After a grueling 24 hours of marathon racing at Daytona, Ricky Taylor, took the chequered flag first after completing 659 laps of the speedway, ensuring that he and his team mates, Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli and NASCAR legend, Jeff Gordon, were awarded the Rolex 24 At Daytona trophy and a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. The Rolex 24 tests the ultimate limits of man and machine as sleep-deprived crews perform all sorts of mechanical miracles to succeed.
The race began at 14:30 on January 28, with the Cadillac Prototype trio of the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing, #10 and #5 Mustang Sampling Racing set the pace from the beginning before early favourite, #31, suffered steering issues in the eighth hour. As the dark set in, rain began to fall, adding extra excitement and danger to the whole situation and demanding the utmost concentration from the teams of four.
The following day, the extreme conditions refused to let up, and the field experienced two extended hour-long safety car periods. With three hours remaining, and finally a dry track, the Prototype (P) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) winners were far from decided with multiple cars on the lead lap. Counting down the final minutes on the Rolex clock, the race went down to the wire with a thrilling battle between the leading Cadillacs; ultimately the #10 took the lead from the #5 with a legal and robust move into turn 1 with only moments to go. Throughout the 24 hours the #10 successfully answered everything its rivals, nature and time could test it with and deservingly took the chequered flag by only 0.671 seconds from its sister car.
Meanwhile, #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing took victory in a very competitive GT Le Mans class having battled until the closing minutes of the race with the second place #911 Porsche GT Team holding off #62 Risi Competizione. #38 Performance Tech Motorsports won the Prototype Challenge (PC) title and #28 Alegra Motorsports the GT Daytona (GTD) class.
2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona winner Ricky Taylor demonstrated that every second counts and said: “After an intense race in tough conditions, it is such a relief to stand in Victory Lane as winners of ‘The Rolex’. We take part in this race with the dream of winning the 24-hour marathon but also of one day putting a Rolex Daytona on our wrists. It really is the ultimate reward in motor sport and a reminder of our success. I’m very proud to be added to the accomplished list of Rolex 24 at Daytona winners.”
Forty-one of the 55 race starters made it to the finish, further exemplifying the punishing nature of this two-lap test of the clock. The 3.56-mile circuit demands a unique combination of resilience, skill and awareness, as well as reliability and performance, proving there are two types of winners at the Rolex 24 at Daytona: those who win and those who cross the finish line after 24 hours.