Cadillac claims record-breaking Daytona 24Hrs

Mat Coch

Monday 29th January, 2018 - 6:50am

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The race winning #5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi

Cadillac has won a record-breaking Daytona 24 Hours courtesy of Filipe Albuquerque, Joao Barbosa, and Christian Fittipaldi.

In a race that ran with just two safety car periods, the #5 Cadillac DPi controlled proceedings throughout, taking the lead after just half an hour.

They were followed home by the #31 Cadillac of Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran, Mike Conway, and Stuart Middleton, while Oreca rounded out the overall podium with the #54 CORE autosport car of Jonathan Bennett, Colin Braun, Romain Dumas, and Loic Duval.

The leading trio of cars amassed a total of 2,876.48 miles (808 laps), shattering the previous race distance of 2,760.96 miles set in 1982.

In GTLM, Ford dominated proceedings with the Ryan Briscoe #67 entry heading the sister car home for a Chip Ganassi 1-2 in class.

“It’s always fantastic to win here,” said Scott Dixon, who shared the car with Briscoe and Richard Westabrook.

“I don’t think we had one single problem, which is something for Ford and the entire program to be proud of.”

The duo headed the #4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in third which rounded out the class podium.

The GTD Class win was only resolved in the final minutes of the race, as the #33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Jeroen Bleekemolen closed on the back of the class leading #11 Lamborghini Huracan driven by Mirko Bortolotti with half hour left to run.

Bleekemolen’s charge ended as he made a final stop with less than 15-minutes remaining, dropping to third place in class behind the Acura NSX GT3 driven by Alvaro Parente.

The result handed Lamborghini its first-ever 24 hour race win.

A spate of mid-race punctures accounted for a number of cars, including the United Autosports Ligier of Fernando Alonso, which also encountered braking issues during the night.

The battle for the DPi lead hotted up during the night, with Graham Rahal leading briefly in the #7 Acura Team Penske entry before a spin dropped him down the order.

The #31 Whelan Engineering Racing Cadillac also had a spell in the lead, before trailing the race winners home in second.

A five-minute penalty was dished out to former GTD racer leader Land Motorsport Audi after a Balance of Performance breach, before a rear wing problem forced it into the lane and out of contention.

Australia’s only representative outside of the the class winning Ganassi Ford was Kenny Habul, who ended the race 28th overall and eighth in GTD class in the SunEnergy1 Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Earl Bamber rounded out the Australasian contingent, the New Zealander finishing sixth in GTLM in the Porsche 911 RSR he shared with Laurens Vanthoor and Gianmaria Bruni.

Habul and Bamber are now Australia-bound, along with a host of others from the event, where they will compete in this weekend’s Bathurst 12 Hour.

The IMSA Weathertech Sportscar championship heads next to the 12 Hours of Sebring in March for the second round of the season.

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