Cadillac Wins at Daytona!

As the 55th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona entered the final hour a Cadillac victory was all but guaranteed, the only question remaining was which one would cross the line first.

Cadillac started the race with its trio of prototypes in the top 4 positions, the No.5 Mustang Sampling DPi-V.R held pole position, with its sister the No.31 Whelen Cadillac in second, and the No.10 Konica Minolta DPi in fourth spot.

After the opening 20-minutes it was clear the the trio of DPi-V.Rs run by Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing were cream of the 52-car strong field. After a late night incident put the No.31 car out of contention it left the No.10 of Ricky and Jordan Taylor, Jeff Gordon and Max Angelelli to do battle with the No.5 of Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Filipe Albuquerque for the overall win as the sun came up in Florida.

The WTR squad led most of the night and into the morning before a full course yellow just prior to the teams penultimate stop put them back behind the Action Express No.5 going into the final hour.

Cadillac DPi-V.R Wins 24 Hours At Daytona

With 16-minutes left it was a knife fight between Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque for the coveted Rolex watches that come with the top step in Daytona. Ricky got alongside Albuquerque into Turn 1 but the former Audi LMP1 man held the No.10 Cadillac at bay.

Ricky spent the next few laps shadowing Albuquerque, knowing the No.5 car was weak on the brakes going into Turn 1. With seven minutes remaining Taylor made his move again as the pair of Cadillacs battled through lapped traffic, into Turn 1 the No.10 DPi got alongside the Mustang Sampling No.5, by the time Albuquerque realized it was too late, he tried to close the door but instead the two banged side pods sending the No.5 car spinning. Albuquerque would recover and bring the Action Express Cadillac home in second place.

“The pass I was working on him we came to GT traffic and they didn’t look to good in Turn1. I thought about doing this for years and years.” said Ricky Taylor. “Drivers tend to release their hands a little in the break there and it opens up.”

“The move he did on me, I don’t think it is fair. I think many people agree with me. The officials don’t agree and they’re the most important guys. But, it’s what it is. He didn’t even wait for me. He just spun me left. That’s what it is,” raged Albuquerque after the race. “Great job by the team. We hand a puncture. We were always there and the car was amazing. Congrats to Cadillac for the amazing car they gave us. Congrats to them, Action Express, Joao and Christian. I don’t feel like I lost the race. I was just pushed off to lose the race.”

Cadillac DPi-V.R 24 Hours At Daytona

The win is significant for Wayne Taylor Racing, as long time hot shoe Max Angelelli would be racing for the last time. “Wonderful. I was speechless. What is better than this? I finished my career with a big win with Jeff and the boys. I want to thank the Taylor family. He [Wayne Taylor] said I was the worst teammate, he really means it. This is a really special way to end my driving career,” gushed the Italian.

It was Jeff Gordon’s first win in sportscar racing making him the fourth driver to win both the Rolex 24 and the Daytona 500. “This is unbelievable! I haven’t been this emotional for a win and an experience like this for a very long time. The reason is because I know what this means to this team, Wayne [Taylor], these kids [Ricky and Jordan] – Max,” said Gordon. “This is amazing! Daytona has always been special, but this one sent me over the top. I’m just blown away right now.

The IMSA WeatherTech Sport Car Championship won’t be in action until March 15-18, when the series heads back to Florida for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled By Fresh From Florida.

 

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