT Speedster Audi Sport, Audi R8 LMS GT3

Ferrari Entry

GTLM Class

# 62, J. Calado / A. Pier Guidi / D. Serra / D. Rigon, Risi Competizione, Ferrari 488 GTE s/n 3848, 30th OA / 6th Cl. (Not running at Finish)

GTD Class

# 63, C. MacNeil / T. Vilander / J. Westphal / A. Balzan, Scuderia Corsa, 488 GT3 s/n 4480, 24th OA / 7th Cl.

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Keith Bluemel         
02 / 2020