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DragonSpeed Racing and Paul Miller Racing Take Class Wins At Rolex 24 At Daytona

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IMSA

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – DragonSpeed Racing made it back-to-back wins in the Le Mans Prototype 2 Class at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The No. 81 ORECA LMP2 07 driven by Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman, Colin Braun and Harrison Newey finished ahead of the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07 driven by Ben Keating, Simon Trummer, Nick Boulle and Gabriel Aubry, which started on the pole position.

DragonSpeed and Mathiasen battled it out as the only two cars to lead laps in the class.  Mathiasen took off from the pole and led the opening 104-laps.  The teams traded spots out-front throughout the middle parts of the race with Braun passing Keating Sunday morning at the 17.5-hour mark to take the lead for good, leading the final 212-laps.

“Ben drove the wheels off the thing,” Braun said.  “The guys had great pit stops and great strategies all day.  When you execute like that and make no mistakes, you’re usually rewarded with a victory”.

PAUL MILLER LAMBORGHINI TEAM WINS FIRST ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA

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The GT Daytona (GTD) came down to a battle of Lamborghini’s as Paul Miller Racing’s No. 48 Lamborghini beat the No 44 GRT Magnus Lamborghini to the checkered flag by 21-seconds.  The victory was the first for Miller, the long-time team owner and former IMSA driver.  It was also the first victory for his drivers, Andrea Caldarelli, Madison Snow, Corey Lewis and Bryan Sellars.

Paul Miller Racing Celebrates In Gatorade Victory Lane After Scoring The GTD Class Win At The Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“A lot of years trying, a lot of years of pain and watching other people walk by you with the watch you want so bad,” said Sellars.  “It feels so good to have it all finally come together.”

“The last eight hours were like a sprint race.” said Calderelli, who passed his former teammate Marco Mapelli in the pits.  “I used to race with Marco in the same car, so we never really fought one-on-one.  I know him.  It was a very fair fight and we both represent Lamborghini as well.  So we didn’t do any stupid things.”

The No. 44 GRT Magnus Lamborghini, driven by Mapelli, John Potter, Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly, finished second followed by the No. 88 WRT Speedstar Audi Sport R8 LMS GT3.

The next race on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts is Saturday, March 21st.  The race starts at 10:40 am ET and will be televised by CNBC.  It will also be streamed on the NBC Sports App with authentication and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.  IMSA Radio will have coverage available on IMSARadio.com, RadioLeMans.com and Sirius XM.

Sports Cars

JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac Wins 12-Hours of Sebring

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Photo: IMSA

SEBRING, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Sebastien Bourdais, driving without the top element of the rear wing of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac, took home the overall win in IMSA’s 12-Hours of Sebring for JDC-Miller Motorsports and co-drivers Tristan Vautier and Loic Duval.

Bourdais crossed the finish line 1.45-seconds ahead of Harry Tincknell and the No. 55 Mazda.  Bourdais said he lost the element with just under 19-minutes left in the event and was fortunate he didn’t lose control of the car.

“I’m just really lucky that I didn’t stuff it in Turn 17 before I made the adjustments,” Bourdais said. “That was a very, very close call there. At the same time, thankfully I had enough of a gap to (Tincknell) that he didn’t pass us by the time I collected myself. I didn’t know it was the rear wing until I got out of the car (in victory lane), but I knew something had happened aerodynamically.”

The No. 48 Cadillac co-driven by Jimmie Johnson, Kamui Kobayashi and Simon Pagenaud finished third followed by the Acura Dpi’s of Meyer Shank Racing (Dane Cameron, Olivier Pla, Juan Pablo Montoya) and Wayne Taylor Racing (Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi).

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The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac finished 2-laps down in sixth.  The CGR Caddy was one of the dominant cars in the event but got clipped by the BMW of Connor De Phillippi with 71-minutes left in the race.

“It was very frustrating,” said Scott Dixon, who was behind the wheel of the Ganassi machine at the time. “It was a very late call from the pits, so I was scrambling to get everything undone. On my way into pit road there was another car there and I had nowhere to go. I feel bad for the team, because everybody at Chip Ganassi Racing did a fantastic job.”

The Ganassi team’s misfortune opened the door for Bourdais, who just put his head down and somehow kept Ticknell behind him.

“Every corner that was coming, I was like, ‘Man, how am I going to do this one?’” Bourdais said. “The flip side of (the broken wing) is that the car was extremely fast down the straightaway, too. I was very hard to pass there.”

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season resumes May 14-16 with the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.

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Heartbreak for Chip Ganassi Racing in Rolex 24 at Daytona

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Chip Ganassi Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing’s return to IMSA sports car racing was going along as planned in this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance race.

The No. 01 Cadillac Daytona Prototype International (DPi), driven by Renger Van der Zande, Kevin Magnussen and Scott Dixon, started seventh but quickly made their presence known leading 225 of the races 807-laps.

A battle to the end was shaping up between CGR and Wayne Taylor Racing in the race’s final half hour.  CGR brought Van der Zande in for his final pit stop and WTR brought their new Acura ARX-05 to pit road and changed just left side tires and was able to get out ahead of the No. 01 by about 5-seconds.

Van der Zande, who used to drive for WTR, put the hammer down and chased down Filipe Albuquerque in an epic duel between the two drivers.

Disaster struck a few minutes later for the Ganassi team when Van der Zande had to come to pit road because of a cut right rear tire.

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The Ganassi team quickly changed the tire but the battle was over at that point as WTR raced to the victory and CGR settled for a fifth place finish.

Team owner Chip Ganassi was proud of his team, especially since the program came together late in 2020.

Magnussen knew the team had a car capable of winning, which is something the second generation driver didn’t have a chance to do the past few years in Formula One.

The Ganassi team did serve notice that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship.

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Wayne Taylor Racing Wins Rolex 24 At Daytona

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IMSA

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) is the 2021 winner of the Rolex 24-Hours At Daytona endurance race.

WTR’s Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 crossed the finish line 4.704-seconds ahead of the Ally Cadillac of Action Express Racing to capture the Daytona Prototype International (DPi) class victory as well as the overall victory.

The victory was the third straight for team owner Wayne Taylor, who switched manufacturers from Cadillac to Acura in the off-season, and WTR’s fifth overall.

Filipe Albuquerque drove the final stint of the race and survived a late race battle with Chip Ganassi Racing’s (CGR) Renger Van der Zande, who was forced to pit road after cutting a tire with just over 7-minutes remaining in the twice around-the-clock race.

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“He was fast,” said Albuquerque of Van der Zande. “He was faster than me, obviously. But I thought there must be tire trouble. Physics tells you that. When you push too hard, something happens. When you go off track as well, something goes bad. I was not expecting that to happen. When he blew, we were lucky. But there is nobody who has ever won Daytona or any championship without luck.”

WTR’s victory tied CGR’s record of three straight overall wins in the event. The Ganassi team went back-to-back-to-back from 2006-2008.

Co-drivers Helio Castroneves, Alexander Rossi and Ricky Taylor (son of team owner Wayne) exalted in winning the Rolex watch, which is awarded to all of the class winner.

“So much went into this,” said Ricky Taylor, who scored the second overall Rolex victory of his career. “It was definitely a test of trust and a testament to preparation and sticking to a plan. We skipped all of the offseason testing because the guys needed time to do everything properly. They know how to win this race. I feel like we were all lucky to be a part of it.”

The next race for WeatherTech IMSA Sports Car Series is the 12-Hours of Sebring, March 17-20 at Sebring International Raceway.

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