The 2016 Daytona 24 Hours will be remembered for a long time for the amazing and breathtaking battles in GT Le Mans (GTLM). There were non stop but fair fights on track between BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche cars and drivers.
At the end of a thrilling and fascinating 24-hour endurance race, the GTLM victory went to Corvette Racing. A fine 1-2 for the Pratt & Miller prepared Corvette C7.R in the opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The winning #4 Corvette C7.R was shared by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler. The three drivers completed a total of 722 laps.
The victory came in the closing stages of the race. Oliver Gavin made the decisive move by passing the #912 Porsche 911 RSR and then by resisting to his team-mate Antonio Garcia assaults with #3 Corvette. No team orders and the last fifteen minutes were simply epic to follow.
The second placed #3 Corvette C7.R was driven by Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller.
The GTLM top-three was completed by the #912 Porsche 911 RSR from Porsche North America. Earl Bamber, Frédéric Makowiecki and Michael Christensen had a solid Rolex 24 and battled for GTLM victory all race long. Earl Bamber was leading in the last thirty minutes before losing two places to the works Corvettes.
New comers to GTLM from Scuderia Corsa were impressive and ended in fourth place. Alessandro Pier Guidi, Alexandre Premat, Daniel Serra and Memo Rojas were the drivers of the #68 Ferrari 488 GTE.
Fifth place for the brand new #25 BMW M6 GTLM. Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner, Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler had a solid race with the BMW Team RLL run car. The four drivers finished the race on the class lead lap.
Risi Competizione took the sixth place. The Houston based squad performed well but lost a lot of time in pitlane. Giancarlo Fischella, Toni Vilander, Davide Rigon and Olivier Beretta were the drivers of the #62 Ferrari 488 GTE. A positive performance given that Risi Competizione debuted the car this weekend at Daytona.
Ford Performance Chip Ganassi Racing cars were fast but faced a very unlucky Rolex 24. The two factory Ford GTs ended in positions seven with the #66 Ford of Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sébastien Bourdais and nine with the #67 Ford of Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Stefan Mücke. The team never gave up and the two cars' crews worked really hard to bring them back on track each time.
Porsche North America's second car completed the event in eigth place. The #911 Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Kevin Estre hold the lead for most part in the race before facing a drive shaft issue ending any hope for a GTLM class win.
The SMP Racing #72 Ferrari 488 GTE ended in tenth place within the GTLM class. The AF Corse supported effort was slowed by technical issues despite showing a great pace in the opening stages of the race with drivers Gianmaria Bruni, James Calado, Andrea Bertolini and Viktor Shaytar.
The #100 BMW M6 GTLM from BMW Team RLL was forced to retire earlier today after a massive crash with Lucas Luhr behind the wheel. Fortunatelly the German driver was unharmed. He shared the car with John Edwards, Kuno Wittman and Graham Rahal.
The next event in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be another endurance classic, the demanding 12 Hours of Sebring.