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Acura secures a first podium at Daytona, ERA Motorsport wins in LMP2

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As tradition dictates, the 24 Hours of Daytona marked the start of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In this 62nd edition, boasting an impressive field of 59 cars, two Acura ARX-06 from Team Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti competed in the GTP category, while twelve ORECA 07s participated in the LMP2 category.

After a race filled with twists and turns and an exhilarating final sprint, Louis Delétraz secured Acura’s position on the third step of the overall podium. A well-deserved reward for the quartet of the #40 ARX-06, starting from the fifth position and consisting of Louis, Jordan Taylor, Colton Herta, and Jenson Button. Despite a scare at the 12-hour mark with an electronic failure and a forced pit stop, they managed to get back into the game and gain valuable points early in the season.

The sister car #10, driven by Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Brendon Hartley, and Marcus Ericsson, faced a tougher race, dealing with an electrical issue that forced it to retire at the beginning of the ninth hour. The team lost a considerable amount of time but can take pride in completing the full 24 hours in Florida.

In LMP2, the competition was equally thrilling. Like in 2021, the ORECA 07 #18 from Era Motorsport resisted its competitors and secured the victory. Dwight Merriman, Ryan Dalziel, Connor Zilisch, and Christian Rasmussen successfully fended off attacks from CrowdStrike Racing by APR. The #18 ORECA 07 crossed the finish line with a 6.8-second lead over the #04 car, driven by George Kurtz, Colin Braun, Toby Sowery, and the young Malthe Jakobsen. Riley’s #74, driven by Gar Robinson, Felipe Fraga, Josh Burdon, and Felipe Massa, completed the podium in the category, while Inter Europol by PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ ORECA #52 secured fourth place with Kuba Smiechowski, Nick Boulle, Tom Dillmann, and Pietro Fittipaldi ahead of Tower Motorsports’ #8 with John Farano, Michael Dinan, Ferdinand Habsburgh, and Scott McLaughlin.

United Autosports, briefly leading the race with the ORECA #2 driven by Pato O’Ward, NTT IndyCar star, and Ben Keating, Nico Pino, and Ben Hanley, finished in sixth place overall.

The ORECA 07 #81 from DragonSpeed and #99 from AO Racing brought up the rear.

Four retirements are worth noting after a challenging race for the competitors: TDS Racing’s #11 had to withdraw after 4 hours due to a violent off-track incident involving Steven Thomas, fortunately without serious injuries for him. The #22 from United Autosports, #88 from Richard Mille Af Corse, and finally, the #20 from MDK by High Class Racing also retired.

Special mention goes to Risi Competizione, securing victory in GTD Pro with a Ferrari 296 GT3 assembled in ORECA’s workshops. In the GTD category, Af Corse, Conquest Racing, and Triarsi Competizione proudly secured the second, third, and fourth positions.

Next up, on March 17, is the second round of the 2024 IMSA SportsCar Championship for another classic: the 12 Hours of Sebring.