The 60th 24 Hours of Daytona had a finale that will be remembered for the next 60 years. Over 23 hours, seven DPi entries were culled down to four cars in contention for the overall victory with a half-hour to go. The safety car was deployed during the final hour to recover the #19 TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo outside turn 1. Each of the four contenders made pitstops, removing any strategy from the battle for the win.
As the race went green for the final time, Hélio Castroneves driving the #60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05 led the field. Behind the wheel of the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05, Ricky Taylor was in hot pursuit of the four-time Indianapolis 500 Champion. Loïc Duval in the #5 JDC-Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R and Pipo Durani in the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R were right behind the two leading Acuras.
During the first run through the International Horseshoe, Durani ran Duval wide off the racing line. The early scuffle effectively removed both Cadillacs from a chance at winning the 24-hour race.
Castroneves and Taylor were lapping the road course at a spectacular pace within tenths of a second of each other as they maneuvered around slower traffic. The race result was cemented when Ricky Taylor couldn’t cleanly overtake the leading GTD Pro Porsches on the exit of turn 6 onto the banking of NASCAR turn 1.
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The deficit was just too large for Taylor to overcome without a mistake from the leader. Hélio Castroneves crossed the finish line first after 24 hours, securing the 2022 Rolex 24 for Meyer Shank Racing and his teammates, Oliver Jarvis, Tom Blomqvist and Simon Pagenaud. This is Castroneves’s second consecutive 24 Hours of Daytona as he won the race last year as a driver in the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura.
The GTD Pro class wouldn’t be decided until the final lap. The #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R, driven by Mathieu Jaminet, and #2 KCMG Porsche 911 GT3R, driven by Laurens Vanthoor, were locked in a pitched battle, locking bumpers like they were racing a short track on Saturday night. There were a few slight bump-and-runs, but door-to-door contact into the Le Mans Chicane settled the fight.
Jaminet and Vanthoor entered the renamed bus stop side-by-side, making contact and sliding through the grass. Vanthoor lost control and spun, while Jaminet held on to claim the class victory from himself and his teammates Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr.
The #81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA driven by Colton Herta, Devin DeFrancesco, Eric Lux and Pato O’Ward won in the LMP2 class. The #16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 won in the GTD class with Jan Heylen, Ryan Hardwick, Richard Lietz and Zacharie Robichon. The #74 Riley Motorsports Ligier with Felipe Fraga, Kay van Berlo, Michael Cooper and Gar Robinson won the LMP3 class as the only car on the class lead lap.
The 12 Hours of Sebring on March 19th is the next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.