For the second straight season, more than one Corvette Daytona Prototype has finished in the top three at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Corvette DP, which won last year’s Rolex 24, came in second just 1.333 seconds behind the leader, while Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Corvette DP followed in third.
The second place finish was achieved by Action Express Racing’s Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais, who couldn’t manage a repeat of their victory in 2014. Fittipaldi said the car was less-than-perfect throughout the race, and is happy with the result considering.
“I think that from the get-go we never had a perfect car, and we were struggling with the car during the whole race,” said Fittipaldi. “We tried to make a couple of changes, but it got better, then it got worse, then it got better, but it didn’t go completely our way, so we’ll definitely take the points, and they are going to be very important for the championship, especially when it comes down to the last race of the year.”
The Action Express car experienced a fuel pressure problem during Barbosa’s stint, which forced him to stop on the track. Once the car was in the pits, it only took the team about 10 extra seconds to remedy the issue and were able to get him back in the race only three laps down from the leader.
“It wasn’t looking very good,” said Barbosa. “We were three laps down for a long, long time, and we were kind of losing hope, but I think the team did an excellent strategy. The guys worked really well in the pit stand and did perfect strategy. I think we got two laps in one time, so put us back in contention. We were able to lead quite a few laps after that, after we were on the lead lap, and overall we were pleased with our result. If we can’t win, then second is the second-best thing.”
Third place finishers Wayne Taylor Racing dominated much of the race, but lost out on their chances of winning as a result of a calculations error. The team wanted Jordan Taylor in the car for the final stint, as he’s known to turn out fast laps while saving fuel, but miscalculated and put him in the car a bit too early. TUDOR rules claim one driver can’t drive for more than four hours at a time, forcing Jordan to stop and turn driving duties over to his brother during a yellow flag, which prompted a drive-thru penalty.
“It was just a small miscalculation, I think, an unfortunate one because we were right where we kind of wanted to be, second place on the restart,” Jordan explained. “I think we had a stronger car on restarts on cold tires, so it was a perfect opportunity to make something happen, but I mean, it’s hard for us as drivers to complain too much because our part of this race is very minor compared to what they have to do. We’ve gone 72 hours now without going to the garage once, without losing a lap, so that’s a testament to our team. We never have anything bad to say about them.”
Coming in fourth was the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP driven by Richard Westbrook, Michael Valiante, Mike Rockenfeller and Guy Cosmo. The team, formerly referred to as Spirit of Daytona Racing, is based in Daytona, making the endurance special its home race. This year they are looking to improve on their third place finish in the 2014 Tudor season, and got off to a good start with a solid finish Sunday.
The Corvette DPs will be looking for their inaugural first place finish in the 2015 Tudor United Sports Car Championship season when the series heads to Sebring for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 21.