Four things to remember from the 24 Hours of Daytona
No one will be on the Daytona podium at Le Mans
Despite the major set-up change since then, the result of the 24 Hours of Daytona 2023 is strangely similar to the results of 2022: two Acura-equipped cars with two first places, Meyer Shank Racing (especially with Simon Pagenaud, we will come back) every times ahead of Wayne Taylor Racing. However, the list had little to do with the Cadillac that existed in the past, with BMW and Porsche added to this new GTP category, which could also be ranked in the WEC and therefore from the 24 Hours of Mans.
The irony of history is that the three crews that finished on the podium this edition (including third-place finisher Sébastien Bourdais in the No. 1 Cadillac of Chip Ganassi Racing) will be IMSA-only this year. That’s why we won’t see them at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
On the one hand, because Cadillac chose to send the number 2 (Sunday 4) to the FIA events, on the other hand, Acura’s parent company Honda wanted to wait until 2023 to see the results. Sarthe. This driving win would be an opportunity for Mike Shank, who told us last spring that he wanted a Le Mans event, to relaunch Honda for the 2024 edition.
Porsche is far from a brand, and so is BMW
This 61st edition of the 24 Hours of Daytona was not kind to the two returning German brands in the premier category. On the Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan side of BMW, we can console ourselves by saying that there is still time for the Munich brand to face the WEC in 2024, where only the M Hybrid V8 will show its nose. The fact is that the main mechanical problems encountered from the second hour of the Race are difficult.
On the Porsche side, it’s also frowned-upon soup. Even if it is never easy to reconnect with competition at such a level (Peugeot can testify to this with the 2022 season in the WEC), we did not imagine an association as prestigious as Penske’s, which started so badly. On arrival, No. 7 is 34 laps behind the winners and No. 6 is No. 83 after a shortened race, a gearbox on half-stop and a large amount of oil spilled after three hours on the track. The evolutions of the BOP (balance of performance, a tuning that allows you to adjust certain parameters to balance the performance of all the leading cars) will certainly allow the 963 to show more rhythm in the race than its rivals. There are many other things that need to be fixed to hope to be competitive at Sebring, where IMSA (18th) will race in March, as will the WEC (19th after the prologue on the 11th and 12th).
Simon Pagenaud approaches Bob Vollek
Until this Sunday, only one Frenchman had won the 24 Hours of Daytona more than once. It was Bob Wollek who took the crown in 1983, 1985, 1989 and 1991. Simon Pagenaud entered this very limited circle with the second Rolex, the main sponsor of the event, which awarded the winners of each category with a watch.
A small feature is that the winner of the 2019 Indianapolis 500 is already the first Hab to string two wins in a row since 2022 with Meyer Shank Racing and Acura. Wollek came close to the double in a Porsche each time, with a second place finish in 1984! Sébastien Bourdais, who was third yesterday with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi, also nearly achieved the feat as he finished second in 2015 after his 2014 victory. If Manso will drive the entire season in IMSA, Pagenaud will now dedicate himself to Indycar. Second year with Meyer Shank Racing.
Romain Grosjean’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 at Daytona Bank. (Twitter @IronLynx_)
Thirteen years after an abbreviated experience at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans (Matech Competition in a Ford GT1), Romain Grosjean completed the race twice around the clock for the first time. At Daytona, the Frenchman, who also played in Indycar with Andretti, reinvented the discipline to prepare for Lamborghini’s arrival in the first category (GTP) next season. At last weekend’s event in Florida, he was behind the wheel of a very different car, the Huracan GT3 Evo2. He spent five hours behind the wheel and finished fourth in GTD Pros, but only 8th overall in GT cars as he had four “GTDs” (drivers awarded by class distinction status – platinum, gold, silver, bronze -). number 63. The experience, which is very different to what he knows in single-seaters on a tight track conducive to contacts and exits from the safety car, will certainly benefit Grosjean.