Over the weekend, the 2017 Rolex 24 hour race was held at Daytona International Speedway. It was a much chillier race this year, with temperatures ranging from the low 60s to mid 40s, with some rain overnight. The new Cadillac DPi V.R teams dominated the prototype class for 2017, and after almost 24 hours of constant battle, the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac prototype was leading, just ahead of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac. Both of them, the new Cadillac DPi V.R, were running neck and neck, sometimes dead even, up to the last few minutes.
The white No. 5 car seemed to be a little faster on the straights, but the black No. 10 would catch up in the curves. In the last few minutes of the race, things changed dramatically. As both cars were pulling through turn 1, Filipe Albuquerque, ran slightly wide in the No. 5, as he had a few times, and the No. 10, driven by Ricky Taylor at the time, went for a tight pass. Filipe Albuquerque tried to shut the door on Taylor, but was met with Taylor’s front fender. Albuquerque was thrown off pace by 4 seconds and was unable to recover in the few remaining minutes of the race.
UPDATE: I was looking at another area of the track when the collision occurred, so I missed the shot of that, but Axis of Understeer caught the whole thing from multiple angles. Today they have an interesting post analyzing the move. To view the collision, check it out on their blog.
Some fans complained that it was an overly-aggressive, or even impatient move on Taylor’s part, but on the other hand, others said that if the opening wasn’t there, Taylor wouldn’t have gone for it. “Rubbing is racing” as the saying goes. The officials seemed to have seen both sides equally at fault, as the race continued without intervention.
Taylor maintained his lead and, despite Albuquerque making a hard effort to the end, won the 55th annual Rolex 24. Albuquerque was furious.
In Protoype Challenge, the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports built up quite a lead in laps (24). A caution lap tightened things up again, but they were still able to hold on for the win.
Ford was really in it to win it this year, doubling the number of Ford GTs from last year, from two to four. It seemed to pay off when their No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT won the GTLM class over the Porsche GT Team’s new for 2017 mid-engined No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.
Toward the end of the race, Scuderia Ferrari suffered an engine failure, giving the lead to the No. 28 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Alegra Motorsports, who up until then was largely not considered much of a contender. They ended up taking the surprise GTD win!
Check back with us throughout the week as we show off some of the notable cars seen in the infield as well as some of our favorite shots of the race this year.
Text and Photography by Bryce Womeldurf
Copyright 2017 HOONART/Bryce Womeldurf