Hour 24 - Derani guides ESM to victory

Corvette Racing finish 1-2 in GTLM after close battle with each other and Earl Bamber's Porsche, while Magnus Racing clings on to score GTD honors while in fuel conservation mode.

Hour 24 - Derani guides ESM to victory

In a last-ditch effort to challenge for overall victory, Wayne Taylor Racing swapped out an ill Jordan Taylor for Max Angelelli for the run to the flag, but it wasn’t enough to prevent ESM's Pipo Derani surging to victory, by a final winning margin of 26.166sec.

Taylor emerged from his stint complaining of a vibration and also a possible exhaust fume leak into the cockpit and, having taken the flag in second, Angelelli pulled over to the side of the track - and would be subsequently taken to hospital for evaluation.

Ryan Hunter-Reay Visit Florida #90 Corvette DP finished third - on the lead lap but approximately 90sec behind the winner. The #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP was fourth, Brendon Hartley fifth in the #01 Ganassi Riley-Ford.

In GTLM, Gavin emerged from his final pitstop right ahead of Earl Bamber’s Porsche, but on cold tires, the Corvette couldn’t stay ahead. Once Antonio Garcia pitted the #3 for his final splash-and-dash, the Bamber/Gavin battle became the lead battle, but with Garcia right behind.

With 38mins to go, Gavin muscled past the Porsche, nudging the #912 wide and then pulling away. Shortly thereafter, it was Garcia’s turn to pass Bamber.

Subsequently, were no team orders issued in the yellow Corvette camp, and Garcia briefly took the lead from Gavin until wrong-footed by traffic. After some thrilling nerve-wracking side-by-side action, Gavin edged Garcia across the line by a mere 0.034sec.

In GTD, a late off by Richie Stanaway in the #98 Aston Martin appeared to add to the comfort of the Magnus Racing team, for whom Rene Rast led in the #44 Audi R8. It also handed second place to the Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan, driven by Fabio Babini.

However, both Rast and Babini were in major fuel conservation mode in the closing laps. With less than 10 minutes to go, Rast was ordered by the pits to allow the Lamborghini through, yet Babini didn’t pull away and instead the pair were being caught hand over fist by Nicky Catsburg in the Black Swan Racing Porsche.

Finally, Babini slowed and had to pit from his brief lead, Rast trickled home to win, with Catsburg 3.048sec shy at the checkered flags. The No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper was third.

Kenton Koch guided the #85 JDC-Miller Oreca across the line to win Prototype Challenge by three laps, ahead of PR1/Mathiasen’s #52 car.

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Hour 23: ESM in the catbird seat for sprint to the finish
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