Action Express Racing has secured victory in a historic Daytona 24 Hours, with the #5 car leading home team-mates in the #31 entry for a one-two finish.
The #5 car, piloted by Filipe Albuquerque, Juao Barbossa and Christian Fittipaldi, dominated the closing quarter of the race after assuming the lead when team-mates in the #31 Whelen entry lost time in the pits.
The Whelen car driven by Felipe Nasr, Mike Conway, Stuart Middleton and Eric Curran had led the race overnight. An issue with water pressure meant that the squad sacrificed a two lap lead in the pitlane while resolving the issue.
Despite showing impressive pace and returning to the lead lap late on, the team was unable to overturn the deficit.
The recovery effort of the #31 was unquestionably hindered by a significant lack of caution periods during the race. Full course cautions appeared only twice during the entire race.
Subsequently, the race surpassed the previous record for distance covered during the 55-year history of the Daytona 24. Albuquerque recorded his record breaking 2760th mile with 55 minutes remaining.
The first non-Cadillac DPi across the line was Colin Braun in the #54 ORECA. The third-placed squad exchanged positions with the #31 throughout much of the final quarter.
Ligier was led home by the #32 in fourth place. Rookie Will Owen completed the final stint, while former Formula 1 drivers Paul di Resta and Bruno Senna also starred.
It was a frustrating result for the Acura Penske DPi’s. Both the #6 and #7 posted impressive times and led the race early on.
However, the #7 lost out during the period of overnight rain. In the hands of Helio Castroneves, the team then tangled with the #31 entry and spent a prolonged time in the pits while the team conducted repairs.
Meanwhile, the #6 crew found themselves a 20 laps adrift of the lead when an alternator failure in the 14th hour temporarily halted progress.
Technical trouble also befell the #23 United Autosports team, represented by Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris and Phil Hanson. Despite demonstrating excellent fuel efficiency and briefly leading the race early on, a brake failure in in the 11th hour led to a lengthy delay costing the team 28 laps.
The #23 rejoined the race but further issues and stoppages meant that the squad finished 38th overall and 13th in class.
Taking victory in the GTLM class was Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon and Richard Westbrook in the #67 Ford. It was the car’s first win since IMSA’s trip to Mosport in 2014.
The #67 crew edged out their Chip Ganassi Racing team-mates in the #66 entry, who lost the GTLM lead after Joey Hand stalled in the pitlane following a driver change late-on.
Winning a closely contested GTD battle was #11 Lamborghini of Mirko Bortollotti, Rik Bruekers, Rolf Ineichen and Franck Perera. The victory marks the first time in their history that Lamborghini has ever won a 24 hour race.