Misfortune strikes at least one team vying for the overall Rolex 24 At Daytona win each year, and in 2021, the unfortunate honor went to Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing.
Having chased down eventual winner Felipe Albuquerque in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 DPi, Renger van der Zande had erased a big deficit in the final sprint to the checkered flag, but a blown right-rear tire, after 23 hours and 52 minutes of action, nullified the Dutchman’s chance of fighting with the Portuguese ace.
After leading 225 of the race’s 807 laps, and coming within a few car lengths of the Acura, CCGR’s No. 01 Cadillac DPi-V.R squad were left to finish fifth. Once as close as 0.20s to Albuquerque, van der Zande crossed the finish line 67 seconds behind.
“Definitely an interesting day,” said teammate Scott Dixon. “We had some great speed and then had a few problems with the car. We had some penalties to get through and some right rear blowouts as well. Obviously, that is what took us out of contention at the end. What a tremendous effort from the team considering this all came together in a very short time. At some point we had the race won, but unfortunately it just wasn’t our day, just proud of everyone.”
New CCGR driver Kevin Magnussen shared in Dixon’s assessment.
“Absolutely gutted,” he said after his first endurance race. “Looked like we had the race win right there. Renger had really good pace catching the No. 10 car – I think he would have had a really good chance to win the race. A really awesome experience for me, I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. I learned a lot and I can’t wait for a great season with Chip Ganassi Racing.”