The 2016 Rolex 24 At DAYTONA was one of the most memorable in event history. In front of a packed crowd, the first race in the world’s only motorsports stadium began with the appropriate pageantry and ended with perhaps the greatest 15 minutes in event history.
Luis Felipe Derani took the checkered flag in the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Honda-powered Ligier JS P2. The 22-year-old, in his first sports car race in America, turned in a dominant final driving stint that finished 26.166 seconds ahead of second place Max Angelleli in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP.
He was joined in Gatorade Victory Lane by teammates Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown, who gave a Honda-powered car its first victory in the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA Notably, Derani became the fourth youngest overall winner of the race and Sharp claimed his second career Rolex 24 At DAYTONA triumph.
What They Said: “I want to thank my team for the amazing car they gave me. I was just asking the car to not give up on me.” –Luis Felipe Derani
Rast-Babini Duel in GTD
In the GT Daytona class, fuel strategy played an integral role in its thrilling finish. The No. 44 Audi Tire Center Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Rene Rast was passed by Fabio Babini driving the No. 28 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 with just nine minutes remaining.
Babini had closed more than 30 seconds in the final hour on Rast, passed him with under 10 minutes to go into Turn 1, but ultimately ran out of fuel just three minutes shy of the finish to the 24-hour race. Rast was able to conserve enough fuel to finish 3.048 seconds ahead of Nicky Catsburg’s No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R to take home the GTD title.
What They Said: “I think it was one of my hardest stints ever in my life. The radio was constantly in my ear telling me how many turns I had left, go faster, but save more fuel. It's so hard to go slower than to go fast, and I had to adapt myself every single lap.” –Rene Rast
1-2 Corvette finish in GTLM
Corvette Racing finished 1-2 after a stirring late-race GT Le Mans class battle. In the factory-backed GT Le Mans Class, Oliver Gavin held off hard-charging Corvette Racing teammate Antonio Garcia in a side-by-side battle at the finish line to win the class by .034 seconds. With two laps left, the No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Garcia successful ran down Gavin’s No. 4 Corvette C7.R and passed him to the outside at Turn 1; however, thanks to a skillful crossover move, Gavin retook the top spot mere moments later on the corner exit.
The .034 final margin after 24 hours of racing is the closest finish in the history of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA.
What They Said: “What you saw today was simply the two best road racers in the world with the two best cars in the world. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better race than this.” -Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager
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