From Mid Ohio:
From Mid Ohio:
A new driver lineup didn’t affect Wayne Taylor Racing as the team kept its Rolex 24 title Sunday. Both of Taylor’s sons have moved to other teams, leaving only Renger Van der Zende as the sole holdover. Taylor signed Ryan Briscoe from Chip Ganassi’s defunct Ford GT program. Scott Dixon and Kamui Kobayashi joined the squad for the 24 hour race. The Cadillac took the lead for good in the early morning hours and ran away from the field. It was the third victory in four years for WTR.
The number 10 car completed a record 833 laps in a race that had less than two hours of caution periods. At one point the green flag stayed out for more than seven hours. The long green flag stretches took a lot of dram out of the race as trailing cars had little chance to close up to the leaders.
As usual, the best racing through the night was in the GTLM class. The two Porsches had a great battle with the BMW from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The BMW eventually prevailed, solidifying its lead after sunrise. Drivers in the winning car were Johm Edwards, Augusto Farfus, Chaz Mostert, and Jesse Krohn. Rahal’s other car won the Rolex 24 in 2019.
In LMP2, Dragonspeed retained its Rolex title. Drivers Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman, Colin Braun, and Harrison Newey. Dragonspeed is planning a six race Indycar program in addition to its sportscar plans. The team took the lead when the pole sitting Mathiasen Motorsports had an issue.
A Lamborghini was expected to win in GTD and the marque didn’t disappoint. Paul Miller Racing’s car went to Victory Circle. Drivers Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers, Corey Lewis, and Andrew Caldarelli took home the watches.
Sebastien Bourdais finished third in his full time sports car debut. The Mustang Sampling team had reconfigured itself in the JDC-Mille stable after leaving Action Express.
Scott Dixon added to his legacy as one racing’s all time greats with his third Rolex24 overall win, tying him for second on the all time roster.
Perseverance award– The crew of the number 4 Corvette spent most of the night hours attempting to find an engine issue. The engine was in pieces in the early morning hours, and the car returned to the track after sunrise. The team spent six hours to complete the repair.
Keating Loves to Drive- Ben Keating drove the number 52 LMP2 car to the pole, then started the race. He also drove the Riley Motorsports Mercedes in GTD. Just doing the math to figure out how he could split his time between the cars and stay within driver time limits was impressive. Keating also drove in Friday’s Michelin Pilot Challenge race.
GEAR has Misfortune- The all female team of Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen, Tatiana Calderon, and Rachel Frey had a difficult start to the season. The car slowed on the backstretch around 11:30 pm. It limped back to the pits. Early in the morning, the car caught fire with Nielsen behind the wheel. She was not injured, but their race was over.
The IMSA Weather Tech Championship Series next races at the 12 Hours of Sebring March 21. The WEC series will also be there for a 1,000 mile race on Friday.
It was another Rolex 24 in which current and former Indycar drivers did well. Scot Dixon and Ryan Briscoe were on the overall winning team. Ben Hanley and Dragonspeed defended their 2019 LMP2 victory. Bobby Rahal’s BMW won the GTLM class for the second consecutive year. Sebastien Bourdais finished third in his full time IMSA debut.
Attendance at the Rolex 24 seemed to be the best of the seven events I’ve attended.
The race didn’t have a lot of drama in any of the classes. A seven hour green flag stretch kept gaps between the cars steady. As usual, the GTLM group had the best race going on for a few hours.
The drive penalty that the 55 Mazda received for its collision with the 7 Acura was quite light. It’s a penalty which has no effect in a 24 hour race. The 7 never got back into contention.
The crew of the 4 Corvette has my respect. I saw the car in the garage around midnight just before they dismantled the entire engine. Six hours later, the Corvettte returned to the track.
I wondered how the new driver lineup would affect Wayne Taylor Racing. Looks as if there was nothing to worry about. That team has a handle on this race.
Bourdais’ Mustang Sampling team appeared to be very strong in spite of the ownership and driver changes. They were at the rear of the class early in the race, but worked up to a podium finish.
Rahal now has Rolex 24 wins for both of his cars.
As much praise as I’ve heaped on Daytona International Speedway for the improvements in the facility this weekend, the post race traffic pattern needs a lot of work. I understand there is not a lot of room for cars to move in the infield, but if someone were directing traffic there might be a smoother flow.
833 laps is an incredible race total. I’ve never seen an endurance race with less than two hours total time under caution.
With convergence looming in 2022, I’m wondering what the car count for next year’s Rolex will be.
Thanks for following along this weekend. I was impressed by those of you who were up watching all 24 hours and took time to read my in race posts.
I’ll be back in a day or two after I run the Serta 24.
The Rolex 24 just passed the mid point. There was one caution in the last six hours as the leaders continue to click off laps at a torrid pace.
The number 4 Corvette went to the garage with what appears to be an engine issue. Afew minutes later, the number 19 GTD of Grasser Racing slowed on the backstretch and li.ped back to the garage. The 19 is the all female team headed by Katherine Legge.
The current leaders as I write:
DPi. Car 5 Cadillac Joao Barbosa
LMP2. Car 52. Nick Boule
GTLM. Car 24 BMW Chaz Mostert
GTD. Car 48 Lamborghini Bryan Sellers
Another new feature at Daytona this year is a large high definition television screen in the fan zone. Benches have been added to the area in front of the screen. The television is visible from the turn 3 grandstand.
Back after the race with a recap. So far it has been a very predictable event.
UPDATE Mike Joachim of Pit Lane Parley sent this photo of the Corvette engine dismantled. Thanks Mike
The first four hours of the Rolex 24 were clean and without much change in the lead. An incident involving the 55 Mazda and the 7 Acura has put the Team Penske car out there f contention for a good finish. The Mazda received a stop and go penalty, meaningless in a 24 race.
Just before the 5 hour mark s pit incident brought out a full course yellow.
The current leaders:
DPi. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing
LMP 2. 52
GTLM 24 BMW
GTD. 44 Lamborghini
Pit stops are being made so the leader board may change by the time you read this.
Photo: Oliver Jarvis in the 77 Mazda leads the field to the green flag at 1:40 today.
The 2020 racing season gets underway this afternoon as the 58th Rolex 24 begins. A Mazda is on the pole and the question is can Mazda keep running for 24 hours. I look for a strong challenge from Penske Acura. The 6 car looks especially strong. Wayne Taylor Racing, in their first race without either of t Taylor brothers driving, could be a factor also.
The weather looks to be dry with moderate temperatures. After last year’s deluge., dry and mild is very welcome.
In GTLM, it could be a battle between the Porsches. They traded the lead back and forth in qualifying. A Lamborghini will win the GTLM class.
I hope to report every six hours.
The NBC network group has 16 hours of coverage. NBC shows the start and finish. Coverage is also on NBCSN and the NBC app. The app costs $19.95 for the entire IMSA season.