Earl Bamber was the highest place Kiwi driver at the 54th running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona held over the weekend. Bamber’s ’s Porsche 911 RSR team came home third in the GTLM class and placed ninth overall.
The 2015 Le Mans-winning No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin won the GTLM class, edging the 2015 Daytona and Sebring-winning No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia to the line by 0.034 seconds, the closest class finish in the history of the Rolex 24
Overall winner was driven by 22 year-old Pipo Derani who took over the lead with one-hour, 17-minutes remaining, driving the Tequila Patrón ESM to victory. It capped off a sensational race in the opening round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
Brendon Hartley in the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Team Ford EcoBoost Riley placed both fifth in class (Prototype) and overall while Scott Dixon in the #01 sister car placed 13th.
The GT Daytona (GTD) finish was equally thrilling with fuel strategy playing an integral role in the finish. The No. 28 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Fabio Babini passed Rene Rast’s No. 44 Audi Tire Center Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 with nine minutes remaining, but ran out of fuel with only three minutes remaining in the 24-hour race.
Richie Stanaway’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 placed fourth.
“We had a perfect race without a single issue,” commented Stanaway. “We just miss-timed our run at the end with fuel which cost us a shot at victory. Next time!”
Shane Van Gisbergen’s (GTD class) luck run out late in the race. “We were flying but the rear wing came off on me in the worst spot possible,” said Van Gisbergen. “The rear wing mounts broke giving negative rear wing and spinning me off track. So gutted but at the same time so proud of the team and drivers for being in contention all race.” His team placed 13th in class and 28th overall.