No. 934
February 21, 2018
 

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Jan292018

JANUARY 31, 2018

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)

Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi (No. 5 Action Express Mustang Sampling Cadillac-branded DPi-V.R) won the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona last weekend, the season-opener of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar ChampionshipThe No. 5 machine recorded 808 laps around the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course, covering a total of 2,876.48 miles, which broke a 36-year-old record. In all, the top-15 finishers in the race broke the distance record in a race that had just four full-course caution periods for a total of 20 laps. The No. 5 took the lead for the final time during the race’s 16th hour and went on to win over its Action Express Racing team car, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac-branded DPi-V.R – co-driven by Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran, Mike Conway and Stuart Middleton – by a margin of 1 minute, 10.544 seconds. “There was a lot of drama behind closed doors that a lot of people didn’t really see,” said Barbosa, whose other two overall victories came in 2010 and 2014. “We had an issue, actually, on both cars that they were overheating. I was very surprised by so few yellows. The race pace was very, very high for the whole 24 hours, no rest at all. We were able to put some water in the car during one of those times under yellow and it didn’t really cost us any time.The No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA LMP2 car shared by Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, Loic Duval and Romain Dumas finished third and won Rolex watches for winning the Trueman Pro-Am Team Endurance class. The No. 54 machine also completed the full 808-lap distance. See a gallery of John Thawley's scintillating images from Daytona here.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
The No. 31 Action Express Racing Whelen Engineering Cadillac-branded DPi-V.R – co-driven by Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran, Mike Conway and Stuart Middleton  finished second overall.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, Loic Duval and Romain Dumas (No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA LMP2) finished third.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon (No. 67 Ganassi Racing Ford GT/Michelin) finished 11.166-seconds ahead of teammates Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais (No. 66 Ganassi Racing Ford GT/Michelin) for a dominant 1-2 performance for Chip Ganassi and Ford in the GT Le Mans class at the Daytona 24 Hour. How dominant? The Ganassi Racing Fords led all but nine of the 783 GTLM class laps of the 3.56-mile circuit. The total distance covered in 783 laps was 2,787.48 miles, 2,755.44 of which they led. Including previous wins at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans and 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona, the victory marked the third 24-hour race class win for the Ford GT in its first five international 24-hour races. The win was also the 200th race victory for Chip Ganassi Racing including IndyCar, NASCAR, IMSA, WEC and Global Rallycross events. Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller (No. 3 Corvette Racing C7.R/Michelin) were third, and Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler (No. 4 Corvette Racing C7.R/Michelin) finished fourth. Corvette Racing simply couldn't match the pace of the Fords during the race.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais (No. 66 Ganassi Racing Ford GT/Michelin) helped deliver a dominant 1-2 performance for Chip Ganassi and Ford in the GT Le Mans class.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller (No. 3 Corvette Racing C7.R/Michelin) finished third in GTLM, but the factory Corvettes were simply no match for the pace of the Fords during the race.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
Mirko Bortolotti, Rolf Ineichen, Franck Perera and Rik Breukers (No. 11 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3) won the GT Daytona class in the Daytona 24 Hour. “It's a big day for us, definitely,” said Bortolotti. “Coming from the back of the field, makes it even more special, I guess. I don't know if this happened before but I don't care ‑‑ coming from last position, winning such an important race, it's great. Just so proud of everyone, of the whole team, and Lamborghini obviously. We've been working so hard to make this happen." The No. 11 Lamborghini crossed the finish line 16.806 seconds ahead of the No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 driven by Alvaro Parente, Katherine Legge, Trent Hindman and AJ Allmendinger, which ran in the top five for the majority of the race and led a total of 51 laps of the race’s 752. Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, Andrea Caldarelli and Bryce Miller (No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3) finished third.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
The No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 driven by Alvaro Parente, Katherine Legge, Trent Hindman and AJ Allmendinger was second in GTD.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, Andrea Caldarelli and Bryce Miller (No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3) finished third in GTD.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
Scott Pruett, 57, retired at the end of the Daytona 24 Hour. 
As his team’s No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F Lexus crossed the line, the five-time Rolex 24 overall winner offered the waiting photographers a thumbs up photo for the record books, turned back to embrace his team owner Paul Gentilozzi, shook hands with a long line of crew and sponsors crowding the pit, then he jumped over the wall, took his wife Judy’s hand and helped her over too. The couple posed together for a photograph with the famous Daytona International Speedway finish line in the background then they shared a long kiss and embrace. “I'm not leaving, but I certainly am going to open up a new chapter,’’ Pruett said Sunday afternoon. “And I think last night I did all my driving, the majority of my driving was from about 8 o’clock last night to about 7 o’clock this morning, with maybe one or two out‑of‑the‑cars in between. “So I'll remember the darkness of Daytona and certainly all the craziness that happens at nighttime, along with a little rain. And those are all great, fond, wonderful memories.” His former Ganassi team manager Mike Hull likened Pruett to the great Dan Gurney, who passed away two weeks ago. Hull praised Pruett’s willingness and ability to solve problems in different and more innovative ways than what people may be accustomed to – to succeed beyond the normal way of doing things. The mindset and physical talent resulted in 41 sports car victories driving for the Ganassi team alone – almost a quarter of Ganassi’s 200-win total in major league auto racing. “Scott Pruett is a driver and consummate professional,’’ Hull said. “He elevates the entire team in the process of what he does. He makes every person on the team better. “He turned on the lights and turned off the lights when he showed up to work at Chip Ganassi Racing for the entire time he was with us. But he did more than that. He realized that in sports car racing, with a parallel teammate, your teammate had to carry 50 percent of the load so what he did was mentor every teammate that he had to make them much better than they were when they arrived at CGR. He worked with the guys, the engineers, team manager, the person who worked on the front of his race car. He worked with each person, not criticizing each person and that’s a large difference. That’s his brand.” Pruett’s versatility defined him in the sport. He raced in sports cars, NASCAR, Indy cars and even won races against the very best in IROC (International Race of Champions), including a victory against the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Al Unser and Al Unser Jr. on the Daytona high banks. And his five sports car championships and Rolex 24 trophy hoists – 10 in all when counting class victories - will remain one of the most impressive feats in modern-day racing. Pruett won four of his five Rolex 24 races with Ganassi. “I think he was just totally committed to the sport,’’ Ganassi said. “He was all in from an early age about racing and he wasn’t worth billions of dollars, he just persevered as a driver for many years. We’re all better people to have experienced his career in our lifetime." “I think it's going to be in a week or two it's going to hit, especially as we look towards going to the test at Sebring and the race at Sebring -- and I won't be packing my bags and going,’’ Pruett said. “But the first thing is, more than anything else, just toast this incredible career with my wife and family and just look back and take a moment to reflect on just how wonderful. And like I said, the good Lord's blessed me with an incredible career doing all this great stuff -- and just taking a moment to savor that. Because typically I'm that guy with my head down just going forward, never looking back. Afraid it might catch up to me. Now it's kind of caught up to me, and I might like to sit on the porch, have a glass of wine and look back a little bit.”

 

 

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