jeudi 12 novembre 2015

Viper, Corvette and Porsche - Three modern GT outright victories at Rolex 24 at Daytona


A look back at three prestigious and emotional outright victories from GT race cars at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The three wins came in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series era.


It all started in the year 2000. The all conquering Viper Team Oreca arrived at Daytona with the dominant Dodge Viper GTS-R. The car dominated the much faster open-top prototypes and won the event overall.

The winning Viper was shared by Olivier Beretta, Dominique Dupuy and Karl Wendlinger. That was the last appearance for the factory Viper team in the twice around the clock Florida classic. The Viper works effort ended at the end of the 2000 season after clinching the American Le Mans Series GTS title and the class victory at Le Mans 24 Hours.


A year it was the turn of another American GT car to win the Rolex 24 outright. The improving Corvette Racing clinched the event against the quicker prototypes. 

The victorious Corvette C5-R was driven by Johnny O'Connell, Ron Fellows, Chris Kneifel and Franck Fréon. Corvette Racing didn't return to Daytona in the next years and focused on competing in American Le Mans Series.


The last GT overall victory at Dayonta was in 2003. California based team The Racer's Group won the event with a privateer Porsche 911 GT3 RS (996).

Porsche factory drivers Timo Bernhard and Jörg Bergmeister were joined by team-owner Kevin Buckler and Michael Schrom behind the wheel of the winning car.

The Porsche victory ended a short era of GT domination at Daytona. Since 2004 only Daytona Prototypes won the 24-hour race overall.