Wayne Taylor Racing Prevails In Rolex 24 At Daytona

Kamui Kobayashi exits winning car and greeted by co-driver Renger van der Zende and confetti. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Kamui Kobayashi exits winning car and greeted by co-driver Renger van der Zende and confetti. [Joe Jennings Photo]

By Joe Jennings

DAYTONA BEACH – For the second consecutive year and the third time in last four 24-hour races at the Daytona International Speedway, Wayne Taylor Racing’s Cadillac DPi raced to victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. And the margin of victory for the sleek black Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R was 1 minute and 05.426 seconds.

Adding to his team’s credentials, Taylor won the prestigious race twice as a driver.

Driving the potent Cadillac were 2019 winners Renger van der Zende and Kamui Kobayashi along with newcomers Ryan Briscoe and NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.

The quartet’s pace was so rapid they completed a record 833 laps, exceeding the previous record by 25 laps. To put it another way, the winning car traveled 2,965 miles, the equivalent of a drive from Daytona Beach to the San Francisco area.

Picture-perfect weather greeted the competitors and the large turnout of fans. A year ago, rain soaked everyone but not a drop fell during the 58th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

To win, the Taylor team had to overcome a drive through penalty after Briscoe unintentionally drove through a red light at end of pit road, losing a lap in the process, and thereafter, the car lost power for a while.

“This year was probably more difficult than any other year because of the low car count (38), which meant that there would not be too many yellows. Therefore, everyone was flat-out all the way,” said Taylor. “I can’t say enough about these drivers. There were no egos with everyone focusing on the big picture.”

Max Angelelli, Taylor’s team partner, also praised the driving team for their performance under pressure.

“I think this was the best car I have ever driven,” stated van der Zende. “We were surprised with the pace of the car, and you could push it on every lap.”

Added Kobayashi, “This win is a credit to the people all working together. We are like a family.”

Briscoe, who got his first overall win to go along with a class win, commented, “It is such an unbelievable feeling to have such a great run at Daytona. This is phenomenal and for Wayne and Max to win three out of last four years, that’s a stat that is amazing. This is a very difficult race to win. I feel lucky and am privileged to be part of the team, and it is a great way to start the season.”

“We had some up’s and down’s during the race,” Dixon said. “Coming from the other side (Chip Ganassi Racing), you find out why they are so hard to beat. For a team to win back-to-back is very difficult. I am very really thankful to be part of this team and coming to this race is a real passion of mine. And it is a great way to kick-off the season.”

The car count was the lowest in the event’s 56-year history.

Finishing in a very credible second place was a Mazda Team Joest DPi driven by Oliver Jarvis, Olivier Pla and Tristan Nunez. By far, it was the team’s best finish in this endurance race.

Third place went to the Mustang Sampling Racing/JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi. Its drivers were Joao Barbosa, Loic Duval and Indy Car star Sebastien Bourdais.

The top three finished on the lead lap.

An ACURA Team Penske finished fourth 5 laps behind the victor. It was driven by Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya and 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud.
The car ran upfront during first few hours, only to be plagued with handling problems.

A team car of Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Indianapolis 500 victor Alexander Rossi finished well off the pace – 22 laps down – in eighth place after Castroneves was rammed from behind by Harry Tincknell in a second Mazda some three hours into the race. Officials assessed the Mazda team with a drive-through penalty while the Team Penske lost 22 laps making repairs to the damaged car.

The Tincknell machine incurred minor damage and bounced back to finish sixth, 10 laps 2 behind the winner.

Three other classes made up the 38-car field.

In the LMP2 class, the DragonSpeed USA ORECA LMP 07 of Ben Hanley, Colin Braun, Harrison Newey and Henrik Hedman bested four others to take the honors.

The GTLM class victory went to a BMW Team RLL M8 GTE of John Edwards, Augusto Farfus, Chaz Mostert and Jesse Krohn. They waged a late race battle with a pair of Porsche GT Team 911 RSR-19s to earn the hard-fought victory.

Finishing fourth in the class was one of the new Chevrolet Corvette C8.R’s.

In the 18-car GTD class, the win went to the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers, Corey Lewis and Andrea Caldarelli.

The Lexus co-driven by Kyle Busch, Jack Hawksworth, Parker Chase and Michael de Quesada ended up ninth in class. Busch drove three stints late in race and said he had a lot of fun.

The car fought brake problems and had to replace calibers. And the car was forced to start last after missing qualifications while replacing an engine.

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