It took 11 years, but Ryan Dalziel made scored his second career victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Dalziel, now based in nearby Orlando, joined Kyle Tilley, Paul-Loup Chatlin and Dwight Merriman in taking LMP2 honors sharing the No. 18 Era Motorsport Bremont/Idec Sport/Motul ORECA LMP2 07-Gibson.
Back in 2010, Dalziel was part of the winning overall lineup in the debut of Action Express Racing, driving a Porsche Riley with Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller and Mike Rockenfeller.
“I won one young and now won one old,” Dalziel said. “It feels like so long ago.”
Dalziel has been coming to the Rolex 24 since 2006, running the race for the 16th consecutive time this weekend.
“I’ve had so many years that were runners-up or thirds, or leading with a few hours to go, so this one was very special,” he said.
Dalziel joined Era at the end of last year. Era Motorsports made its debut in last year’s Rolex 24, finishing on the podium by placing third in LMP2 with Tilley joined by Merriman, Ryan Lewis and Nicolas Minassian. That was one position ahead of Dalziel, who co-drove with Tower Motorsport by Starworks.
“I had watched what they had done in their rookie season last year, and was real impressed with what Kyle [Tilley] had put together,” he said.
On Sunday, the race came down to Era Motorsports vs. Tower Motorsport in the final hour, with Dalziel’s new team coming out ahead of the car prepared by his long-time former car owner, Peter Baron.
“I had a really good feeling about this week,” Dalziel said. “My wife said she hadn’t seen me this confident coming into this event for a number of years. There’s something very special about this group. I went to their shop in early January, and I just knew it was going to be a good weekend. We definitely executed everything on our end. We had a couple of unlucky breaks that put us four laps down at one point, and we only got one yellow to get us on the lead lap. To be honest, it was executed as a team and the drivers. The car was extremely fast. We fought all the way back to the last 10 minutes. We knew we had to do a splash.
“I was crying my eyes out on pit road, and I’ll probably cry again when I get home.”
Team owner Tilley said the team was formed for last year’s Rolex 24.
“We were pretty confident coming into the weekend,” Tilley said. “To come here twice, initially with a podium and then to win the thing is pretty staggering. I can’t say enough for all the work put in by the team. I can just show up and drive.”