Porsche Penske makes history with Rolex 24 win

Porsche Penske makes history with Rolex 24 win

The #7 Porsche Penske 963 driven by Felipe Nasr, Dane Cameron, Matt Campbell, and Josef Newgarden has achieved a historic triumph after winning the 62nd Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

Porsche Penske Motorsport has achieved a landmark victory in the 62nd Rolex 24 at Daytona coming over 20 years after the German automaker’s last overall victory in the endurance classic. 

After a final-hour full course caution for the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, which caught fire, Felipe Nasr emerged ahead of Tom Blomqvist during the final round of pit stops.

With 32 minutes remaining, Nasr managed to hold off the extremely fast two-time and current defending race winner Blomqvist who was making his Action Express debut. Nasr crossed the finish line 2.112 seconds ahead of the Cadillac, giving Porsche their first Rolex 24 victory since 2003.

However, the checkered flag waved with more than a minute left on the clock, although TV graphics indicated two laps were remaining. This confusing sequence led to a rather controversial victory for Porsche Penske.

Felipe Nasr shared first place with reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden, Dane Cameron and Matt Campbell as all shared driving duties in the #7 Porsche Penske 963. The four also secured their first-ever Rolex 24 victories.

The Penske Porsche performed exceptionally well in the colder early morning conditions as the two GTP class entires battled tirelessly in the final stretch of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.

Nasr had built up an 18-second lead before the penultimate warning for debris, which resulted in a three-hour and 42-minute green flag run but Blomqvist took the lead after the second-to-last set of stops. In the critical last pit stops, the lead ultimately switched sides once more with the Porsche using 5% less energy than the Cadillac.

Porsche broke Acura’s three-event winning streak with the victory, marking a record 19th overall Daytona 24-hour victory. Meanwhile, Team Penske won the event for the first time since 1969.

The No. 40 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 driven by Louis Deletraz, Jordan Taylor, Jenson Button and Colton Herta rounded out the overall podium in third place. This comes despite a stoppage for Deletraz shortly before the halfway point of the race, resulting in their car getting lapped.

The finish came about without further intervention from IMSA race control after a collision between Deletraz and Mathieu Jaminet’s No. 6 Penske Porsche during the restart that sent the Frenchman wide.

Jaminet bounced back to take fourth place, while Gianmaria Bruni’s No. 5 Proton Competition Porsche finished fifth. Bruni rebounded from a venture off the track while making attempts to advance up to the front grid on the lap before the restart. The top five GTP cars each completed within 45 seconds on the lead lap.

The JDC-Miller Motorsports Porsche finished sixth after a largely seamless drive although it finished two laps down the lead.

Kevin Estre’s mistake on his out lap cost the No. 6 Porsche more than a minute with under four hours remaining in the race, as they also overcame repeated stop-and-hold penalties for not adhering to powertrain limits.

The two BMW M Hybrid V8s operated by Team RLL were ranked seventh and eighth respectively after encountering hiccups overnight.

Dries Vanthoor’s No. 24 BMW came to a stop on the track just before the fourteenth hour, losing thirteen laps due to a mistaken diagnosis that was eventually determined to be an electrical fault linked to the steering wheel. The car lost further time after the recovery vehicle’s tow hook fell apart. 

Less than an hour later, Connor De Phillippi who held command of the No. 25 entry, ended up in the garage after the gearbox malfunctioned, losing nine laps.

Renger van der Zande stopped the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac on the circuit after suffering a terminal mechanical powertrain issue in the fourteenth hour, marking the first retirement in GTP.

This came after Sebastien Bourdais experienced an early tyre rupture after running over debris and Scott Dixon receiving a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane, which had initially resulted in the car falling two laps behind.

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