2023 Rolex 24: Acura 1-2 Gives Castroneves a Third Daytona Win
Acura kicks off IMSA’s GTP era in dominating fashion, beating Cadillac, Porsche, and BMW.
Acura cruised to a 1-2 finish at the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona after fighting Cadillac and Porsche for most of the race. It was the pole-sitting No. 60 of Helio Castroneves, Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun, and Simon Pagenaud that eclipsed its fellow No. 10 ARX-06 of Wayne Taylor Racing. Today's victory makes Castroneves a three-time winner of the famed endurance race, an incredible feat given his current status of four-time Indy 500 winner.
While the Meyer Shank and Wayne Taylor machines dominated most of the race, it was the Ganassi Cadillacs that gave the Acuras the biggest challenge in the all-new GTP class. Specifically, IndyCar star Scott Dixon drove a masterful stint to put the V8-powered prototype in first place in the wee hours of the morning. Fellow Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud, however, hustled the ARX-06 through the 3.8-mile road course to bring it back to contention after it slipped back a few positions in the night.
The Penske Porsches showed a promising pace at different stages of the race, often eclipsing the Cadillacs to rival the Acuras at the front. However, mechanical issues and bad luck plagued the new squad, ultimately ruining their chances for a win when the No. 6 Porsche of Nick Tandy blew a rear-axle seal early Sunday morning.
Much like Porsche, Rahal's first outing in its new BMW M GTP cars was mostly a frustrating affair after finishing a dozen laps down.
It was James Allen in the No. 55 ORECA 07 of Proton Competition that clinched victory in the LMP2 class, the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT in the GTD Pro class, and Heart of Racing’s No. 27 Aston Martin in the GTD class.
“That was crazy,” two-time Rolex 24 consecutive winner Blomqvist told NBC Sports. “I knew we had a fantastic car. I’ve been working hard. Unbelievable. Massive, well done, everyone being part of this project and worked together on this project. What a car we’ve built. I was just a bit nervous. The 10 was definitely second fastest car, but we held them off.”
Meanwhile, Castroneves, who is now in rarified air due to his success in multiple series said this victory was "a dream come true."
“Big props to everyone. Everyone did an amazing job," Castroneves said after getting out of the car. "Everybody worked so hard together. We got it! Another one. I can’t believe it. This is absolutely a dream come true.”
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