Grasp for victory falls short at Rolex Daytona 24 2017 season opener
Thanks to heroic work by his pit crew, Antonio Garcia grabbed the GTLM lead with 50 minutes to race. But the front engine # 3 Corvette C7.R could not hold off the mid-engine # 67 Ford GT (Dirk Mueller), # 911 Porsche 911 RSR (Patrick Pillet) and # 62 Ferrari 488 GTE (James Calado) in the final going.
Qualifying 7th and 9th in GTLM behind a bevy of Ford GTs, the # 3 & # 4 Corvettes kept pace for 6 hours at which time the # 4 of Tommy Milner reportedly lost power and collided with another car. Repairs to the right lower control arm cost it 21 laps and a chance for the win.
(backup chassis 006 was put into service for 004 that caught fire earlier in the month)
As nightfall approached the track turned from damp to downright wet in the wee hours. Some cars went off while the Corvette crews made the all the right tire calls.
Fans should be encouraged. The Corvette bested all but one of four (4) Ford GTs from Chip Ganassi’s GTLM and WEC teams plus the # 912 Porsche and two (2) BMWs.
Ricky Taylor’s controversial bump that spun Felipe Albuquerque, # 5 Action Express just before the white flag was ruled legal by IMSA (NASCAR) officials. The presence Jeff Gordon as guest driver might have been a factor in awarding the overall win to # 10 Wayne Taylor Racing. Click for more about GM’s move from Corvettes to the sleek Dallara Cadillacs built for the new DPi class. http://conta.cc/2jtiIkO
The $ 400 million investment by the France family brought record crowds and entries at the 55th running of the Rolex Daytona 24. The GTD class alone boasted 27 cars sporting 9 different marques built to FIA GT3 specs. Perhaps GM will allow the Corvette or Cadillac to take part next year.
Race results compiled by Wayne Ellwood.
All eyes are now focused on the Sebring 12 hours on March 18-19.
Season preview video with Oliver Gavin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-U33E0zCLw&feature=youtu.be