Rolex 24: Meyer Shank Racing wins again, leads Acura 1-2

Meyer Shank Racing scored its second consecutive victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with its Acura ARX-06 shared by Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud, leading home a one-two for Honda's prestige brand.

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Blomqvist crossed the finish line 4.1 seconds clear of the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing ARX-06 of Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor, Brendon Hartley and Louis Deletraz in a nailbiting finish to the 61st running of the Florida endurance classic, which was punctuated by 14 caution periods.

After a long stretch of green-flag running in the morning hours, a series of full-course yellows kept the top four cars – the two Acuras and Chip Ganassi Racing's pair of Cadillac V-LMDhs – separated by just a handful of seconds in the closing stages.

The yellows helped the WTR Acura, which had dropped three laps off the pace in the night to replace an oil filler bracket, back onto the lead lap, and Albuquerque was able to pass both Ganassi Cadillacs to move up from fourth place to second.

However, Blomqvist was unstoppable aboard the MSR Acura after taking over for the final 90 minutes or so, surviving three restarts with his lead intact to deliver a second consecutive Rolex 24 triumph for the team owned by Jim Meyer and founder Michael Shank, and a third in a row for Castroneves.

The two CGR Cadillacs couldn't keep pace with their Acura rivals when it mattered, albeit engaging in a spirited battle of their own for third.

In the end it was the IMSA full-season #01 entry of Sebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande and Scott Dixon that came home for the final spot on the podium, followed by the #02 car of Richard Westbrook, Alex Lynn and Earl Bamber that will contest the FIA WEC this season.

 

Action Express Racing was fifth with its Cadillac driven by Pipo Derani, Alexander Sims and IMSA debutant Jack Aitken, but 12 laps down on the leaders owing to gearbox issues during the night.

BMW brought home the best of its new M Hybrid V8s in sixth, another three laps in arrears. The #24 car shared by Augusto Farfus, Philipp Eng, Marco Wittmann and Colton Herta had already fallen off the lead lap when it was hit by hybrid issues in the morning hours, and then lost further ground due to a brake change.

The sister #25 BMW of Connor De Philippi, Nick Yelloly, Sheldon van der Linde and Herta was the first GTP runner to hit trouble in the opening hour, which required a change of MGU to solve. The car finally finished 131 laps down.

While BMW lacked the pace to contend for victory, Porsche was well in the mix with its pair of new 963s until both cars hit technical issues.

First to fall off the pace was the #7 car of Matt Campbell, Felipe Nasr and Michael Christensen, which lost 35 laps due to a battery change.

 

The sister #6 car of Nick Tandy, Mathieu Jaminet and Dane Cameron was well in contention until a spin the morning hours for Tandy. Subsequent caution periods allowed the Briton to recover to one lap behind the leaders when the car expired in a cloud of smoke.

Tandy coaxed the car back to the pits on electric power, but the car did not re-emerge and was finally classified 83 laps down.

LMP2: Proton beats APR in photo finish

Proton Competition stole the LMP2 win in a sensational finish, as James Allen's #55 Oreca 07 beat the #04 Crowdstrike Racing by APR machine of Ben Hanley by a scant 0.016s.

Hanley looked like he had done enough to take the win in the car he shared with George Kurtz, Matt McMurry and Esteban Gutierrez when he repelled the #35 TDS Racing machine of Job van Uitert at Turn 1.

But Hanley didn't reckon on a late charge by Allen, who arrived on the tail of the APR machine at the start of the final lap and regrouped after an attempt to pass around the outside at Turn 1 was firmly rebuffed.

Allen stuck close to the tail of his rival and drafted by on the run to the finish to steal the win by the slimmest of margins for himself and teammates Fred Poordad, Francesco Pizzi and Gianmaria Bruni.

 

AF Corse completed the podium in third with its Oreca driven by Francois Perrodo, Matthieu Vaxiviere, Julien Canal and Nicklas Nielsen ahead of the TDS machine of van Uitert, Josh Pierson, Francois Heriau and Giedo van der Garde.

The #8 Tower Motorsports car shared by IndyCar stars Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, as well as Kyffin Simpson and John Farano, was fifth and two laps down after suffering a loss of power on the very opening lap of the race that put them eight laps down.

GTD: Mercedes, Aston Martin victorious

GT Daytona honors were split between Mercedes and Aston Martin in the GTD Pro and GTD categories respectively.

First car home was the GTD class-winning #27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Roman De Angelis, Marco Sorensen, Ian James and Darren Turner, which was locked in battle until the closing stages of the race with the #57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.

 

The Winward car, rebuilt around a spare chassis after Lucas Auer's crash in practice, was running second in the closing stages when Phillip Ellis hit the barriers exiting Turn 1 - the same point where Auer had his accident - during the restart following the 13th FCY period.

Winward's demise cleared the way for an Aston Martin 1-2 in GTD, as the Magnus Racing car of John Potter, Andy Lally, Spencer Pumpelly and Nicki Thiim beat the Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 of Brendan Iribe, Frederik Schandorff, Ollie Millroy and Marvin Kirchhofer to second.

Heart of Racing had looked good for the GTD Pro win at one stage, but the #23 Vantage of Alex Riberas, David Pittard and Ross Gunn lost a wheel in the night due to a rare wheel-hub failure.

That set-up a three-way dice between the #79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, the solo factory Corvette C8.R and the #14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 heading into the closing stages.

Maro Engel pulled off what turned out to be the race-winning move when he passed the Lexus of Jack Hawksworth into Turn 1, a move that gave the WeatherTech car also driven by Jules Gounon, Dani Juncadella and Cooper MacNeil crucial breathing space going into the closing stages.

 

Engel finally beat the Corvette shared by Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner by 3.9s, while the #14 Lexus took third, a further seven seconds down.

Fourth in GTD Pro was the Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 shared by Romain Grosjean, Andrea Caldarelli, Mirko Bortolotti and Jordan Pepper, which finished on the lead lap but never had the pace of the leading trio.

Porsche and Ferrari also had weekends to forget with their new GT3 models, which struggled with an unfavorable Balance of Performance.

Best of the new 992-type Porsche 911 GT3 Rs was the Pfaff Motorsports example, which finished fifth in GTD Pro and 12th of all the GTD cars, while newcomers Triarsi Competizione was the first Ferrari squad home, 10th in GTD and 15th in the combined GTD Pro/GTD order.

In LMP3, the #17 AWA Duqueine of Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill survived a race of attrition to claim the win, taking advantage of a lengthy delay for the long-time leader, the #33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier, which suffered a gearbox problem.

The car shared by Lance Willsey, Joao Barbosa, Nico Pino and Nolan Siegel finished a distant second in class ahead of the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier of John De Angelis, Christopher Allen, Connor Bloum and Cameron Shields.

Rolex 24 at Daytona - race results:

Cla Class Num Driver Chassis Laps Gap
1 GTP 60 United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
United States Colin Braun
Brazil Helio Castroneves
France Simon Pagenaud
Acura ARX-06 783
2 GTP 10 United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Acura ARX-06 783 4.190
3 GTP 01 France Sébastien Bourdais
Netherlands Renger van der Zande
New Zealand Scott Dixon
Cadillac V-LMDh 783 9.630
4 GTP 02 New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Alex Lynn
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
Cadillac V-LMDh 783 11.176
5 GTP 31 Brazil Pipo Derani
United Kingdom Alexander Sims
United Kingdom Jack Aitken
Cadillac V-LMDh 771 12 Laps
6 GTP 24 Austria Philipp Eng
Brazil Augusto Farfus
Germany Marco Wittmann
United States Colton Herta
BMW M Hybrid V8 768 15 Laps
7 LMP2 55 United States Fred Poordad
Italy Francesco Pizzi
Australia James Allen
Italy Gianmaria Bruni
ORECA LMP2 07 761 22 Laps
8 LMP2 04 United States George Kurtz
United Kingdom Ben Hanley
United States Matt McMurry
Mexico Esteban Gutierrez
ORECA LMP2 07 761 22 Laps
9 LMP2 88 France François Perrodo
France Matthieu Vaxiviere
France Julien Canal
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
ORECA LMP2 07 761 22 Laps
10 LMP2 35 France François Heriau
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
United States Josh Pierson
Netherlands Job Van Uitert
ORECA LMP2 07 761 22 Laps
11 LMP2 8 Canada John Farano
New Zealand Scott McLaughlin
United States Josef Newgarden
Kyffin Simpson
ORECA LMP2 07 759 24 Laps
12 LMP2 51 United States Eric Lux
Canada Devlin DeFrancesco
United States Austin Cindric
Brazil Pietro Fittipaldi
ORECA LMP2 07 758 25 Laps
13 LMP2 52 United States Ben Keating
France Paul-Loup Chatin
Alex Quinn
France Nicolas Lapierre
ORECA LMP2 07 757 26 Laps
14 GTP 7 Australia Matt Campbell
Brazil Felipe Nasr
Denmark Michael Christensen
Porsche 963 749 34 Laps
15 LMP3 17 Canada Anthony Mantella
United Kingdom Wayne Boyd
Nico Varrone
United States Thomas Merrill
Duqueine D08 737 46 Laps
16 GTD 27 Canada Roman De Angelis
Denmark Marco Sorensen
United Kingdom Ian James
United Kingdom Darren Turner
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 729 54 Laps
17 GTD PRO 79 United States Cooper MacNeil
Spain Daniel Juncadella
France Jules Gounon
Germany Maro Engel
Mercedes AMG GT3 729 54 Laps
18 GTD 44 United States John Potter
United States Andy Lally
United States Spencer Pumpelly
Denmark Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 729 54 Laps
19 GTD PRO 3 Spain Antonio Garcia
United States Jordan Taylor
United States Tommy Milner
Corvette C8.R GTD 729 54 Laps
20 GTD PRO 14 United Kingdom Jack Hawksworth
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
United Kingdom Mike Conway
Lexus RC F GT3 729 54 Laps
21 GTD 70 Brendan Iribe
Switzerland Frederik Schandorff
United Kingdom Ollie Millroy
Germany Marvin Kirchhofer
McLaren 720S GT3 729 54 Laps
22 GTD 66 Sheena Monk
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
Germany Mario Farnbacher
United States Marc Miller
Acura NSX GT3 729 54 Laps
23 GTD 12 United States Aaron Telitz
United States Frankie Montecalvo
United States Kyle Kirkwood
Canada Parker Thompson
Lexus RC F GT3 728 55 Laps
24 GTD PRO 63 Italy Andrea Caldarelli
Italy Mirko Bortolotti
South Africa Jordan Lee Pepper
France Romain Grosjean
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 728 55 Laps
25 GTD PRO 9 Austria Klaus Bachler
France Patrick Pilet
Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 728 55 Laps
26 GTD 93 Ashton Harrison
Costa Rica Danny Formal
Canada Kyle Marcelli
Australia Ryan Briscoe
Acura NSX GT3 727 56 Laps
27 GTD 78 Canada Mikhail Goikhberg
Italy Loris Spinelli
Benja Hites
Italy Marco Mapelli
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 726 57 Laps
28 GTD 1 United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
United States Corey Lewis
Belgium Maxime Martin
BMW M4 GT3 726 57 Laps
29 LMP3 33 United States Lance Willsey
Portugal Joao Barbosa
Nicolas Pino
Nolan Siegel
Ligier JS P320 725 58 Laps
30 GTD 16 United States Ryan Hardwick
Belgium Jan Heylen
Canada Zacharie Robichon
Norway Dennis Olsen
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 723 60 Laps
31 LMP3 38 John DeAngelis
Christopher Allen
Australia Cameron Shields
Connor Bloum
Ligier JS P320 721 62 Laps
32 GTD 023 Onofrio Triarsi
Charles Scardina
Italy Alessio Rovera
Italy Andrea Bertolini
Ferrari 296 GT3 719 64 Laps
33 GTD 77 United States Alan Brynjolfsson
United States Trent Hindman
Max Root
France Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 719 64 Laps
34 GTD PRO 53 United States Mark Kvamme
United States Trenton Estep
Denmark Jan Magnussen
United States Jason Hart
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 717 66 Laps
35 LMP3 13 Canada Orey Fidani
United Kingdom Matthew Bell
Germany Lars Kern
Germany Moritz Kranz
Duqueine D08 717 66 Laps
36 GTD PRO 23 United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Spain Alex Riberas
David Pittard
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 716 67 Laps
37 LMP3 85 United States Till Bechtolsheimer
Netherlands Tijmen van der Helm
United States Luca Mars
United States Mason Filippi
Duqueine D08 715 68 Laps
38 GTD 19 Italy Raffaele Giammaria
France Franck Perera
Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Switzerland Rolf Ineichen
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 714 69 Laps
39 GTD 57 United States Russell Ward
Switzerland Philip Ellis
Netherlands Indy Dontje
Austria Lucas Auer
Mercedes AMG GT3 710 73 Laps
40 GTD 80 PJ Hyett
Seb Priaulx
United States Gunnar Jeannette
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 710 73 Laps
41 GTD 32 United States Mike Skeen
Canada Mikael Grenier
United States Kenton Koch
Maximillian Goetz
Mercedes AMG GT3 709 74 Laps
42 GTP 6 France Mathieu Jaminet
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
United States Dane Cameron
Porsche 963 700 83 Laps
43 GTD 91 Alan Metni
Netherlands Kay van Berlo
Australia Jaxon Evans
Julien Andlauer
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 699 84 Laps
44 GTD 96 United States Patrick Gallagher
United States Robby Foley
Michael Dinan
Germany Jens Klingmann
BMW M4 GT3 695 88 Laps
45 GTD PRO 64 United States Ted Giovanis
United States Hugh Plumb
United States Matt Plumb
United States Owen Trinkler
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 674 109 Laps
46 GTD 83 Switzerland Rahel Frey
Belgium Sarah Bovy
Michelle Gatting
Doriane Pin
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 659 124 Laps
47 GTD 21 Mann Simon
Argentina Luis Perez Companc
Spain Miguel Molina
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Ferrari 296 GT3 655 128 Laps
48 GTP 25 United States Connor de Phillippi
United Kingdom Nick Yelloly
South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde
United States Colton Herta
BMW M Hybrid V8 652 131 Laps
49 LMP2 20 Denmark Dennis Andersen
United Arab Emirates Ed Jones
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Italy Raffaele Marciello
ORECA LMP2 07 646 137 Laps
50 GTD PRO 95 United States Bill Auberlen
Chandler Hull
Canada Bruno Spengler
United States John Edwards
BMW M4 GT3 635 148 Laps
51 LMP3 87 Japan Yu Kanamaru
Canada James Vance
Serravalle Antonio
United States Nicholas Boulle
Duqueine D08 618 165 Laps
52 LMP2 18 Dwight Merriman
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
Christian Rasmussen
United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
ORECA LMP2 07 510 273 Laps
53 LMP3 36 United States Jarett Andretti
Colombia Gabby Chaves
United States Dakota Dickerson
Sweden Rasmus Lindh
Ligier JS P320 371 412 Laps
54 LMP3 43 Sebastian Alvarez
Singapore Danial Frost
United States James French
Guilherme de
Ligier JS P320 368 415 Laps
55 GTD 42 United States Robert Megennis
United States Jaden Conwright
Kerong Li
Alessio Deledda
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 356 427 Laps
56 GTD PRO 62 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Brazil Daniel Serra
Italy Davide Rigon
Ferrari 296 GT3 349 434 Laps
57 GTD 92 United States David Brule
United States Alec Udell
United States Andrew Davis
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) 278 505 Laps
58 LMP2 11 Thomas Steven
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
Scott Huffaker
Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout
ORECA LMP2 07 249 534 Laps
59 GTD 75 Australia Kenny Habul
Germany Luca Stolz
Germany Fabian Schiller
Zimbabwe Axcil Jefferies
Mercedes AMG GT3 233 550 Laps
60 LMP3 74 United States Gar Robinson
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Netherlands Glenn van Berlo
Australia Josh Burdon
Ligier JS P320 89 694 Laps
61 GTD 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Italy Antonio Fuoco
Italy Alessandro Balzan
Ferrari 296 GT3 44 739 Laps
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