BMW Power Wins the Rolex 24 At Daytona
In front of the largest GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series crowd, the TELMEX Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Rileys swept to a 1-2 victory at the 49th Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The No. 01 TELMEX/Target BMW/Riley of Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Joey Hand and Graham Rahal finished 2.46 seconds ahead of the No. 02 Target/TELMEX machine of Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya. Both cars covered 720 laps of the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course during the race with Hand leading a race-high 116 laps. All of the BMW engines in the Rolex 24 were prepared by Dinan Motorsport.
This year’s race marked the 35th anniversary of BMW’s first overall victory at the twice-around-the-clock classic. In 1976, Peter Gregg, Brian Redman and John Fitzpatrick won in a BMW CSL.
“Congratulations to Chip Ganassi’s team on this huge success,” said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. “It is fantastic to see BMW on top of the podium at the second important 24-hour race of the year, following the success in Dubai. The outstanding team performance in Daytona was rewarded with the first BMW overall victory at this race since 1976.”
“I really have to thank our friends at BMW as they have made all the difference in the world for us,” said Chip Ganassi, Team Owner. “We have been with them for just over a year and in that time have won 10 of 13 races including the most prestigious of them all - the Rolex 24 At Daytona. That is quite a way to put your stamp on the GRAND-AM Series. We are thrilled with our BMW partnership and look for it to last many years into the future.”
Ably paced by the new BMW 1 Series M Coupe, the race’s 141 yellow flag laps, including a two-hour-and-forty-seven-minute caution period for morning fog, saw BMW’s newest M car at the head of the field for more than 500 miles.
Continental Tire Challenge Series
On Friday Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi won the GRAND-AM 200 in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing BMW M3. It was the third consecutive win in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series season-opener for the BMW M3 and the third consecutive Grand Sports (GS) class victory for the Rum Bum team. BMW of North America driver Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana finished third in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3. The BMW M3 took six of the top-10 finishing positions.
In their debut Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race BimmerWorld Racing drivers Greg Liefooghe and John Capestro-Dubets finished third in the Street Tuner (ST) class in their No. 81 BMW 328i.
The GRAND-AM Series returns to action on March 5 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.