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A packaged grid of prototypes battles it at a record-breaking Daytona 24-hour race

This weekend, the cream of the racing universe collected in Daytona Beach, Florida, to kick off the 2018 racing deteriorate at the Rolex 24. It was a grid the likes of which we hadn’t seen in a prolonged time. Veteran megastars from the worlds of Formula 1 and IndyCar, rising immature hotshots making their names in GP2 and Formula E, and loyal talents from continuation racing came together in a margin of 20 prototypes and 30 GT cars to fight for leverage over 24 hours on the banking and infield at Daytona International Speedway.

When the mottled dwindle waved on Sunday afternoon, the winning car—the #5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R of Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque, and Christian Fittipaldi had covered a record-breaking distance: 808 laps and 2,876.48 miles (4,629.2km). Such a mad gait is surprising for the Rolex 24; churned grids and the continuation format mostly multiply incidents and lots of yellow-flag using behind a reserve car. But 2018 wasn’t like that. There was play a-plenty, and even some complicated rainfall, but only a handful of cautions done this year a 24-hour scurry for the finish and a sign that, while other racing series competence have their problems, the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship is really one to keep an eye on this year.

Good drivers, you say?

In the not-too-distant past, continuation racing was something racing drivers did once the gray hairs started showing up, a place to widen out careers before retirement after flat-out racing had taken its toll. Those days are gone. So we saw F1 names from double universe champion Fernando Alonso to prohibited immature phenoms like Felipe Nasr and Lance Stroll. From IndyCar, there were stars like Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Sebastian Bourdais, AJ Allmendinger, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Graham Rahal, with at slightest 7 Indy 500 wins and 11 championships between them.


Plus we had some of the very best continuation racers: veterans of bureau Le Mans antecedent programs like former Audi drivers Oliver Jarvis, Rene Rast, Loic Duval, and Felipe Albuquerque (ex-Audi); Porsche alums Romain Dumas (also ex-Audi), Earl Bamber, and Nick Tandy; Toyota’s Mike Conway and Nicholas Lapierre; and stars-in-the-making like Renger outpost der Zande, Jordan and Ricky Taylor, and Alex Brundle.

If those folks weren’t signs adequate of a low talent pool, there were also a brood of immature drivers whose names we’ll be conference a lot some-more of: kids like Felix Rosenqvist, Robert Frijns, Lando Norris, and Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen, all of whom have been sloping for good things in single-seaters.

Fast cars, you say?

The top difficulty at the Rolex 24 is for prototypes. These aren’t the half-billion dollar World Endurance Championship rocketships I’ve opined about in the past, but that’s a good thing. After an extraordinary 2016 season, the hybrid P1 difficulty at Le Mans imploded following the depart of Audi and then Porsche, leaving Toyota as the solitary bureau bid left station in WEC. The race at Daytona is run by IMSA, and it picked the cheaper, somewhat slower LMP2 prototypes as the basement for its fastest cars. In the WEC, this is a cost-capped difficulty for pro-am teams; there is a choice of 4 opposite chassis, but everybody has to run the same Gibson V8 engine.

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