2022 Rolex Daytona 24: Team Meyer Shank Racing Acura wins the legendary endurance race at its 60th anniversary
The 2022 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona concluded earlier today with Team Meyer Shank Racing Acura winning the famed endurance race overall in its 60th outing. Held on the 5.7km long road course section of the Daytona International Speedway in Florida, the #60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura DPi, piloted by Helio Castroneves, Oliver Jarvis, Tom Blomqvist, and Simon Pagenaud, finished the 24-hour endurance race with a total of 761 laps completed.
Having won the Rolex 24 at Daytona for a second consecutive year, Helio Castroneves says: “It’s all about belief. We all believed that we could do it and we knew the hard work. However, when we accomplish something as we did today, it’s priceless. You push as hard as you can to win that Rolex” The winners were presented with a specially engraved Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona watch from Rolex for their exemplary performance. This is a tradition that has been continued since 1992.
All five categories saw some major wheel-to-wheel action. From the very start of the race, at the front, the Cadillacs had the better pace early on but as night fell the Acuras came back stronger. At the 12-hour mark, all seven of the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) entrants were on the lead lap, however, as sun rose the gruelling and demanding nature of the race took its toll on some of the DPi class cars. In the closing hours, two full course cautions brought the four teams still in contention for the overall win, to within seconds of each other, setting up an intense fight to the finish.
Concluding the 2022 Daytona 24, we saw the #81 DragonSpeed USA Oreca 07-Gibson gaining honours in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class, having taken the lead with just 11 minutes remaining, while the #74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 crossed the chequered flag first in Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) class. Porsche took victories in both GT Daytona (GTD) classes, but the most intense drama of the race was held in the GTD PRO class, where car number #9 of Team Pfaff Motorsports beat its sister car to the line, with both drivers going head-to-head with some good old aggressive racing, slamming into each other at the end of the very last lap. The #16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R took the win in GTD class.
To celebrate the six decades of competition at the Daytona International Speedway, the race paid homage to former drivers and owners – Mario Andretti, Scott Pruett, Bobby Rahal, Hurley Haywood, Jack Roush and Wayne Taylor, who also took the coveted role of Grand Marshal. Five-time overall winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Scott Pruett says: “When you look at the people, manufacturers and brands involved in Daytona, there’s no better place to go racing. I love the sunsets and the dawns, the changing conditions, and without a doubt when you get to Victory Lane first, it’s an incredible feeling. All the drivers across the generations come to the speedway for a chance to wear the coveted Rolex Daytona on their wrist, there is nothing as special. The Rolex 24’s unique history dates back 60 years – and it has been amazing to celebrate that milestone this weekend – the competition has evolved a lot over the decades, and it has a very exciting future.”
The next big thing to watch out for when it comes endurance events in the US of A and the world, is the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, along with the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship and of course the most famous of them all, the 90th outing of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, that will be held later in mid 2022. As for the 24 Hours of Daytona, next year we will see the start of a new era, with the return of the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) name and the introduction of a new class — the Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) race cars.