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Daytona Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from 60th Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

***Meyer Shank Racing’s No. 60 Acura ARX-05 won the 60th Rolex 24 at Daytona. It came ten years after the Ohio-based team won the 50th running of the Florida endurance classic in a Riley Ford DP driven by Ozz Negri, John Pew, AJ Allmendinger and the late Justin Wilson.

***Simon Pagenaud scored his first Rolex 24 win, in his team debut ahead of a full-season NTT IndyCar Series program, while Helio Castroneves claimed his second consecutive victory after being victorious with Wayne Taylor Racing last year.

***While it marked Tom Blomqvist’s win in his race debut, Oliver Jarvis notched his second Rolex 24 win after claiming GT class honors in an Alex Job Racing-run WeatherTech Audi R8 LMS in 2013.

***Castroneves and Pagenaud were two of five IndyCar drivers to win on Sunday, the three other coming from the LMP2 class-winning DragonSpeed effort with Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward and Devlin DeFrancesco.

***Jarvis and Blomqvist became the first British drivers to win the Rolex 24 since Wilson in 2012, while Pagenaud became the first Frenchman to win since Sebastien Bourdais in 2014.

***All four MSR drivers, team co-owner Mike Shank and several crew members climbed the Daytona catch-fence in the tri-oval post-race as part of post-race celebrations. Castroneves and MSR became one of the few driver/team combos to have won the Rolex 24 and Indianapolis 500 within the same 12-month period.

***Castroneves also becomes the first driver to score wins for all teams to have campaigned the Acura ARX-05: MSR, WTR (2021) and Acura Team Penske (2018-20).

***Blomqvist and LMP3 class winner Felipe Fraga celebrated maiden Rolex 24 victories on Sunday after being ruled out of their originally announced rides for the 2019 and 2021 races, respectively, in teams went on to claim class honors without them.

***Blomqvist was due to be part of BMW Team RLL’s GT Le Mans lineup that took top class honors in 2019 while Fraga was originally scheduled to share Riley Motorsports’ Ligier JS P320 Nissan in last year’s race. Both were unable to race due to separate visa-related issues.

***When asked about a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Mike Shank said: “Le Mans for us… For sure we want to go. It’s also up to Honda and Acura and HPD. They’re our core partner. When they’re ready to go, we’re going.” MSR made its one-and-only start in the French endurance classic in 2016 with a Ligier JS P2 Honda, finishing ninth in the LMP2 class.

***MSR broke WTR’s three-year win streak at Daytona although helped deliver the first 1-2 result for Acura in race history. “Obviously, I wanted to win, but if I wasn’t going to win I wanted an Acura to win,” said Wayne Taylor. “I didn’t want anything else, so I feel great to be part of such an amazing manufacturer who understands racing and how to communicate with people. They really care about everyone on the team.”

***All seven DPis led by the 11th hour of the race, marking one of the most competitive races for the overall win in recent history. MSR’s No. 60 Acura DPi led a race-high 181 laps, followed by the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R (122 laps) and No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac (106 laps).

***LMP2 lap leaders were nearly evenly split between the class-winning No. 81 DragonSpeed Oreca 07 Gibson (205 laps) and the No. 8 Tower Motorsport entry (186 laps).

***Reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou set a new DPi race lap record, a 1:33.724, in the 22nd hour of the race. It came after the No. 01 CGR Cadillac encountered an alternator issue in the 13th hour that required a change of the wiring harness.

***Three other new qualifying and race records were set over the Roar and Rolex 24 weekends. Rene Rast set a new mark in LMP2 qualifying for G-Drive Racing By APR with a 1:35.789 lap. The LMP2 race record was broken by Paul-Loup Chatin No. 18 Era Motorsport Oreca with a 1:35.532 lap while Felipe Fraga set a new race record in LMP3 with a 1:42.133 lap for Riley Motorsports.

***The results remain provisional as IMSA has impounded “DPi components” that will be taken to NASCAR’s R&D Center in Concord, N.C. for further evaluation.

***Seb Priaulx battled a stomach bug in his LMP3 debut to finish second in class in the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier. “It’s as mentally hard as physically hard when you’re not well, but you have to push through it. It takes a lot out of you. I caught a bug and didn’t feel well under the safety car but you have to deal with it.”

***Temperatures dipped to record lows in the modern era of IMSA competition, with Michelin reporting an ambient temperature of 31 degrees Fahrenheit (-0.5 degrees Celsius) and a track temperature of 33 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius) on Sunday morning.

“Seeing the track record broken repeatedly in cold overnight conditions is a tribute to our Michelin engineers, who work hard to deliver versatile tires with a wide range of performance,” said Michelin North America director of motorsport Tony Ménard.

***Despite 16 full-course caution periods, the field completed 37,197 laps, the equivalent of 132,421 miles.

***Porsche notched its 70th and 71st Rolex 24 class wins courtesy of victories by Pfaff Motorsports (GTD Pro) and Wright Motorsports (GTD). Felipe Nasr claimed GTD Pro class honors in his first-ever race as a Porsche factory driver.

***Pfaff Motorsports team manager Steve Bortolotti said he was not given any orders from Porsche amid the contact-filled battle for the GTD Pro win between Pfaff’s Mathieu Jaminet and the No. 2 KCMG Porsche 911 GT3 R of Laurens Vanthoor. “There was no conversation,” Bortolotti said. “Just don’t embarrass us on TV was the only text I got! I don’t think we did that, so that was good.”

***Porsche’s GT3 project manager Sebastian Golz said he was left “speechless” by the finish. “Customer racing at a factory racing level – that’s what we witnessed today at Daytona,” he said.

***Pfaff Motorsports’ success in the new GTD Pro class marked the first win for Porsche in the top GT division at Daytona since Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Richard Lietz won GT Le Mans in 2014. Pilet and Lietz both stood on class podiums on Sunday.

***Ryan Hardwick, who was part of the GTD class-winning lineup in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche, was watching last year’s Rolex 24 from the hospital bed after his concussion-inducing accident in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge qualifying. He said: “Personally, for me, it was a bit of redemption coming back to this track and not only competing at a high level, but ultimately winning.”

***GTD podium finisher Magnus Racing benefited from the addition of lead Aston Martin Racing engineer Gavin Fuller, who worked on the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship-winning No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE and also Paul Dalla Lana’s GTE-Am effort last year.

***Cooper MacNeil said a “$13 part” cost the No. 97 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo a possible GTD Pro class victory and likely podium finish after a cooling hose came loose with less than eight hours to go and led to the car’s retirement due to overheating issues.

***MacNeil’s other car he drove in the race, his season-long points-paying No. 79 Porsche 911 GT3 R, dropped out of contention early after making two trips to the garage due to electrical issues related to the starter motor and several off-course excursions.

***The No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes, which was among the cars involved in a multi-car accident in the fourth hour of the race, was the 200th Mercedes-AMG GT3 chassis. Team owner/driver Kenny Habul has already ordered a replacement tub for the car, which is due to arrive in time for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

***Gradient Racing’s Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 ran as high as third in GTD in the Evo22’s competition debut until suffering a broken line in the air jack system. A wiring problem just after 9 a.m. on Sunday resulted in a long stop for repairs for the car which finished 13th in class. HPD Academy graduate Kyffin Simpson was part of the lineup.

***WEC LMP2 race winner Gabriel Aubry was on-site for most of the Roar and Rolex 24 stretch. The Frenchman is understood to have had a deal in place for an LMP3 drive that went away at short notice, but he kept his travel plans for Daytona to finalize a European program deal.

***Lamborghini President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann waved the green flag to start the race at 1:40 p.m. ET.

***Jimmie Johnson’s participation in the Twelve Hours of Sebring is not yet confirmed according to the seven-time NASCAR champion, who is among the IndyCar drivers to face a clash with a round at Texas Motor Speedway on the same weekend. “As soon as we know all of the hard facts,” Johnson said about his decision. “It seems to be ever-changing. My priority would certainly be for the IndyCar program.”

***So far only Castroneves and Vasser Sullivan’s Kyle Kirkwood are confirmed to be pulling the Sebring-Texas double.

***Corvette Racing will “definitely” enter only a single Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD at Sebring according to GM sports car racing program manager Laura-Wontrop Klauser, who told Sportscar365 that Corvette’s full-season WEC GTE-Pro entry that will be competing on the same weekend has “solidified” that plan.

***Klauser said the current plan is for Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner to complete the WEC’s 1000 Miles of Sebring as a two-driver lineup. “The drive time rules have changed slightly for this year which allows us to do all the WEC races with two drivers, except of course Le Mans,” she said.

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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