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.
— IMSA (@IMSA) January 31, 2021
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.
It is OVER for Renger Van Der Zande and Chip Ganassi Racing.
— Motorsports on NBC (@MotorsportsNBC) January 31, 2021
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.
Im so proud of our team performance this past weekend. Saturday was the 7th day we ran our new @cadillac DPi car. Not even a Covid scare could stop @CGRTeams. Fighting for the lead with 7minutes to go after 23h53m. I'm really proud of all of our men and women on this team.
— Chip Ganassi (@GanassiChip) February 1, 2021
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.
If we hadn’t had a puncture with 5 laps to go, I think we would have had a really good chance of winning the race. Motorsport is tough sometimes. Thanks @CGRTeams for an awesome race car. Great job by my teammates @Rengervdz & @scottdixon9. 12h of Sebring next! pic.twitter.com/wHFDY2cOJG
— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) February 1, 2021
The Ganassi team did serve notice that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship.
Wayne Taylor Racing Wins Rolex 24 At Daytona
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.
“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.
Chip Ganassi Racing Returning To IMSA Competition In 2021 With Cadillac
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Seven-time Champions Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) are returning to IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car competition following a year hiatus from the sport.
CGR is partnering with Cadillac to field a Daytona Prototype international (DPi) entry beginning in 2021.
“We are very excited to welcome Chip Ganassi Racing to the Cadillac competition family,” said Rory Harvey, Cadillac Vice President. “Their success across many forms of racing, including sports cars, will be a great addition to our IMSA WeatherTech line-up.”
“Partnering with Cadillac is a tremendous opportunity for our team and we want to start delivering for them in January at the Rolex 24 At Daytona,” said team owner Chip Ganassi.
— Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) November 16, 2020
CGR has the greatest stretch in Rolex 24 At Daytona history highlighted by eight wins and three second-place finishes from 2006-2018. Ganassi is the only team owner in history to win three-straight Rolex 24 At Daytonas (2006-2008).
“We can’t wait to get back to IMSA and fight for the overall win after several years competing in the GTLM class,” said Ganassi, who last partnered with Ford Motor Company to field Ford GT’s in IMSA and the World Endurance Championship (WEC). That partnership resulted in several GTLM class wins including the prestigious 24-Hours of Le Mans.
In 2020, Cadillac scored its fourth consecutive Rolex 24 At Daytona win, and followed with wins at Sebring and Petit Le Mans en route to a second-place finish in the Championship.
In 2019, they scored wins at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, Long Beach and Petit Le Mans.
The 2018 season saw the program win the Rolex 24 At Daytona en route to the Prototype Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championships.
The program began in 2017 when Cadillac teams won every title in the inaugural season of the IMSA DPi formula including a one-two-three sweep of the Driver Championship, along with the Team and Manufacturers titles.
CGR has seven Championships (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013) and 64 race wins to their credit since their introduction to sports car racing in 2004.
“Chip’s pedigree at winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona eight times as well as their championships in this form of racing gives Cadillac another stalwart team to compete for the 2021 IMSA DPi championship,” said Harvey.
Ganassi is already a member of the General Motors family as the NASCAR operation fields Chevrolet’s.
“Our relationship with General Motors has expanded from the NASCAR Cup Series and we couldn’t be happier,” said Ganassi.
Driver lineups and partnership details will be announced at a later date.
Mazda Wins 12-Hours of Sebring; Acura Team Penske Wins DPi Championship
SEBRING, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Mazda Motorsports captured the 12-Hours of Sebring endurance race with the No. 55 Mazda DPi, driven by Jonathan Bomarito, Harry Tincknell and Ryan Hunter-Reay, beating the No. 6 Team Penske Acura by 10.154-seconds at Sebring International Raceway.
The No. 77 Mazda DPi appeared to be headed for the victory but cut a left rear tire with 27-minutes remaining to bring out a full-course caution. That gave the lead to Tincknell in their sister car who brought the car home with the win with the No. 77 rallying to finish third.
“I said to myself, ‘This is what you dream of,’” Tincknell said. “Twenty minutes to go, leading one of the biggest races in the world. You just have to go for it, give it everything you have. No regrets. I just pushed like crazy.”
The DPi victory went to Mazda but the DPi Championship went to the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi co-driven by Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Alexander Rossi.
Forty minutes into the race, the left intercooler malfunctioned on the Team Penske machine, which took 25-minutes to repair. The Acura returned to the race far behind the field with their championship hopes looking dim.
Team Penske’s hopes brightened when a collision between Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77 Mazda and Scott Dixon in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac forced Dixon to limp to the pits with a flat right rear and led to an extensive repair.
“I think there was no way he was going to make the corner,” Dixon said. “I kind of saw him coming and tried to give him enough without wrecking myself. I got off track a little bit in the hairpin and got dirty tires.”
The No. 10 Cadillac returned to the race but was laps down and the WTR Caddy only finished one spot ahead of the No. 7, which was not good enough in the final standings.
The No. 7 Acura finished one point ahead in the final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings in the driver, team and manufacturer categories.
“In racing, anything is possible,” said Castroneves, who picked up the first season Championship in his 23-year career. “We started the season with no points on the board and all of a sudden we’re battling for the championship. Unfortunately, in this situation, it was completely outside of our hands. We literally were waiting for things to happen, and they did. It was destiny. I always say if it’s meant to be it will be, and I’m so glad it was our turn. You never give up. … We never gave up.”
“To me, Helio is Team Penske, and it was the privilege of a lifetime to get to drive for Acura Team Penske,” Taylor said. “To win it with him was one of the highlights of my life.”
The No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07, co-driven by Patrick Kelly, Simon Trummer and Scott Huffaker, took home the victory in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class. The No. 52 claimed the team and driver championships Nov. 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R took home the victory in the GT Daytona class. The GTD Championship went to the #86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX of defending series champion Mario Farnbacher, Matt McMurry and Shinya Michimi thanks to a third-place class finish at Sebring. MSR takes home the class Championship by eight points over over nine other competing performance car OEM’s, include Porsche, Lexus, BMW, Ferrari and Lamborghini.