Add Honda to the list of manufacturers who have won an overall title at the Rolex 24.
The Honda HPD Ligier JS for Tequila Patron Extreme Speed Motorsports driven by Pipo Derani was the class of the Protoype field as the 24-hour endurance race stretched into Sunday morning and cruised to victory over the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette which was piloted by Max Angelleli at the end.
It's the first Rolex 24 win for ESM Racing, owned by Ed Brown and former IndyCar driver Scott Sharp. Both Brown and Sharp drove the car along with Derani and Johannes van Overbeek.
While Derani was 15+ seconds ahead of the rest of the Prototypes at the end of the race, the finishes in the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona categories were fantastic. The GTLM finish came down to the two Corvette CR7s and Oliver Gavin beat Antonio Garcia by less than a car length.
Gavin -- the No. 4 was driven by Marcel Fassler and Tommy Milner as well -- took the lead in the final hour after passing the Porsche No. 911. Garcia pitted later and had fresh tires and got to Gavin's bumper over the final 10 minutes. Garcia got in front of Gavin with a few laps to go entering turn one but wasn't able to get the car to stick in turn one and Gavin slipped back to the front on the inside exiting the corner.
Garcia's next best chance was at the finish line. Had the race gone one more lap, he might have had the win.
The GT D class was won by Magnus Racing's No. 44 driven by Rene Rast at the end. Rast was forced to save fuel near the end and gave up the lead to the No. 28 Lamborghini driven by Fabio Babini. But Babini was pushing his fuel too. He ran out before the end of the race and Rast took over the lead again and made it to the end (The No. 44 was also driven by Andy Lally, John Potter and Marco Seefried).
The 2015 champions, Chip Ganassi Racing's No. 02 Prototype "Star Car" driven by Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon, finished seventh in class after mechanical issues. Ganassi's new Ford GT Le Mans cars also had mechanical problems. The Nos. 66 and 67 cars didn't even make it two hours into the race Saturday afternoon before issues struck.
The craziest moment of the race happened Saturday evening. A car had mechanical problems entering turn one and was stopped in the middle of the track. IMSA didn't immediately throw a full-course caution and cars scrambled to go around the stopped car. The Delta Wing No. 0, which was one of the fastest cars early in the race, apparently didn't get the message and ran straight into the back of the stopped car.
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