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Daytona Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from a record-breaking Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: Barry Cantrell/IMSA

***A new distance record was achieved in last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, with the winning No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R completing 833 laps, or 2,965.48 miles. The previous distance record came in 2018 at 808 laps.

***This year’s race featured only six full course cautions, totaling 1 hour and 43 minutes. 

***More than 1,000 drivers have now won in IMSA premier series’ history, with five new first-time winners bringing the number up to 1,002. Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman and Harrison Newey each scored their maiden wins in LMP2, while Chaz Mostert and Andrea Caldarelli won in GT Le Mans and GT Daytona, respectively.

***WTR became the first team to repeat as overall Rolex 24 winners since Chip Ganassi Racing’s three-peat from 2006-08.

***Austin Cindric served as one of the spotters for the No. 7 Team Penske Acura ARX-05. Cindric, who took part in the Rolex 24 as a driver in the last three editions, joked that he thought it would be “easier to win” the race as a spotter this time, having spent 13 hours helping guide Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Alexander Rossi to an eighth place finish.

***The car was delayed by nearly 40 minutes in the fourth hour for repairs after Castroneves and the No. 55 Team Joest Mazda RT24-P of Harry Tincknell made contact while entering the Bus Stop, an incident which IMSA handed a penalty to the Mazda driver to.

***Ryan Dalziel tweeted that he encountered a very similar experience to Dane Cameron in the race, with an aero-related issue resulting in a porpoising-like effect to his No. 8 Tower Events by Starworks Oreca 07 Gibson. The Scot said the violent nature of the ride resulted in him sustaining a nose bleed.

***While Wayne Taylor claimed his third Rolex 24 win as a car owner, Paul Miller notched his first, also as a former class winner as a driver. “I won in 1988 as a co-driver, but to have the opportunity to own the team and have a hand in putting this group together and making decisions that helped us get this win is really satisfying,” Miller said.

***The No. 88 WRT Speedstar Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo finished third in the hands of Mirko Bortolotti, despite having an issue with its rear wing, from contact, in the closing stages of the race. “We had a small issue with the rear wing and could not fight for the result we could have fought for,” Bortolitti said.

***The race featured only five retirements, with both of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3s, on their North American debuts, crashing out by the seventh hour.

***Alex Riberas crashed the No. 23 The Heart of Racing entry in a bizarre incident with the No. 47 PPM Lamborghini in the tri-oval in the fifth hour while fellow Aston Martin-contracted driver Ross Gunn slammed into the pit wall on his out lap that led to the retirement of the factory No. 98 entry.

***Despite the early end for the returning The Heart of Racing team, more than $100,000 was raised for Team Seattle, which funds equipment for the pediatric cardiology unit of Seattle Children’s Hospital as well as research and training of doctors and surgeons worldwide.

***The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE Evo retired with less than 90 minutes to go following complications from a right-rear puncture for James Calado. The car was already out of contention for a class podium finish at the time. “They just didn’t give us the performance to be in the front this time,” Calado told IMSA Radio.

***Riley Motorsports managed to get the No. 74 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo back running after a master relay failure that forced Felipe Fraga to come to a halt on-track to bring out the race’s fourth caution in the 19th hour. 

***With a trifecta of class wins at Daytona, Head of Lamborghini Motorsport Giorgio Sanna said the manufacturer’s next target is “clearly” the 24 Hours of Spa, as well as the hotly contested ADAC GT Masters in Germany. “There are lots of important championships that we haven’t won that are always targets that we will try to achieve,” he told Sportscar365.

***Corvette Racing team manager Ben Johnson said that the team’s No. 3 car didn’t sustain any damage from its contact with the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 which resulted in a wild spin onto the Turn 1 runoff. “We didn’t practice any wheel-to-wheel contact in testing, so a lot of people were intrigued to see how it took the impact!”

***Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner and IMSA debutant Johnathan Hoggard was forced to right-foot brake in the No. 47 PPM Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo after injuring his left knee whilst getting out of the car during Friday practice. The car was forced to retire with four hours to go with gearbox issues,

***Veteran broadcaster Brian Till, who had been battling throat cancer, took part in the annual 5km run at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday morning prior to the race.

***Dan Harper, Neil Verhagen and Max Hesse,  the members of the new ‘BMW Junior Team’, took part in activities during the weekeend with the German manufacturer, including being embedded with BMW Team RLL, waving the green flag for the BMW Endurance Challenge and a visit with Radio Le Mans.

***The new Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo was given its North American unveiling on Saturday evening. The car will replace the current 488 Challenge from round two of the Ferrari Challenge single-make series at Road Atlanta in March.

***Jeff Gordon, who won with WTR in 2017, was on-site this weekend along with NASCAR drivers David Ragan and Brian Vickers. Sportscar365 understands that Vickers was close to a deal with Rick Ware Racing prior to the team’s late withdrawal from the race in LMP2. 

***A total of 24 drivers are headed straight to the Australia for the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour this weekend: Dane Cameron, Renger van der Zande, Scott Dixon, Oliver Jarvis, Nicky Catsburg, Augusto Farfus, Chaz Mostert, Daniel Serra, Matt Campbell, Laurens Vanthoor, Earl Bamber, Mathieu Jaminet, Patrick Pilet, Shane van Gisbergen, Roman De Angelis, Marco Mapelli, Andrea Caldarelli, Felipe Fraga, Jules Gounon, Mirko Bortolotti, Dries Vanthoor, Mario Farnbacher, Alvaro Parente and Andrew Watson.

***TRD president and general manager David Wilson is hopeful of additional Toyota NASCAR drivers to follow in Kyle Busch’s footsteps in taking part in next year’s race with its Lexus RC F GT3 cars. “Denny [Hamlin] really wanted to drive, even more so than Kyle, but wasn’t able to [due to surgery].

“You know how it works. If Kyle goes into the competition meeting around Denny and Martin [Truex Jr.] and Eric [Jones] and starts talking about how much fun he had, I think it’ll be a natural. We hope that’s the case.”

***Busch, who along with co-drivers Jack Hawksworth, Michael de Quesada and Parker Chase, finished ninth in GTD, said it’s “too soon to say” whether he will do the Rolex 24 again next year.

***IMSA President John Doonan said last weekend’s entry of 38 cars is “representative” of what to expect for the full WeatherTech Championship season. Only two cars were Daytona-only entries, with several more for the Michelin Endurance Cup races only, although the WeatherTech Sprint Cup is expected to attract at least four additional GT Daytona cars.

***There was a standing ovation for former IMSA president Scott Atherton at the pre-race driver’s meeting, thanking him for his years of service to the sport.

Slade Perrins, Daniel Lloyd & Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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