As has been the long-standing tradition, the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway has once again opened the book on a new season for the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.
Like in previous iterations of the event, several drivers from the NASCAR and IndyCar paddocks made the trip down to Daytona Beach, Florida, to compete in the historic event.
The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, well-known in the industry as one of the most grueling events in motorsports, got underway on Saturday (January 28) just before 1:45 pm ET.
After two trips around the clock, it was Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian’s Acura ARX-06 that was able to capture the overall victory, in what was pretty much the fastest car in the week leading up to the event.
Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud, teammates for Meyer Shank Racing in the NTT IndyCar Series, were joined by Tom Blomqvist, and former NASCAR driver Colin Braun in the race-winning entry.
For Castroneves, a four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, the overall victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked his third consecutive win in the January endurance event.
The No. 10 for Wayne Taylor Racing finished in second, about four seconds behind the eventual race winner, with Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz, and Brendon Hartley behind the wheel.
IndyCar drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon rounded out the podium in the GTP Class, piloting the No. 01 for Cadillac Racing (Chip Ganassi Racing).
Colton Herta finished sixth place overall, piloting the BMW M Team RLL No. 24 entry. The IndyCar driver also took a turn behind the wheel of the organization’s No. 25, which finished 48th overall, 131 laps behind the leader.
Team Penske, which owns teams in NASCAR and IndyCar, fielded the No. 6 and No. 7 Porsche entries, which finished 14th and 42nd overall – and seventh and eighth in the GTP Class.
Driving the No. 55 Oreca 07-Gibson for Proton Competition, the winners of the LMP2 Class were Gianmaria Bruni, James Allen, Fred Poordad, and Francesco Pizzi.
The class victory came down to the last second of the 24-hour event, with George Kurtz, Matt McMurray, Ben Hanley, and Esteban Gutierrez in the CrowdStrike Racing by APR entry, losing out by 0.016 seconds.
Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, IndyCar teammates, partnered to drive the No. 8 for Tower Motorsports, an entry that finished the event 11th overall and fifth in class.
The defending winner of the Daytona 500, Austin Cindric, and IndyCar driver Devlin DeFrancesco partnered with NASCAR and IndyCar Series team Rick Ware Racing to pilot the No. 51, finishing 12th overall, and sixth in the LMP2 class.
Rinus VeeKay, who competes for Ed Carpenter Racing in IndyCar, finished 58th overall and 10th in the LMP2 Class in the No. 11 for TDS Motorsports, after the entry was forced to retire from the event just after the eight-hour mark.
In the GTD class, Roman DeAngelis, Marco Sorenson, Ian James, and Darren Turner captured the victory in the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
The No. 27 captured the victory with a three-second margin over the No. 44 Magnus Racing entry, piloted by NASCAR Xfinity Series part-time drivers Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly, as well as John Potter, and Nicki Thiim.
Kyle Kirkwood – the newest IndyCar driver for Andretti Autosport, piloted the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Racing entry to a 23rd-place finish overall, and a fifth-place result in the GTD class.
Patrick Gallagher, who also makes select appearances in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, finished 44th overall, and 17th in the GTD class, piloting the No. 96 for Turner Motorsports.
GTD Pro Class:
The GTD Pro class was won by WeatherTech Racing (Proton Competition) in the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3, driven by Jules Gounon, Dani Juncadella, Marco Engel, and Cooper MacNeil.
Finishing in second, less than one-second behind the race-winner, was the No. 3 Corvette Racing entry, piloted by Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor, and Tommy Milner.
Romain Grosjean, a competitor in the NTT IndyCar Series for Andretti Autosport, piloted the No. 63 Iron lynx Lamborghini entry in the 24-hour race, finishing 24th-place overall while capturing a top-five finish in the GTD Pro Class (5th).
The LMP3 class was pretty much uncontested in the closing stages of the Rolex 24, with the No. 17 AWA entry taking the victory by a whopping 12 laps, with Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nicolas Varrone, and Thomas Merrill piloting the entry.