It was a great 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona

The 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona was immense and great. One of the greatest sportscar endurance races in recent years. There were battles everywhere for the outright victory and for class honors.

The GT Le Mans division was by far the most beautiful to look at. Five prestigious brands entered the opening round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and they were all very strong. BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche were all competitive with some stellar line-ups. And yes we missed Aston Martin Racing and their brand new 2016 spec Vantage GTE in Daytona.

For most parts of the race nearly the whole GT Le Mans field was on the lead lap. There were many memorable battles and many lead changes. Side by side racing and sometimes three wide on the straights, the battles were intense and simply breathtaking.

The last ten minutes in the twice around the clock Florida classic will be remembered for years. The two factory Corvette C7.Rs battled for GTLM class victory without mercy. No team orders from the Corvette pitlane and both Oliver Gavin (#4 Corvette) and Antonio Garcia (#3 Corvette) were allowed to race each other. In the end it was a true photo finish and a prove that modern endurance racing has morphed into true long sprint events.

Full credits to IMSA as well for the very good Balance of Performance in GTLM. Corvette won but the other brands were strong too. Porsche took the third place but proved that their upgraded 911 RSRs are really competitive. Ferrari and BMW enjoyed successful debut with the 488 GTE and M6 GTLM, both cars were fast. Ford was quick but faced a lot of technical issues, with a reliable car the Ford GTs will be a serious threat in GTLM.

The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is Sebring, another classic and another very demanding endurance event. A 12-hour race, half the distance compared to Daytona but a very hard race for men and machines.

Photos: Porsche / Chevrolet