The regulations specified the race is finished the moment the checkered flag is displayed, however, there was a mistake in race direction
The 24 hours Daytona holds in the IMSA the same level of status as the Le Mans 24 hours in the FIA World Endurance Championship. However, even after the Rolex main sponsorship of the event, a small miscalculation made the motorsports fans worldwide confused about the actual duration of the race as the timer marked 23 hours, 58 minutes, 24.723 seconds when the checkered flag appeared.
In an official statement, IMSA said, “Due to an officiating error in race control, IMSA inadvertently announced and subsequently displayed the white flag with under three minutes remaining in the race. At the end of the lap, the race-leading No. 7 GTP car then received the checkered flag with 1 minute, 35.277 seconds remaining, ending the race short of the planned 24 hours by effectively one lap.”
The Article 49 of the 2024 IMSA Sporting Regulations clearly states that the moment the checkered flag is displayed the race is ended in every possible situation so the result was made official.
Online, motorsports satirical accounts such as @NotFifthGear on Twitter (X) joked about the International Motor Sports Association’s mistake in a race that was supposed to last for, as the name implies, 24 hours.
Team Penske‘s challenger, the number 7 Porsche 963 won the competition driven by Dane Cameron, Felipe Nasr, Matt Campbell and Josef Newgarden which delivered an unforgettable Rolex 24 for the team, the first victory in this iconic race for Team Penske in 55 years and the first for Porsche in 14 years.
Felipe Nasr took the checkered flag, delivering team owner Roger Penske his first overall victory in 55 years at the endurance race.
Nasr revealed that he was told by his strategist Tim Cindric to keep pushing until they were certain the race was over. Teams, drivers and the audience where all confused and did not know if the timing was correct.
Nasr took the lead from Tom Blomqvist during a pit stop under a yellow flag on Lap 768 with just over 45 minutes left. After the restart, Nasr fended off several challenges from the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac V-Series.R that achieved pole position in qualifying.
It was the second victory in the Rolex 24 for Penske, who won the race in 1969 with the Lola T-70/Chevrolet.
Rival Cadillac V-Series.R from Whelen Cadillac Racing finished only 2.112 seconds away and left fellow competitors Pipo Derani, Jack Aitken and Tom Blomqvist achieving second place.
Team Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti‘s Acura ARX-06 driven by Jordan Taylor, Louis Deletraz, Andretti’s Indycar star Colton Herta and 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button completed the Season opener of the American IMSA series podium. Check the full results HERE.
Overall the race, even after the timing error, left fans with amazing competition and a fight until the end for victory.
The next race to look forward to for the IMSA fans will be the SEBRING 12 HOURS taking part on the 16th of March. Full calendar of the IMSA.
Guillermo Lorenzo Manzano