IMSA: Wayne Taylor Racing win wet and hectic 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona

MONTEREY, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: The #10 Cadillac DPi, of Renger van der Zande of the Netherlands, and Jordan Taylor races on the track during practice for the America Tires 250 IMSA WeatherTech Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 7, 2018 in Monterey, California. (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images)
MONTEREY, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: The #10 Cadillac DPi, of Renger van der Zande of the Netherlands, and Jordan Taylor races on the track during practice for the America Tires 250 IMSA WeatherTech Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 7, 2018 in Monterey, California. (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images) /

The Rolex 24 at Daytona is officially in the books with Wayne Taylor Racing claiming victory in a 2019 IMSA season opener that defined the term “endurance”.

Many will ask if Fernando Alonso deserves the praise he receives. His second race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series should put that to rest, as it showed that the man is a true champion.

Along with his Wayne Taylor Racing team, Alonso performed like an endurance racing veteran who knew that the goal at the beginning of an endurance race is simply to make it to the end with a competitive car, which he had in the leading DPi class.

All of the Wayne Taylor Racing drivers performed in this manner and it was Alonso who drove through the night and during the treacherous wet hours that featured extreme rain and unsafe conditions, which caused the race to end under red flag conditions.

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The theme of the 57th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona was set when the #50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi was forced to start from the pits after an electrical glitch had the resting throttle set at 5% instead of 0%. This was a sign of things to come, as the bad luck bug struck much of the field at one point or another.

Also in the DPi class, both of the Mazda Team Joest cars showed significant pace, as the #77 Mazda led the field through the first few cycles of pit stops. The main question everyone had regarding the Mazda cars was if they could make it for 24 hours.

This question was laid to rest before the halfway point was reached when the #77 Mazda suffered a fuel and turbo issue. Once back in the paddock, it was discovered that the car was unable to build fuel pressure and the car needed to be looked into in more detail, which would consume more time than the race provides. The #55 Mazda suffered mechanical issues of its own and dropped off the lead lap.

The battle in the LMP2 class ended up being one of attrition with the #18 DragonSpeed Oreca claiming the victory. The rest of the field suffered a wealth of on-track spins, contact and mechanical issues, which placed the #38 Performance Tech Motorsport Oreca, the #81 DragonSpeed Oreca and the #52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports well off the lead lap.

Even the GTLM class was not able to escape the dangers of close competition GT racing, with Porsche, Ford, BMW and Chevrolet each having one of their cars experience some ailment that dropped them off the lead lap. Each team worked hard to keep each car running at full potential, which led to two cars finishing on the lead lap.

The battle in the GTD class raged on fiercely with nearly every car manufacturer holding the lead at some point throughout the 24-hour marathon. It was the #11 GRT Grasser Racing Team
Lamborghini Huracan GT3
 that survived the nighttime hours and tiptoed through the morning rain to take the class victory.

While IMSA celebrates 50 years of organizing some of the most competitive racing in the world, it also celebrated the welcoming of NBC as the main television network of the series. The NBC Sports team included Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was visibly excited to be at the race, along with a massive cast of racing enthusiast commentators, which even included Townsend Bell and A.J. Allmendinger, who split their time between the broadcasting booth and actually competing in the race itself.

Race Results – DPi

1st – Jordan Taylor, Fernando Alonso, Kamui Kobayashi, Renger van der Zande
2nd – Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani, Eric Curran
3rd – Ricky Taylor, Alexander Rossi, Helio Castroneves
4th – Jonathan Bennett, Colin Braun, Romain Dumas, Loic Duval
5th – Tristan Vautier, Misha Goikhberg, Devlin DeFrancesco, Rubens Barrichello
6th – Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud, Dane Cameron
7th – Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque, Christian Fittipaldi
8th – Agustin Canapino, Will Owen, Rene Binder, Kyle Kaiser
9th – Jonathan Bomarito, Olivier Pla, Harry Tincknell
10th – Stephen Simpson, Chris Miller, Juan Piedrahita, Simon Trummer
11th – Oliver Jarvis, Rene Rast, Tristan Nunez, Timo Bernhard

Race results – LMP2

1st – Roberto Gonzalez, Pastor Maldonado, Sebastian Saavedra, Ryan Cullen
2nd – Kyle Masson, Robert Masson, Cameron Cassels, Kris Wright
3rd – James Allen, Nicolas Lapierre, Henrik Hedman, Ben Hanley
4th – Gabriel Aubry, Enzo Guibbert, Matthew McMurry, Mark Kvamme

Race Results – GTLM

1st – Conor De Phillippi, Colton Herta, Augusto Farfus, Philipp Eng
2nd – Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina, Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado
3rd – Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, Mathieu Jaminet
4th – Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Richard Westbrook
5th – Nick Tandy, Fredric Makowiecki, Patrick Pilet
6th – Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, Mike Rockenfeller
7th – Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller, Sebastien Bourdais
8th – Oliver Gavin, Marcel Fassler, Tommy Milner
9th – John Edwards, Chaz Mostert, Alex Zanardi, Jesse Krohn

Race Results – GTD

1st – Rolf Ineichen, Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart, Rik, Breukers
2nd – Daniel Morad, Christopher Mies, Ricky Feller, Dries Vanthoor
3rd – Frank Montecalvo, Jeff Segal, Townsend Bell, Aaron Telitz
4th – Ian James, Frederic Vervisch, Kelvin van der Linde, Roman DeAngelis
5th – Trent Hindman, Mario Farnbacher, Justin Marks, A.J. Allmendinger
6th – Richard Heistand, Nick Cassidy, Jack Hawksworth, Austin Cindric
7th – Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Luca Stolz, Felipe Fraga
8th – Patrick Lindsey, Patrick Long, Matt Campbell, Nicholas Boulle
9th – Marcos Gomes, Andrea Bertolini, Chico Longo, Victor Franzoni
10th – Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, Dillon Machavern, Jens Klingmann
11th – Spencer Pumpelly, Andy Lally, Marco Mapelli, John Potter
12th – Andrew Davis, Alex Riberas, Will Hardeman, Markus Winkelhock
13th – Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge, Simona de Silvestro, Christina Nielsen
14th – Cooper MacNeil, Toni Vilander, Dominik Farnbacher, Jeff Westphal
15th – Ezequiel Perez Companc, Chris Haase, Parker Chase, Ryan Dalziel,
16th – Marco Seefried, Matteo Cairoli, Dirk Werner, Timothy Pappas
17th – Corey Lewis, Ryan Hardwick, Andrea Caldarelli, Bryan Sellers
18th – Lars Kern, Scott Hargrove, Zacharie Robichon, Dennis Olsen
19th – Giacomo Altoe, Emanuele Busnelli, Fabio Babini, Taylor Proto
20th – Don Yount, Steve Dunn, Linus Lundqvist, Milos Pavlovic
21st – J.C. Perez, Dominik Baumann, Maximilian Buhk, Fabian Schiller
22nd – Mathias Lauda, Pedro Lamy, Daniel Serra, Paul Dalla Lana
23rd – Alfred Renauer, Klaus Bachler, Sven Muller, Steffen Goerig, Juergen Haering

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If the presentation of the Rolex 24 at Daytona is anything to base the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar season on, the future of this sport is bright. With this race having finished under the red flag, many teams will be looking for payback in the next race.

The 2019 IMSA calendar gives teams time to rebuild damages cars and refocus for the Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advanced Auto Parts. Race coverage is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 16 and can be viewed on CNBC, CBN Sports and or IMSA.TV with round-the-clock coverage.