MSR Acura soars to Rolex 24 win

Jake Galstad/Motorsport Images

MSR Acura soars to Rolex 24 win

IMSA

MSR Acura soars to Rolex 24 win

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After a full-press, 30-minute dash to the checker, the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura has taken the win in the 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona, leading the crew to climb the fence after Helio Castroneves took the final stint to deliver victory for he, Oliver Jarvis, Tom Blomqvist and Simon Pagenaud. At one point, the No. 60 had been two laps down due to a cut tire.

“This is incredible. I cannot thank everyone enough from Meyer Shank. They gave me an amazing car and I just made it happen. I have amazing teammates. What an incredible race! It was so tough,” said Castroneves.

The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura of Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens missed their fourth straight Rolex, finishing second, but giving Acura a one-two finish. The No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac had been strong in the late going in the hands of Loic Duval, but had nothing for the Acuras at the end and finished third.

The GTD Pro battle between Mathieu Jaminet in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R and Laurens Vanthoor, fighting hard to win his first Rolex 24 in the No. 2 KCMG Porsche, had been raging for hours and came to a head in the final laps.

Two laps from the end, Vanthoor attacked Jaminet on the outside in Turn 1, cut back inside at Turn 2, went side by side and finally, after several incidents of contact and as the two Porsches went side-by-side in the Kink, took the lead. Jaminet wasn’t done, however, as he attacked in Turn 3 to take the lead back on the final lap. As they headed into the Le Mans Chicane, Vanthoor pulled alongside again, the two had side-to-side contact, with Vanthoor getting the worst of it. Jaminet continued to take the victory with Matt Campbell and new Porsche driver and 2021 DPi champion Felipe Nasr.

“I’m at a loss for words,” said Nasr. “I’ve been trying so hard to win this race since I’ve been coming here in 2012. I came close in ’18 and ’19. And the first time driving for Porsche here and having those two aces in the car, Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet — it was incredible! What a last lap — that was incredible what he did!”

The No. 2 Porsche Vanthoor shared with Patrick Pilet, Dennis Olsen and Alexandre Imperatori slid to third. Alessandro Pier Guidi had been lying in wait in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488, and came through on the final lap to take second with James Calado, Daniel Serra and Davide Rigon.

The LMP2 battle nearly turned upside down in the late going, but the No. 81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA came from being several laps down due to penalties to win with Colton Herta taking the final stint.

In the final round of pit stops, Louis Delatraz had taken the lead in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport ORECA, but Herta stalked him and went inside at the entry to the LE MANS chicane, surprising Deletraz with the bold move. Delatraz started to turn in, realized Herta was there, and juked back, taking a ride across the grass. Herta claimed the victory with Eric Lux, Devin DeFrancesco and Pato O’Ward.

The No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier was in control of the LMP3 field for the final few hours to defend its 2021 victory for Gar Robinson, the only returning driver, with Felipe Fraga, Kay van Berlo, and Michael Cooper. The No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier of Joao Barbosa, Malthe Jakobsen, Seb Priaulx and Lance Willsey was second, a lap down, with another lap back to the No. 54 CORE Autosport Ligier of Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, George Kurtz and Nic Jonsson.

Jan Heylen led the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 to victory in GTD, along with Ryan Hardwick, Zacharie Robichon and Richard Lietz, controlling the class for the final hours. The No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage was second, 12.542s behind after the final 30 minutes of green flag racing, for Andy Lally, John Potter, Spencer Pumpelly and Jonathan Adam. Mike Skeen, Stevan McAleer — winner of Friday’s Michelin Pilot Challenge race in GS — Scott Andrews and James Davison in the No. 32 Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes AMG-GT.

Full reports to follow.

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