Porsche, Audi take GT wins in Rolex 24

A look at the GT winners and losers of this year's Rolex 24.

Porsche, Audi take GT wins in Rolex 24

Nick Tandy, Richard Lietz, and Patrick Pilet drove the new Porsche 911 RSR to the GT Le Mans class win in the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona. Porsche now has 76 Rolex 24 class wins to its credit.

The winning Porsche finished sixth overall and 2.838 seconds ahead of the No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE shared by Bill Auberlen, Andy Priaulx, Joey Hand, and Maxime Martin.

Hand appeared to be catching Pilet after the race’s final restart, but the BMW driver scraped the wall at the exit of the infield on the penultimate lap. The scrape interrupted his momentum and relegated him to second, as he was never able to catch back up to Pilet.

“I could see (hand) behind me,” explained Pilet. “I had to push completely. I went flat out and took a lot more risk. I was lucky also in the traffic. I created a small gap and it was enough to win.”

Level 5 Motorsports team members at work
Level 5 Motorsports team members at work

Photo by: Trevor Horn

The top two finishers in GT LM managed to avoid the bevy of problems that struck the third-place finishing SRT Viper GTS-R (and the other Viper in the class) and just about every one of the other cars in the class, including the new Corvette C7Rs and the two Ferrari F458 Italias. The problems with these cars started early, when the No. 62 Ferrari was almost completely destroyed when it was struck at high-speed by Memo Gidley’s prototype. Matteo Malucelli, who was behind the wheel of the Ferrari at the time of the crash, was taken to a local hospital and still being evaluated by doctors at the race’s conclusion. Gidley had had surgery on his left arm and left leg and an unstable back fracture that will also require surgery.

The other Ferrari in the GT LM class – fielded by Krohn Racing – hit a GT Daytona car during the 11th hour, causing damage to the car’s left front, upper suspension, which had to be replaced.

The pair of Vipers in the class took turns leading during the early hours, but power steering issues and some crash damage took both of them out of contention for the win. The class pole sitting Viper of Marc Goosens, Dominik Farnbacher, and Ryan Hunter-Ray did manage to hang on to claim third in class, albeit four laps behind the winning Porsche.

Both new C7.R Corvettes also ran into problems. The No. 3 entry, shared by Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, and Ryan Briscoe, failed to finish due to radiator and overheating issues. The other C7.R started smoking during the 21st hour, while running second. Tommy Milner immediately drove the car to the garage with transmission problems. It finished fifth in class.

The No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR failed to finish because of engine failure. And the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE suffered a right-rear wheel bearing failure, which forced the team to change the rear upright on the car. The car went on to finish fourth in class.

Power steering issues also felled the lone Aston Martin Vantage V8 in the race.

Allessandro Pier Guidi and Marcel Winkelhock raced side-by-side on the race’s final lap for the GT Daytona class win. Pier Guidi, driving the Level 5 Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia, held the lead at the final restart. But Winkelhock worked his way to Pier Guidi’s back bumper on the final lap. Winkelhock attempted to pass Pier Guidi in the “kink” between the two horseshoe portions of the Daytona infield road course. The cars did not touch, but Winkelhock had to take to the grass at the outside of the turn to avoid crashing.

Pier Guide retained the lead as Winkelhock plowed through the grass to rejoin the race. Tudor Championship officials deemed this incident avoidable contact and penalized Pier Guidi a stop-and-go plus 70 second penalty. The penalty handed the win to Winkelhock and his Flying Lizard teammates Nelson Canache, Jr., Spencer Pumpelly, and Tim Pappas.

“It was an incredible last lap,” explained Winkelhock. “I left (Pier Guidi) plenty of space to turn-in in the kink and at the exit of the corner he tried to push me into the grass. He didn’t leave me enough space so I went off (the track). I think that’s not the way to win a race. So I think (the penalty) is a fair decision. And I’m absolutely happy.

“I remember last year we were fight for the victory and out of the bus stop chicane we ran out of fuel. So for me it’s nice to back this year and winning the race.”

The No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America of Madison Snow, Jan Heylen, and Marco Siedfried ended up second and the SMP/ESM Racing Ferrari 458 Italia finished third in the hands of Boris Rotenberg, Sergey Zlobin, Maurizio Mediani, Mika Salo, and Mikhail Aleshin.

Pier Guidi was relegated to fourth. The team’s appeals to overturn the penalty seemed to have not persuaded race officials to rescind the penalty.

shares
comments
8Star's four stars deliver five-star performance in Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona

Previous article

8Star's four stars deliver five-star performance in Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona

Next article

Corvette Daytona Prototypes sweep top 4 spots in Daytona

Corvette Daytona Prototypes sweep top 4 spots in Daytona
Load comments
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy Prime

Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy

Can Mazda win this year’s IMSA Prototype championship? Undoubtedly. But it will be the culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit. David Malsher-Lopez tells the story of a bizarre blend of heartache and positivity.

IMSA
Apr 6, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021
Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Prime

Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona

After a 100-minute sprint race to whet the appetite, the 2021 IMSA SportsCar Championship gets underway properly this weekend. With plenty of significant changes during the winter, here are the key points you need to keep an eye on

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars Prime

Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars

Having gone over seven years without a race win through spells with McLaren, Renault and Haas, Kevin Magnussen's departure from Formula 1 for IMSA with big-hitters Chip Ganassi Racing could give him what he craves most - a chance of success

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked Prime

The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked

The 2020 edition of the Florida sportscar classic is finally taking place this weekend, eight months after its traditional date in March. That meant there was plenty of time for Motorsport.com to pour over its previous 67 races and select the best.

IMSA
Nov 11, 2020