The last eight hours of Rolex 24 at Daytona 2020 started with perfectly dry but cold air, and only eight degrees Celsius asphalt.
Performance Tech Motorsports #38 went off track in Turn 2 but quickly came back again.
After an hour and a half in the garage, Pfaff Motorsports Porsche #9 finally rejoined the field, after changing a drive shaft.
Corvette Racing #4 was back on the track after being repaired for seven hours and fifty minutes! They would have only seven hours left of the race.
Precision Performance Motorsports Lambo #47 had to pit as the officials had found a technical problem with the car, that had to be solved immediately.
There was a drama in the LMP2 class after PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports #52, who had run the perfect race for the first seventeen hours, was now being split open in the pitlane, where both the front and rear bodywork was taken off and the mechanics working on both ends. It meant that DragonSpeed #81 suddenly had a several-lap lead. Overall, it cost them seven minutes before they were back on the track.
GEAR Racing Powered by Grasser Lambo #19 with Christina Nielsen behind the wheel was unfortunately in the garage for a longer repair. They already lost a lot of time earlier in the race, and a couple more hours wouldn’t do them any good. Their teammates in #11 didn’t have it so much better as they also spent a long time in the garage.
Riley Motorsports Mercedes #74 stalled in the pitlane, where the mechanics had to run to get the car. The mechanics diagnosed the problem as electrical – but where…?
Whelen Engineering Cadillac #31 suddenly slowed down as Pipo Derani got a puncture on the left rear tire. Luckily the tire remained on the rim and didn’t blow up either. So he could drive back to the pits, and we avoided another Full Course Caution.
Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing #10 had an extra tour in the pits when Ryan Briscoe suddenly had no power steering. While he rolled the car towards the pitlane, he managed to reset the system and everything worked again. But it reduced their lead to only seventeen seconds ahead of Mustang Sampling JDC Cadillac #5.
At the eighteen-hour mark, Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac #10 was the leader in DPi, DragonSpeed #81 in LMP2, Porsche #912 in GTLM, and Paul Miller Racing Lambo #48 in GTD.
After seven hours and forty-eight minutes of racing in green flag, there was another Full Course Caution when Riley Motorsports Mercedes #74 stopped on the track, in a huge smoke. The electrical problems were back for Fraga, and he couldn’t restart the car. After getting a push, he could roll the car for a few metres before it died again. It then got pushed behind the fence, where the mechanics would it up.
It was the longest period of uninterrupted green flag in the race’s history.
After about twenty minutes of clean-up, the race got restarted. Acura Team Penske #6 had a wild run-off sideways through the Bus Stop Chicane but came back to the track without losing any position.
But yet again the race took a dramatic turn. Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac #10 got a 60-second Stop & Go for leaving the pits while the red light was on. A big no-no in racing, which meant a harsh punishment. The red light was on when the cars behind the Safety Car were still passing by the track, which was why Ryan Briscoe should not leave the pitlane at that time. It cost him a lap as he rejoined right in front of Olivier Pla in Mazda Team Joest #77, that was the new car in P2.
WRT Speedstar Audi Sport #88 took the lead of the GTD class after Dries Vanthoor fought himself past Corey Lewis in Paul Miller Racing Lambo #48.
Whelen Engineering Cadillac #31 had to take a trip to the garage as Filipe Albuquerque got some problems with the gearbox.
GEAR Racing Powered by Grasser Lamborghini #19 had gone through three hours of repair in the pits. Christina Nielsen drove it back to the track, since she was also the one in the car before. Halfway through the track, there were flames coming from the behind the car, and she parked it straight away after the Bus Stop Chicane. Fortunately, she came out of the car unharmed, but the car was out of the race. Such a shame for Nielsen, Katherine Legge, Tatiana Calderon and Rahel Frey. But the car had had problems from the very first stint on Saturday afternoon.
The green flag was shown, after twenty minutes of clean-up.
Starworks Motorsports #8 got a Drive-through penalty for driving 1 kph over the limit in the pitlane.
It caused a war in GTLM, where BMW Team RLL #24 fought hard to take the lead. John Edwards dived under Mathieu Jaminet in Porsche #912 on the oval and came into Turn 3 with a huge power-slide. And then the BMW simply pulled away in front. Corvette Racing #3 put both Porsches under intense pressure, in the battle for the last spot on the podium.
Four hours and twenty-four minutes before the end, Precision Performance Motorsport Lambo #47 stopped in the middle of the track, which triggered another Full Course Yellow period. Jonathan Hoggard slowly rolled to a stop without any drama.
The race quickly got going again, and #24 and #912 got involved in yet another duel. This time #912 came out in front.
Corvette Racing #4 was back to the garage again for more repair, which took a couple of hours before they were back to the track.
The lead of the race changed hands from Mustang Sampling JDC Cadillac #5 to Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac #10, since the latter was six seconds faster in their pitstop and thus came out ahead again.
The battle in GTD continued, where Paul Miller Racing Lambo #48, GRT Magnus Lambo #44 and WRT Speedstar Audi Sport #88 each took a turn leading the class.
Mazda Team Joest #55 slowly lost speed due to a problem with the turbo charger. The team couldn’t do anything about it, so they let the car drive since they were still in P4.
AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus #12 got a Drive-through penalty for driving 6 kph in the pitlane. They were, however, already out of the top ten in GTD due to the problems earlier in the race.
While Porsche had been really fast earlier, they started to fall back down the field. First, BMW Team RLL #24 pulled away, and later also Corvette Racing #3.
Things appeared to pick up for Porsche after they got new tires, and with Earl Bamber behind the wheel in #912 they took the lead in GTLM again, with two hours left.
With two hours left on the clock, Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac #10 var leading in DPi, DragonSpeed #81 in LMP2, and GRT Magnus Lambo #44 in GTD. Only in LMP2 that the first and second positions weren’t on the same lap. In fact, both GTD and GTLM were within two seconds of each other.
Porsche #911 was also on an advancement again when Nick Tandy overtook Jordan Taylor in Corvette Racing #3 for P3 in GTLM.
Risi Competizione Ferrari #62, on the other hand, got Drive-through penalty for having the rear wheels turning while they changed tires. Which meant they were pretty much out of the top battle, unless they got lucky with FCY periods in the two remaining hours.
Two Lamborghinis fought for the lead in GTD. GRT Magnus #44 was currently ahead, with Paul Miller Racing #48 breathing down their neck.
Risi Competizione Ferrari #62 got a puncture on the right rear tire, two hundred metres before the Bus Stop Chicane on the back straight. It broke the rear wing on the Ferrari and left some debris on the track as James Calado slowly drove the car back to the pits. Unfortunately, the damage was too severe and the team chose to pull the car from the race. A shame, since they got the problem while being in P5 in GTLM.
BMW Team RLL #24 lost valuable seconds in the pits when Era Motorsport #18 came out from their pitstop just as the BMW was about to turn to their pit box. Jesse Krohn managed to brake before a collision happened, but he lost a bit of time. They came back out in front of Porsche #911 but quickly fell back due to ice-cold tires.
46 minutes before the chequered flag, #24 had caught up with the Porsche again and Krohn tried to overtake Tandy, first from the outside and later from the inside in Turn 2 before squeezing the black BMW up in front, and the Porsche driver could do nothing about it.
Tandy chose to pit right after that and came into the pits with locked wheels – did he manage to reduce the speed in time?
In fact, Nick Tandy got overtaken on the track after his pitstop when Earl Bamber made him do a mistake and drove past and then set his eyes on the BMW ahead.
Performance Tech Motorsports #38 had to drive back to the garage, with under forty minutes left. The LMP2 car had been behind for the majority of the race due to the technical problems they had earlier. The team chose to pull the car out of the race, possibly feeling they wouldn’t be able to advance further, and that they already secured their championship points. In IMSA, you don’t have to cross the finish line to be classified and score points, as opposed to FIA WEC and Le Mans.
After 24 hours of exciting racing, and a new record for the longest Daytona 24 hours race in history with 833 laps for the winner, Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing #10 with Renger van der Zande, Kamui Kobayashi, Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe won the race for the second year in a row, ahead of Mustang Sampling JDC Cadillac #5 with Sebastien Bourdais, Joao Barbosa and Loic Duval.
DragonSpeed #81 with Henrik Hedman, Colin Braun, Ben Hanley and Harrison Newey won the LMP2 category, in front of Nick Boulle, Gabriel Aubry, Ben Keating and Simon Trummer in PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports #52, with Era Motorsport #18 with Nicolas Minassian, Ryan Lewis, Dwight Merriman and Kyle Tilley in P3.
David Heinemeier Hansson finished fourth, together with John Farano, Ryan Dalziel and Nicolas Lapierre for Tower Motorsport by Starworks Motorsport #8.
BMW Team RLL #24 won the GTLM category with Jesse Krohn, John Edwards, Augusto Farfus and Chaz Mostert behind the wheel, followed by Porsche #912 with Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet, while Porsche #911 with Nick Tandy, Frederic Makowiecki and Matt Campbell finished third.
Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, Andrea Caldarelli and Corey Lewis won for Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini #48 in the GTD category, ahead of GRT Magnus Lambo #44 with John Potter, Spencer Pumpelly, Andy Lally and Marco Mapelli, while WRT Speedstar Audi Sport #88 with Mirko Bortolotti, Rolf Ineichen, Daniel Morad and Dries Vanthoor finished in P3.
Nicki Thiim retired with Heart of Racing Aston Martin #23 already before he could come in the car Saturday evening, while Christina Nielsen retired behind the wheel of GEAR Racing Powered by Grasser Lambo #19 Sunday morning.
Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac #10 leads Michelin Endurance Cup for the DPi cars, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports #52 in LMP2, BMW Team RLL #24 leads GTLM and Paul Miller Racing Lambo #48 leads the GTD category. Based on the points that the teams have collected by the 6, 12, 18 and 24-hour mark in the race.
It was a special edition of Rolex 24 at Daytona, with very little Safety Car period. An hour and forty-three minutes of reduced speed was the, of course, the reason for the new distance record.
The next task for IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be the 12 hours race at Sebring, which will be run on Saturday, 21 March 2020.