Photo from Daytona International Speedway, United States, where history was made in many ways in just 24 hours. Of those four holding on the spotlights, one of them had the race of his life.
The most spectacular Rolex 24 at Daytona of the decade opened the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship had the hard-earned triumph of Tequila Patrón ESM, as their Honda powered Ligier JS P2 won its first Daytona 24 Hours, and the victory was the first of a LMP2 car in the Rolex 24 since the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Road Racing Championship. The tequila-sponsored squad is used to be a pioneer, as they were the first LMP2 team to win in the competition, in 2014 at Laguna Seca.
Surviving the pressure of the traditional Rolex 24 squads like Wayne Taylor Racing, Visit Florida Racing, Action Express and Chip Ganassi, the team formed by Tequila Patrón owner Ed Brown, former IndyCar driver Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek and Daytona rookie Luis Felipe "Pipo" Derani was the last survivor of the LMP2 side as the other teams like Michael Shank Racing and SpeedSource Mazda hit problems in the early to middle hours of the race.
Derani himself had a race to remember, as the Brazilian driver raced like an ace in his first Rolex 24 and his third season as a Le Mans Prototype driver after coming from years of single seater racing. Lapping always in fast pace in his stints, the No. 2 car saw the green and the checkered flags with Derani in the cockpit. He was the proof that endurance racing changed a lot today, becoming a multiple hour sprint race.
The other class winners at Daytona were Corvette Racing (GTLM), JDC-Miller (PC) and Magnus Racing (GTD).
PHOTO: Tequila Patrón ESM