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An exceptional final phase, one of those that have always characterized the epic challenge of the 24 Hours of Daytona, saw Team Penske clinch victory with the Porsche 963, driven by Felipe Nasr along with Dane Cameron, Matt Campbell, and Josef Newgarden, all newcomers to absolute triumph.

The decisive moment came during the last pit stop under the safety car, where Captain's team executed a quicker stop, propelling the car ahead of the Cadillac ActionExpress, which had been leading with Tom Blomqvist in the final hour of the race. Despite the presumed superiority of the Dallara car in managing tires with higher temperatures, Nasr managed to maintain a 2-second lead over Blomqvist, struggling hard to control the car but demonstrating unwavering nerve amidst traffic.

For Penske, this marks a return to overall victory since 1969. For Porsche, which had previously triumphed as an engine supplier in 2009 and 2010, this success signifies a significant milestone in the new LMDh era. Second place went without regrets to Blomqvist, Pipo Derani, and Jack Aitken, while third place was secured by the team that recovered after a nighttime issue, comprised of Jordan Taylor, Louis Deletraz, Colton Herta, and Jenson Button. Following them are three more Porsches, one from Team Penske and two private entries. Gimmi Bruni for Team Proton claimed fifth place, followed by Richard Westbrook for JDC Miller.

In the LMP2 category, Era Motorsport seized victory with authority in the final phase of the race. Behind the wheel were Dwight Merriman, Ryan Dalziel, Christian Rasmussen, and Connor Zilisch, a seventeen-year-old who transitioned from karting to the Mazda MX-5 Cup and TransAm.

In GTD Pro, the Ferrari 296 GT3 driven by Davide Rigon, Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, and Daniel Serra triumphed without rivals. The Maranello car maintained an impeccable pace, leading by more than a lap in the final hour of the race. However, the final safety car intervention, prompted by a fire incident involving the Lexus GTD, pushed the Porsche AO Racing of Laurin Heinrich, Seb Priaulx, and Michael Christensen into second position. Nonetheless, Serra remained unstoppable.

The third overall position among the Grand Touring cars was secured by the Mercedes Winward with Roger Ward, Peter Ellis, Daniel Morad, and Indy Dontje. Following them was another Ferrari, from AF Corse, driven by Simon Mann, Francois Heriau, Miguel Molina, and Kei Cozzolino. The new Corvettes and Mustang GT3s, however, encountered various issues during the race.

Also noteworthy were the third and fourth positions in GTD for the Ferrari-affiliated teams Conquest and Triarsi. Alessandro Balzan just missed the podium, finishing below Riccardo Agostini and Alessio Rovera. After a pit stop for radiator damage on the Caldarelli-Pepper-Perera-Bortolotti car, the best-finishing Lamborghini was that of the Iron Dames, who claimed sixth place in GTD with Bovy-Pin-Frey-Gatting.

© Cavalieri Garage & Co.


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