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Another #Rolex24! Brand new season!

The 58th Rolex 24 at Daytona did not disappoint. Lots of fights, lots of action, lots of all those incredible battles we are used to watch during these twenty four grueling hours! ­č嬭čĺ¬

As usual, I had my own favorites. Some are the same throughout the season, some are teams that whether were new to the Rolex 24 or are racing with some of my preferred drivers. Some of them made it to the podium, some didn’t, so I will do a quick recap on some teams.

#9 Porsche 911 GT3 R – Pfaff Motorsports

My favorite plaid and GTD pole sitter, didn’t make it to the podium this time. A surprising mechanical failure ended the journey for the amazing team with nearly seven hours remaining. Zach Robichon,┬áDennis Olsen, Lars Kern and Porsche factory driver Patrick Pilet always kept a strong pace and did great. For a long time the┬áteam cycled between first and fourth positions. Bring on next!

#62 Ferrari 488 GTE – Risi Competizione

At some point I was seriously rooting for the new #62 Ferrari 488 GTE and James Calado to get on ┬ápodium. They did a great race, entered a few battles and were super consistent throughout the twenty four hours. Davide Rigon, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra, along with James, they all did an amazing job. Close to the end, I truly believed, James was going to do it again and bring the car to the top…

Unfortunately, the last stint didn’t go well and they were forced to retire and call it a day due to a nasty puncture.

#19 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 – GEAR by GRT

As a woman I could be more excited to see a car on track with four of the very best female drivers out there! Since the very beginning, right after the driver lineup (Katherine Legge, Tati Calderon, Christina Nielsen and Rahel Frey) was announced and then the car livery (an inspired Pop Art one, very Roy Lichtenstein’ish) the excitement built up.

Katherine Legge managed to lead the GTD race for sometime, even with reasonable distance (-6.4 sec) but it was pushed to the end of the pack twice due to fuel pressure problems.

Around 5 hours before the end of the race and during Christina Nielsen’s stint, the #19 Lambo burst in flames.┬áShe was a star, I have to say. When she opened the door, there was black smoke coming out, which pretty means she couldn’t see a thing inside for some seconds. Calm and collected she tried┬áto put out the fire herself. It was game over though.

#24 BMW M8 GTE – BMW Team RLL

Well, they got the Rolex!! And I mean, they did put a terrific GTLM battle out there! The Big Mad Wagon memes just don’t stop on Twitter and there’s a reason for that. That car is BIG. And amaaaaazing! Congratulations guys!

My favorite moment though goes to the early morning flashing lights game. What was that!? The Ferrari flashed and then John Edwards just returned the flashing. And the back and forth flashing kept going. I wish I was a bee and inside those two cars and listen to their comments.

#23 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 – Heart of Racing

It was not the race for Aston Martin. #98 retired and the #23 had to withdrawn after a high speed pit entry shunt with #47 PPM Lamborghini Huracan. Fortunately Alex Riberas came out unhurt but ouch… that one was a scary one to watch. A pity for Alex, Nicki Thiim, Roman DeAngelis and Ian James, but it was over for the Heart of Racing.

Both new Corvettes look great and seem committed for a big year!

I just have to congratulate some who made it to the podium:

The #77 Mazda pole sitter finished in second and the manufacturer got the best ever Rolex24 result! Even if halfway they had a stop-and-go penalty they battled back! Master Jarvis took the checkered flag just 1 min 5sec behind the #10 Cadillac winner.

The #52 PR1 Mathiasen LMP2 showed a strong and consistent pace throughout the whole race and got to the chequered flag in 2nd. Congratulations to the whole team, in special Nick Boulle, with whom I had the chance and privilege to work with.

Both GTLM Porsche 911 RSR got a double podium (#912 2nd and #911 3rd) and didn’t have a single technical problem… YoooWoooo for a first outing of the new car. This is highly promising!

The maple leaf-livered #88 WRT Speedstar Audi R8 LMS driven by Audi Sport drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Dries Vanthoor, together with Rolf Ineichen and Daniel Morad finished third, alike last year! They also were consistent, most of the time in top 6 (GTD). They entered the final hour in third position and Mirko kept it to the checkered flag. Big congratulations to the team for another podium!! I only wish they ran more often than once a year. One of the best looking cars on track.

One curiosity. The record for the longest green flag run in Rolex 24 history at 246 laps was set this weekend! A real ‘walk in the park’ when compared to previous years.

To end this already long post, I just wanted to thank everyone who followed Dust In The Pit Lane on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter during the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. When you’re watching such a long race from afar, it’s always great to have some ‘company’! Thank you! ­čÖî­čĆü

Overall Results

DPi
1. Konica Minola Cadillac DPi-V.R, Cadillac DPi #10
2. Mazda Team Joest, Mazda DPi #77
3. JDC Motorsports, Cadillac DPi #5

LMP2

1. DragonSpeed USA, Oreca LMP2 07 #81
2. PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, Oreca LMP2 07 #52
3. Era Motorsport, Oreca LMP2 07 #18

GTLM

1. BMW Team RLL, BMW M8 GTE #24
2. Porsche Motorsport, Porsche 911 RSR – 19 #912
3. Porsche Motorsport, Porsche 911 RSR – 19 #911

GTD

1. Paul Miller Racing, Lamborghini Huracan GT3 #48
2. GRT Magnus, Lamborghini Huracan GT3 #44
3. WRT Speedstar Audi Sport, Audi R8 LMS GT3 #88

Photos by Rip Shaub