The 2016 running of the 24 Hours of Daytona endurance classic gave us a glimpse of things to come for the rest of the season, with surprising leaders, a battle for dominance in the prototype classes, and a historic, first-time win for one of the most storied names in racing. Want more? Read on.
Honda Wins 24 Hours of Daytona 2016
With just 1 hour and 17 minutes remaining, 22-year-old Pipo Derani took the lead in his Tequila Patrón-sponsored Ligier-HPD Honda, and pulled away to victory in the 54th running Rolex 24 At Daytona. It was the first overall win for a Honda-powered car, and also a first win for chassis manufacturer Ligier in the event, and the second overall victory for Sharp, who won previously in 1996- twenty years ago!
“The last two hours and a half was pretty tough, pretty intense, with the Taylor brothers pushing us really hard trying to victory,” Derani said. “I was trying to not make any mistakes and keep the gap. To increase the gap up to the end was amazing. I need to thank my team for the amazing car they gave me.”
The winning car completed 736 laps on the 3.56-mile circuit, which translates to just over 2,620 miles in 24 hours at an average speed of nearly 110 MPH. It was far from an easy victory for the Honda team, however- there were fully 76 lead changes (seventy-six!) and dozens more passes in the midfield throughout the competitive race.
Panoz Deltawing Proves its Pace
Even before its Garage 54 debut at LeMans years ago, the Deltawing concept has been a Gas 2 favorite, representing some of the most real, visible innovation in the paddock- regardless of whether it had “Nissan” or “Panoz” on its flank. As interesting as the concept has been, however, the Deltawing and ZEOD cars could never be called “truly fast” … until this weekend, that is.
The 2016 race at Daytona saw the Panoz Deltawing- driven by Katherine Legge- post the fastest times overall in late practice sessions, make team history by taking a commanding overall lead within the first hour of the race. “We’re really at a stage now where we’re showcasing what it’s got,” said Legge, in an interview. “I’m proud of the team, I’m proud that they gave me a really good car, and I’m proud of the job that I did, as well.”
In all, the Deltawing led nearly a third of the 119 laps it completed before the coupe made contact with a PC car sitting stationary on the track. The shunt was a bad one, knocking the team out of the race for good. “It was very unfortunate. The car was in a blind spot with no lights on and it was unavoidable,” said team driver, Andy Meyrick. “The radio was intermittent and unfortunately the combined situation resulted in an accident that caused a very successful day to end too soon. I was catching back up with the leader and it’s a real shame we weren’t able to get back up there and enjoy the result we should have had.”
Corvette DPs Still Dominant
Despite failing to take the overall win this year, the Chevy-powered Corvette DPs proved to be the class of the field yet again, scoring second, third, fourth, and sixth place overall, followed closely by their GT-class Corvette C7.R brothers in seventh and eighth place. Only the winning Honda and a single Ford DP car- which finished miles ahead of the new Ford GT- were there to break up Chevy’s party in the end.
“I think it was a pretty good race,” said Jordan Taylor, who was driving the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP. “If we had track position, we could kind of hold off the (Honda), but with certain drivers in that car, they could kind of get around us pretty easily. So it was tough.”
With the advent of a new rulebook in 2017, however, the DP class is being phased out. That means no more Corvette DPs and, maybe, more 24 Hours of Daytona wins for Honda and a better outlook for the Ecoboost-powered Ford GT teams. Maybe … that Panoz.
Daytona 2016: Official Results
You can check out the final standings at the conclusion of the 24 Hours of Daytona 2016 race, below, in the PDF provided by IMSA. If you have trouble reading it, you can open it in its own tab by clicking here. Enjoy!