The green flag waved at 1:35 pm local time on Saturday and 24 hours later, the DPI teams on the lead lap had set a new record, completing 833 laps of the 3.56 miles (5.73 km) Daytona road course, covering a total distance of 3,143 miles (5,059 kms). The prior record was 808 laps completed in 2018. The rain-shorted 2019 race saw the top team’s complete just 593 laps.
When asked what this win means, Wayne Taylor responded “I can’t explain it. The team, the drivers, when they come into this little team of ours, they are just so focused, and so passionate about winning, and unfortunately, we are really bad losers. I don’t even know how to thank everybody. I’m just so relieved is the best word I can say.“
“It’s amazing. I’ve never had such a good car here. Just driving from start to finish it was like a dream. It’s so nice to be in a fast car. I’m over the moon. I’ve won it twice in a row, can you believe it.” When asked about his two Rolex Daytona Watches, which are presented to each of the overall and class winning drivers, he said “I’ve got two kids, if they behave, they can have them.” He said they have to behave until they are 25 years old before they can have his watches.
“In Le Mans (referring to the 24 Hours of Le Mans), I’ve been like five times, never won. Had a big chance always, never won. But here, it’s two times and two wins. It’s amazing. Wayne (Taylor) brings me the best car I’ve driven, it’s fantastic. The whole team, the whole family, it’s great. Konica Minolta supporting us is great. It’s a fantastic feeling you know.”
“Firstly, this car was just phenomenal. We had the pace. This is three out of four years for Wayne (Taylor). I just feel lucky to be a part of it. It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride, especially this morning, but once we got it on the straight and narrow, the car was fast. A great job by the whole team. The car was just mint from start to finish. You can’t ask for more.”
“The driver lineup was so strong. It was just (about) trying to eliminate any process that we could mess up, or if you caused something wrong in a driver change. I’ve had a lot of fun. I have to thank Chip (Ganassi) for allowing me to do this race. I can’t thank Wayne (Taylor) and Konica Minolta enough for what they’ve done, and Cadillac of course. This is big. It’s so crazy to have to sit there and watch the race for a majority of the race, rather than being in the car. Kamui (Kobayashi) finished it off in style. I’m super proud to be a part of this team. These situations are so hard to come by, with Ganassi not being here for the first time in a long time, and having the opportunity to come with such a strong team, and the defending champions as well, it feels so good for me. I’ll just enjoy it.
Hopefully I can come back next year and have another go at it. I love racing so much and I’m thankful to be a part of great teams like this, and part of this whole history.”
Rounding out the prototype podium was the No. 77 Mazda DPI of Team Joest Mazda followed by the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing / JDC-Miller Cadillac DPI third.
The No. 24 BMW M8 GTE from BMW Team RLL, owned by former late night talk show host David Letterman and former F1 and IndyCar driver Bobby Rahal, won an incredibly hard fought battle with the two works Porsche 911 RSR-19s campaigned by the Porsche GT Team. The all-new No. 3 mid-engine C8.R Corvette was also in the top four battle, and came tantalizingly close to finishing on the podium in its maiden race. In the end, it was the BMW Team RLL No. 24 BMW M8 GTE driven by John Edwards, Augusto Farfus, Chaz Mostert and Jesse Krohn that won the GTLM class, followed by the No. 912 and No. 911 Porsches 911 RSR-19s with the No. 3 Corvette C8.R finishing forth.
“There’s a joke among drivers that when to get married you lose 2 or 3 tenths (of a second per lap). This is my first race back after getting married and I think I maybe gained 3 tenths. My wife will be relieved that she had that effect instead of the other way. It means a lot. With a manufacturer program, it’s all about the team, so when one car does well, you know that’s what BMW wants. They don’t really care which car wins. But as a driver, you know that they’re paying the bills, but when you get to do-it-yourself, I mean, it’s just indescribable. My wife will tell you, I’m normally not at a loss for words, but I really am today.
“Catching them (the Porsches) is one thing, passing is another thing. I don’t know how we did it. It was a flawless job by the whole team. I just had to go in at the end and bring it home.”
The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R started from pole position thanks to a record setting qualifying lap time by Canadian driver Zacharie Robichon. The car lead from the start and everything was going according to plan until a driveshaft failure in the early morning hours forced them into their garage. They replaced the driveshaft but that put them 49 laps behind the leader. The GTD win went to the Paul Miller Racing No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 driven by Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers, Corey Lewis and Andrea Caldarelli. The GRT Magnus No. 44 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 finished second and the Canadian team of WRT Speedstar Audi Sport and their No.88 Audi R8 LMS GT3 finished third. The Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R ended up finishing 13th.
“Emotions are high. The 13 times prior to this race I didn’t have all these guys standing behind us. It’s not about one single person in this deal, it’s about everybody. You don’t win a race like this without everyone, without the team, without the other drivers. Everyone played their part and I have to say that in every race there’s a standout performance. For us, I think we all did our jobs but Andrea (Caldarelli) really stood out today. We leaned on him heavy, especially at the end of the race. We’re just thankful that he was able to come here and be a part of our program. We’re so happy. I don t know what to say. We’re just so proud of everybody at Paul Miller Racing.”
“I couldn’t believe it until that last minute when they told me on the radio, last lap. It’s my forth year with these guys. We were always very close but this year we made it and I think we really deserve it. It was an awesome team effort. I really have to thank everyone in the garage at Paul Miller Racing, Lamborghini Squadra Corse, our sponsor Total and all these guys here because without them we couldn’t make it. My wife’s birthday was yesterday so it was good luck. And all my family, the support means so much. I’m really really happy to bring back to Italy this victory.”
Complete results can be found at IMSA.com.
For the fourth consecutive year, the number of cars entered in the race was down. 55 cars ran in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2017, 50 cars in 2018, 47 cars in 2019 and just 38 cars this year. Hopefully that is a trend that will not continue into 2021. A dozen manufacturers were represented in this year’s race including Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche.
Up next in the twelve-race IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series is the second most prestigious endurance sportscar race in North America, the 12 Hours of Sebring. The 68th running of takes place on Mach 21, 2020 at the Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.
Photographs © Copyright 2020 International MotorSports Association and Rolex