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USCC: 24 Hours of Daytona - Action Express wins; Porsche, Ferrari take GT classes

By 9 hr 20 min into the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona Jordan Taylor and the #10 had slipped to P6, with Alessandro Balzan leading GTD in the #63 Ferrari. Action Express’ Joao Barbosa led the field in the #5, trailed by teammate Brian Frisselle. Under caution with 14:12 left, Barbosa and Frisselle led Scott Dixon in the #02 Ganassi Ford-Riley DP. The caution was brought out when the #09 RSR Racing PC car left the track.

With 14 hours to go Barbosa remained in the lead, but pit stops moved Oswaldo Negri Jr. (Michael Shank Racing #60 Ford-Riley DP) and Michael Valiante (Spirit of Daytona #90 Corvette DP) into second and third. By 13:56 continued pit cycles had moved the Ganassi #02 and #01 into second and third, piloted by Dixon and Scott Pruett respectively.

The race went back to green at 13:49. Antonio Garcia led GTLM in #3 Corvette Racing C7.R, followed by Patrick Pilet in the #911 Porsche North America 911 RSR and Dirk Mueller in the #56 Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE. Pruett got sideways and hit the wall in the bus stop, falling quickly through the field and pitting, with Negri moving into P3. Ricky Taylor took the #10 into third at 13:42

Taylor slipped at 13:35 with Burt Frisselle driving the #9 Action Express into P3. Balzan retook the GTLM lead. The #5 pitted at 13:06, with Christian Fittipaldi taking over behind the wheel and rejoining the race in second behind Dixon. Another Yellow at 12:45 kept the field in this position. Mark Wilkins led PC in the #54. Kuba Geirmaziak led GTD in the #30 Porsche, followed by Jeff Westphal in the #63 Ferrari.

Gainsco reported the Memo Gidley underwent surgery on his left arm and left leg and remained under observation. Michael Marsal took the PC lead on the restart with 12:40 to go. Fittipaldi retook the lead shortly before the halfway mark, but pitted from that position with 12:11 left, leaving the prototype running order as Dixon, Burt Frisselle, and Ricky Taylor. The #3 Corvette was undergoing an extended pit stop due to overheating before retiring.

At halfway, Pilet led GTLM in #911, followed by Michael Christensen in the second Porsche and Robin Liddell in the #4 Corvette. Jon Bennett led PC, with Enzo Potolicchio second and Kyle Marcelli third. Townsend Bell raced at the front of GTD in the #555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari, chased by Geirmaziak and Westphal. Frisselle was beginning to close on Dixon.

Dixon maintained the lead before handing off to Tony Kanaan. Max Angelelli returned the #10 to the front for a time, with the #5 Action Express car leading at daybreak ahead of the #10 and teammate #9. Porsches continued to lead GTLM, #911 with Pilet driving ahead of #912 and Christensen, with the #4 Corvette and Liddell in third. The #08 PC car had contact with the wall overnight, surrendering the lead to 8 Star Motorsports #25. The #555 had to do a brake change in GTD, falling back before retaking the lead by morning ahead of #63 and #45 XXX.

The #10 retook the lead early in the daylight action with Jordan Taylor behind the wheel. The Ganassi #02 was the only other car on the lead lap. A full-course caution was issued with 7 hr 3 min to go when the #57 Krohn Racing Ferrari 458 Italia stalled on track.  The green flag waved at 6:39, with the #5 given a Stop +70 sec penalty for avoidable contact while running P2.

The #02 suffered a right rear puncture at Turn 1 with 6:23 left, going a lap down to #10 before reaching the pits, with Burt Frisselle moving into P2 in the #9 Action Express and hanging on as the only other car on the lead lap. The #912 Porsche went behind the wall in GTLM with crank case problems at 6:18.

Barbosa unlapped the #5 after serving his penalty, running third behind Taylor and Frisselle. The #10 pitted, with #9 taking the lead. Christian Fittipaldi took over the #5 with 6:04 remaining. Mark Wilkens led PC in the #54 CORE autosport entry, with the #555 still in front in GTD. The #911 pitted from the GTLM lead with 5:44 to go.

Burt Frisselle brought the #9 in at 5:39, remaining in the car. The #02 came in a minute later, with Dixon also staying put. The cycle put Ricky Taylor back in the lead, with Pilet still in front of GTLM. The #10 came in at 5:27, with Ricky again staying behind the wheel. Memo Gidley was reported with an unstable fracture in his back which would require further surgery. Matteo Malucellli remained in hospital for evaluation but was described as resting comfortably.

The #911 led GTLM with 5:19 to go, ahead of Liddell and Andy Priaulx in the #55 Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE, one lap down. The #55, however, had a stop and hold penalty waiting for avoidable contact, which would put it another lap down. Colin Braun took over in the #54 PC car.

With 4 hr 4 min left, Ricky Taylor remained in the race lead, followed by John Martin in the #9 and Fittipaldi. Richard Lietz piloted the #911 at the front of GTLM, ahead of Oliver Gavin in the Corvette and Graham Rahal in the #56 BMW. Braun still led PC in the #54, with Alex Popow running P2 in the #7 for Starworks Motorsport. Marco Seefried was on point in GTD in the #58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America, 27 sec ahead of Bell’s Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari, with Spencer Pumpelly running third in the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS.

Fittipaldi came in for a pit stop and driver change, with Sebastien Bourdais taking over. The #56 BMW headed to the garage with a possible wheel-bearing issue. The #4 Corvette led GTLM with 3:45 to go, 13 sec ahead of Lietz in the #911, with Bill Auberlen in the #55 BMW 2 laps back.

The #56 returned to the track roughly 10 min later. Martin brought the #9 to the pits just before a full course caution, taking fuel and tires and returning to action P2. GTLM ran Lietz, Gavin, Auberlen under caution with 3:23 left. A brief green flag period was followed by another caution at 3:04 for a flat tire and subsequent debris from the #87 PC car.

At the 3-hr mark the #555 Ferrari led GTD, ahead of the #45 Audi and the #58 Porsche. The #4 Corvette returned to the garage from P2 in class with 2:35 to go. Overall leader was Jordan Taylor, 4.783 sec up on Bourdais and 13.736 ahead of Martin. Lietz led Auberlen by 2 laps in GTLM, entering the pits and handing over to Nick Tandy at 2:29.

Two minutes later the #10 pitted for fuel and tires, with Jordan Taylor retaking the track in P3 behind #5 Bourdais and #9 Martin. The #91 SRT Motorsport Viper GTS-R with Ryan Hunter-Reay driving ran P3 in GTLM, with the Corvette remaining behind the wall. Taylor returned to the lead by 2:16, 7.207 sec ahead of Bourdais, with Martin pitting and falling one lap down. Tandy ran 1 lap ahead of Auberlen in GTLM.

A full-course yellow came out with 2:12 left as the #7 Starworks PC entry stopped on fire on the backstretch. Kyle Marcelli exited the car safely. As the 2-hr mark approached Jordan Taylor led overall, Tandy led GTLM, Wilkins PC, and Pumpelly GTD. The Muscle Milk Pickett Racing #6 Oreca-Nissan suffered a small fire in the cockpit while running fifth overall under caution, forcing it into the pits. It reentered the race with Klaus Graf behind the wheel.

The #54 pitted under caution with Braun taking back over from Wilkins. The Corvette Racing crew replaced the #4’s gearbox following a bearing failure in the transmission and was ready to send it back on course. Waiting for restart Bourdais was in front, followed by Taylor and Martin. Restart was delayed by the #93 Viper stalling on-track with Rob Bell behind the wheel.

Taylor crossed the line under green 4.1 sec behind Bourdais, with traffic in between. At 1:38 Alessandro Pier Guidi led GTD in the #555 Ferrari, followed by Jan Heylen in the #58 Porsche and Pumpelly. With 1:31 to go, Bourdais led Taylor by 5.512 sec and Martin by 13.641. Nick Tandy continued to hold a 1 lap lead over the #55 BMW, now piloted by Joey Hand.

At 1:26, Taylor trailed Bourdais by 6.209 sec, but had more fuel onboard. Bourdais’ lead grew to 9.847 sec at 1:23. The #01 Ganassi car returned to the garage permanently. Bourdais was 11 sec in front at 1:17. GTLM ran Tandy #911 Porsche, Hand #55 BMW, Goossens #91 Viper. The BMW carried more fuel.

Bourdais entered the pits at 1:08, carrying too much speed and locking up the tires. Joao Barbosa took the wheel.  Wanye Taylor racing also pitted, with Max Angelelli getting into the cockpit. The #911 Porsche pitted and loaded about 1 hr’s worth of fuel. Barbosa beat Angelelli out of the race, with both slotting in behind Martin.

Martin pitted at 1:04, turning the car over to Brian Frisselle. Both Action Express machines and Wayne Taylor Racing were going to have to pit one more time. At 58 min, Barbosa’s lead was more than 17 sec over Angelelli. Braun continued to lead PC.

Barbosa ended up crossing the line just 1.461 sec ahead of Angelelli, with Frisselle another 18.028 sec back in the second Action Express car. Mike Rockenfeller brought the #90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP in for fourth, 2 laps off the lead. The highest former ALMS finisher was the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing #6 Nissan-Oreca, another lap back from Rockenfeller with Klaus Graf behind the wheel.

Pilet drove the #911 Porsche North America entry to GTLM victory (and P6 overall), 2.838 sec in front of Hand in the #55 Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE. Braun finished 1 lap ahead of Tom Kimber-Smith in PC competition. The #555 Ferrari won GTD, with Alessandro Pier Guidi finishing 1.293 sec ahead of Markus Winkelhock in the #45 Audi. Winkelhock only beat third-place Jan Heylen in the #58 Porsche by 0.159 sec.


Partial class results (click here for full results):

Prototype –

1. #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP -- Joao Barbosa (Portugal), Christian Fittipaldi (Brazil), Sebastien Bourdais (France), Burt Frisselle (US)

2. #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP – Wayne Taylor (US), Max Angelelli (Monaco), Ricky Taylor (US), Jordon Taylor (US); +1.461 sec

3. #9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP – Brian Frisselle (US), Burt Frisselle (US), John Martin (Australia), Fabien Giroix (France); +19.489 sec

4. #90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP – Richard Westbrook (England), Michael Valiante (Canada), Mike Rockenfeller (Germany); 2 laps

5. #6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Nissan-Oreca – Klaus Graf (Germany), Lucas Luhr (Germany), Alex Brundle (UK); 3 laps



1. #911 Porsche North America 911 RSR – Nick Tandy (UK), Richard Lietz (Austria), Patrick Pilet (France)

2. #55 BMW Team RLL Z4 GTE – Bill Auberlen (US), Andy Priaulx (Normandy), Joey Hand US), Maxime Martin (Belgium); +2.838 sec

3. #91 SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R – Dominik Farnbacher (Germany), Marc Goossens (Belgium), Ryan Hunter-Reay (US); 4 laps

4. #56 BMW Team RLL Z4 GTE - Dirk Muller (Switzerland), John Edwards (US), Graham Rahal (US), Dirk Werner (Germany); 11 laps

5. #4 Corvette Racing C7.R – Oliver Gavin (England), Tommy Milner (US), Robin Liddell (Scotland); 13 laps

PC –

1. #54 CORE autosport – Jon Bennett (US), James Gue (US), Colin Braun (US), Mark Wilkins (Canada)

2. #25 8Star Motorsports – Enzo Potolicchio (Venezuela), Tom Kimber-Smith (UK), Mike Marsal (US); 1 lap

3. #38 Performance Tech Motorsports – Ryan Booth (US), Raphael Matos (Brazil), Tomi Drissi (US), Gabriel Casagrande (Brazil), Julio Campos (Brazil); 9 laps

4. #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports – Gunnar Jeanette (US), Mike Guasch (US), David Chang (US); 16 laps

5. #8 Starworks Motorsport – Mirco Schultis (Germany), Eric Lux (US), Renger van der Zande (Netherlands), Sam Bird (UK)



1. #555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia – Alessandro Pier Guidi, Bill Sweedler, Jeff Segal, Townsend Bell

2. #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS – Nelson Canache Jr. (Venezuela), Spencer Pumpelly (US), Tim Pappas (US), Markus Winkelhock (Germany); +1.293 sec

3. #58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America – Madison Snow (US), Jan Heylen (US), Marco Seefried (Germany); +1.452

4. #72 SMP/ESM Racing Ferrari 458 Italia – Boris Rotenberg (Russia), Sergey Zlobin (Russia), Maurizio Mediani (Italy), Mika Salo (Finland), Mikhail Aleshin (Russia); +15.212

5. #35 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS – Seth Nieman (US), Dion von Moltke (US), Alessandro Latif (England), Felipe Albuquerque (Portugal); 1 lap


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