One year after last-lap battles, GTLM, GTD classes set for Daytona 24 encore

Last year’s Rolex 24 came down to the wire in both classes.

Considered by many as the best GT racing in the world, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s GTLM and GTD classes likely will need the entire 24 hours of the Rolex 24 At Daytona to decide the respective class winners.

Last year’s Rolex 24 — the inaugural event for the TUDOR Championship — came down to the wire in both classes. The No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR beat the No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE of BMW Team RLL by a mere 2.838 seconds in GTLM, while a last-lap battle in GTD between the No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 and No. 45 Flying Lizard Audi R8 was decided by 1.293 seconds. Both battles were set up by a late-race yellow flag and 10-minute sprint to the checkered flag.

There are a lot of good drivers out there and a lot of people working hard right now to come back here and get the pole,

Marc Goossens

While it may be tough to follow-up two of the closest class finishes in Rolex 24 history, last week’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 test session provided a glimpse at just how close both classes are again in 2015.

Just 0.742 seconds separated the 10 cars — among five manufacturers — entered in the GTLM class with Earl Bamber leading the way in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR with a lap of 1:44.316. The top 13 cars in GTD were separated by one second with the top eight just 0.633 second apart led by the No. 33 Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R of Marc Goossens.

Goossens, who started from the pole in GTLM at the Rolex 24 in 2014 expects another tight battle in 2015, this time in the GTD class.

“There are a lot of good drivers out there and a lot of people working hard right now to come back here and get the pole,” he said. “Hopefully we have something for them, but most importantly we need to be there at the end of the race and try to get that watch.”

Ten GTLM cars and 19 GTD cars are entered in the Rolex 24. Among those is the defending GTD champion No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 which announced its return to the TUDOR Championship two weeks ago and arrived in Daytona in time for the final day of Roar Before the Rolex 24 testing.

IMSA

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About this article
Series IMSA
Event Daytona 24
Track Daytona International Speedway
Drivers Marc Goossens , Earl Bamber
Article type Commentary
Tags audi r8, autosport ferrari, bmw z4, flying lizard, porsche north america, turner motorsport