The 53rd annual Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona closed out in dramatic fashion, with 29 of the 53 starting cars finishing the race across four classes.
Chip Ganassi’s no. 2 Ford EcoBoost Riley Daytona (piloted by IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan and NASCAR’s Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson) captured the prototype and overall victory on lap 740, a mere 1.333 seconds ahead of the defending champion no. 5 Action Express Chevrolet Corevtte DP.
The no. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car driven by Tom Kimber-Smith, Andrew Palmer, Andrew Novich and Mike Guash were awarded a surprise Prototype Championship victory when the class-leading Core autosport ORECA FLM09 hit the wall and caught on fire with just 20 minutes remaining.
In GTLM, the no. 3 Corvette C7.R, driven by Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe squeezed out the closest victory of the race, finishing ahead of the no. 25 BMW Team RLL Z4 by just 0.478 seconds. It marked Corvette’s first Daytona win since 2001, and Magnussen’s first after 11 attempts.
Closing out the winners was the no. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R in the GTD class, piloted by Canadian Kuno Wittmer, Dominic Farnbacher, Al Carter, Cameron Lawrence and Ben Keating, the world’s largest Viper dealer. They finished just 7.6 seconds ahead of the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America.
“This one is for Viper Nation,” Keating said, following SRT’s GTLM championship last season and subsequent program closure the following day.
Round two of the series and the North American Endurance Cup takes place March 21 at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.
Photos by IMSA