Mazda has scored a commanding victory in IMSA’s return to racing, with the Multimatic-run squad claiming a 1-2 sweep in Saturday’s WeatherTech 240 at Daytona.
Harry Tincknell took the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P to a 10.168-second win over the sister No. 77 entry of Oliver Jarvis in the two-hour and 40-minute wet-turned-dry race, which ran caution free despite a delayed start due to weather.
The No. 55 Mazda DPi, in the hands of Jonathan Bomarito, took over the lead at the halfway mark from the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, which was one of two DPis to effectively save a pit stop by having started on Michelin slicks.
Gabby Chaves, a last-minute fill-in for the COVID-19-inflicted Felipe Nasr, emerged as the early leader when the pair of Team Penske Acura ARX-05s and Mazda DPis pitted for slicks within the first ten laps as the 3.56-mile oval/road course quickly dried out.
While handing over to Pipo Derani at the 40-minute mark, the Brazilian in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R lost second to Jarvis with 1 hour and 3 minutes to go.
It marked the fourth victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for Mazda but the first under the full direction of Multimatic, in the operation’s debut race.
A late charge by Sebastien Bourdais saw the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi complete the podium in third, ahead of the pole-sitting No. 6 Penske Acura DPi of Dane Cameron in fourth.
Derani completed the top-five after also fading late in the running.
Seven of the eight DPis finished the race, with engine issues forcing the No. 7 Penske Acura out of the race early in the second hour.
Corvette Takes 100th IMSA Win; First for Mid-Engined C8.R
Antonio Garcia held off a hard-charging Earl Bamber to give the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R its maiden win and 100th victory for Corvette Racing in North American competition.
The Spaniard, on a two-stop strategy, finished 1.977 seconds ahead of Bamber’s No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR-19 in a hard-fought battle that saw all three manufacturers lead at stages with split strategies.
The No. 911 Porsche of Nick Tandy led early as the only GTLM car to start the race on Michelin wets although was forced to go off-sequence and pit on Lap 5 for slicks.
It gave an early advantage to the pair of Team RLL BMW M8 GTEs of Bruno Spengler and Jesse Krohn, although like the No. 911 Porsche, went for a three-stop strategy.
Makowiecki made a late charge to finish third, ahead of the No. 25 BMW of Connor De Phillippi in fourth.
Garcia shared the historic victory with Jordan Taylor, breaking a two-year winless streak for the Pratt & Miller-run factory squad.
The team’s sister No. 4 entry of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin finished fifth after Milner was forced to save fuel in the end.
AVS Autosport Dominates GTD
AIM Vasser Sullivan dominated the GT Daytona ranks, with Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz claiming top class honors in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 in the Canadian squad’s first-ever 1-2 result.
Hawksworth came home ahead of the No. 12 Lexus of Frankie Montecalvo and Townsend Bell, who only arrived at the track just moments before the delayed start due to travel issues from Indianapolis.
Telitz, in his first race as the team’s new full-season driver, led virtually from the start before handing over to Hawksworth.
The No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo of Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry completed the class podium after a spirited fight between the German and teammate Alvaro Parente in the No. 57 Heinricher Racing entry once the sun set.
Parente settled for fourth, with Toni Vilander completing the top-five in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020.
The class pole-sitting Compass Racing McLaren 720S GT3 started from the pit lane after missing the reconnaissance lap due to an issue and never played a factor after serving a drive-through penalty and suffering an early race spin.
RESULTS: WeatherTech 240