The Rolex Grand-Am Series got off to a great start this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. After 24 hours of racing, three cars from three different makers remained in contention to win in a class (DP) piloted by stars, including champions, not just from Grand-Am but NASCAR, IndyCar, LeMans, DTM, and formerly Formula 1 and Australian V8 Supercars.
In the end, Scott Pruett tied Hurley Haywood’s record with his fifth overall victory as Juan Pablo Montoya crossed the finish line in the No. 01 TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing BMW/Riley 21.922 seconds ahead of Max Angelelli and the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP.
German makes powered to victory in all three classes – BMW (DP), Audi (GT), and Porsche (GX) – but competition was seen over the duration of the event. Alex Job Racing gave Audi its first victory in the Rolex 24 and in the Rolex Sports Car Series. Filipe Albuquerque used a late splash of fuel in the No. 24 Audi R8 Grand-Am to finish 1.476 seconds clear of Rene Rast in the No. 52 APR Motorsport Audi.
Albuquerque drove with Dion von Moltke, Oliver Jarvis and Edoardo Mortara for AJR’s first Rolex 24 win since 1999. The No. 69 AIM Motorsport FXDD Racing Ferrari 458 was third.
Napleton Racing was the first winner in the new GX class. Jim Norman, pole-winner Shane Lewis, David Donohue and Nelson Canache teamed in the No. 16 Porsche Cayman that won by 10 laps.
Circuit of the Americas is next on the Grand-Am calendar, Mar. 1-2 in Austin, Tex. See you there!
Rolex 24 at Daytona results (and a few comments)
1. No. 01, BMW/Riley, Scott Pruett, Juan Pablo Montoya, Charlie Kimball, Memo Rojas (Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabates) – The fastest, most reliable car on the track, with an all-star drivers line-up.
2. No. 10, Corvette DP, Max Angelelli, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Jordan Taylor (VelocityWW/Wayne Taylor) – Ran a perfect race, just not enough straight-line power
3. No. 60, Ford/Riley, AJ Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose, Oz Negri, John Pew, Justin Wilson (Michael Shank Racing) – Led for a while. A great team. Definitely one to watch over the course of the season. Shame ‘Dinger, and Marcos, and Justin all have full-time work in other series. Would be fun to see them keep after this.
4. No. 9, Corvette DP, Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, Burt Friselle, Mike Rockenfeller, -1 Lap (Action Express Racing) – Got roughed up a little bit by ‘Dinger late with Barbosa behind the wheel, but gave as good as they got for the whole event, including then (underserved penalty).
5. No. 90, Corvette DP, Antonio Garcia, Oliver Gavin, Ricky Taylor, Richard Westbrook, -12 Laps (Spirit of Daytona). Veteran sports car endurance Corvette-driving team. One to watch moving forward.
6. No. 2, Ford/Riley, Sebastian Bourdais, Ryan Dalziel, Allan McNish, Alex Popow, -13 Laps (Starworks). Another great team. The additions of Bourdais and McNish looked to add strength to strength. Dalziel and Popow should do very well for the balance of the season.
For full results click here.