No. 781,
January 28, 2015

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The Line


january 28, 2015


(John Thawley  ~  Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)

The Daytona 24-hour race for the GT Le Mans class came down to a seven-and-a-half minute shoot-out between the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R and the No. 25 BMW Z4 GTE from BMW Team RLL. Antonio Garcia prevailed over Dirk Warner at the finish by a just 0.478 seconds, giving Corvette Racing its first GTLM class win at the Rolex 24 since 2001. Garcia had a comfortable lead over Werner with 20 minutes remaining, but that lead disappeared when Prototype Challenge (PC) class leader Colin Braun made contact with the wall coming out of the chicane on the backstretch forcing a full-course caution period. Werner closed the gap throughout the final six laps, but fell just short at the checkered flag with Garcia joining co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Ryan Briscoe in the victory. “Every time you win here it's very, very special,” Garcia said. “I've been chasing this victory since 2009, even if I won it back then.  This is a very unique race.  It’s the first race of the year, so it's very difficult to be at 100 percent right away for the team and for the drivers. Everything ran perfect, and as Ryan (Briscoe) said, we just kept our nose clean, and I had the best car to fight on the last eight minutes of the race.” Garcia won the Rolex 24 overall in 2009 for Brumos Racing. Corvette Racing did not compete at Daytona from 2002 through 2013 before joining the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for its inaugural 2014 season. The No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R entry of Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin and Simon Pagenaud was in contention for the race win, but lost four laps after making contact with the No. 66 RG Racing BMW Dinan/Riley Prototype with three hours remaining and finished third. Check out all of John Thawley's scintillating images from the Rolex24 here, and go to Fumes for more on Ganassi Racing's overall win.

(John Thawley  ~  Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)

The No. 54 CORE autosport Composite Resources/Flex-Box ORECA FLM09 of Ben Keating, Colin Braun, James Gue and Mark Wilkins held a multi-lap lead in the Prototype Challenge class for much of the 24 Hour race distance, but with 20 minutes remaining, Braun made contact with a Prototype and spun. He returned to the circuit, only to spin at the exit of the chicane after experiencing suspension failure. The car then hit the wall and caught fire. Even though the car completed enough laps to finish third in class, it was a bitter end to the race - and the weekend - for the team. Tom Kimber-Smith, Mike Guasch, Andrew Novich and Andrew Palme inherited the win in the class in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Cuttwood/Spyder Orafol ORECA FLM09. The pole-winning No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports Autosport Designs/Top 1 Oil ORECA driven by Johnny Mowlem, Tom Papadopoulos, Tomy Drissi, Brian Alder and Martin Plowman finished second.

(John Thawley  ~  Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)

Ben Keating, Al Carter, Dominik Farnbacher, Kuno Wittmer and Cameron Lawrence (No. 93 TI Automotive/ Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R) won the GT Daytona (GTD) class. Even though they were challenged by the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 GT America of Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen, Andrew Davis and Shane van Gisbergen -- the two cars combined to lead the final 209 laps of the race -- Farnbacher led the last 49 circuits en route to a 7.588 second victory. “For everybody in the room and the fans and everybody, we're not just weekend warriors that are weekend hires,” Wittmer said. “We're family; we're more than that. We've worked together since 2012, and some of us before that.  Yeah, unfortunately our program got pulled, but I think it's the cooperation of Ben Keating and Bill Riley and some others that were able to retain us family, keep us together and get it going.” Patrick Dempsey rounded out the top three finishers in the No. 58 Dempsey/Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America co-driven by Madison Snow, Jan Heylen and Philipp Eng. The third-place finish matched Dempsey’s best career finish in the Rolex 24.

Matt Plumb joined his brother Hugh (No. 13 Rum Bum Porsche 911) to win the BMW 200 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Daytona International Speedway last Friday afternoon. Robin Liddell (No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R started by Andrew Davis) finished second, 6.972 seconds behind the leader. Lawson Aschenbach (No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R co-driven by Matt Bell) took third. Luis Rodriguez Jr. joined veteran Spencer Pumpelly in taking the Street Tuner (ST) victory in the No. 17 Rennsport One Porsche Cayman. Defending ST champ and Daytona winner Eric Foss finished second in the No. 56 Murillo Racing/Mosing Motorcars Porsche Cayman started from the pole by Justin Piscitell. David Murry and Ted Giovanis took third in the No 64 Team TGM BMW 328i. The next stop for the Continental Tire Challenge will be at Sebring International Raceway on Friday, March 20.

(Images courtesy of Honda/newspress)
McLaren-Honda revealed their new racing car at McLaren's headquarters in Woking, United Kingdom. The MP4-30 is fitted with Honda’s new 1.6-liter V6 engine, the RA615H.