By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
Felipe Nasr delivered the first Rolex 24 At Daytona overall win for team owner Roger Penske in 55 years and the first for Porsche in 14 years, in an exciting conclusion Sunday to the iconic endurance sports car race.
Driving the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 that he shared with co-drivers Dane Cameron, Matt Campbell and reigning Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden, Nasr crossed the finish line 2.112 seconds ahead of the No. 31 No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R driven by Tom Blomqvist, who was aiming to become just the second driver in Rolex 24 history to be an overall winner three straight years.
Nasr took the lead for the final time when the No. 7 Porsche crew gave him a quicker pit stop than the No. 31 Cadillac crew could manage for Blomqvist under a full-course caution with 43 minutes remaining. Blomqvist hounded Nasr for the last half-hour but could never get close enough to attempt a pass for the lead.
Team owner Penske’s last win at the Rolex 24 came in 1969 when Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons drove a Lola T-70/Chevrolet to victory. A Penske entry also claimed a class win in 1966. Porsche’s last overall win came in 2010, when the Action Express Racing Riley-Porsche driven by Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Ryan Dalziel and Mike Rockenfeller triumphed. Ironically, Action Express also entered the No. 31 Cadillac that finished second on Sunday.
Blomqvist, who won in 2022 and ’23 with Meyer Shank Racing, finished second overall and in the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with Action Express co-drivers Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken. Blomqvist will drive full-time this year for Meyer Shank in the IndyCar Series and the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac.
The No. 18 Era Motorsport took the victory in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class with co-drivers Dalziel, Dwight Merriman, Christian Rasmussen and Connor Zilisch. The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 claimed victory in the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class with drivers Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado. Winward Racing’s No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT3 was victorious in the Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class, the car shared by Russell Ward, Philip Ellis, Indy Dontje and Daniel Morad.
The next WeatherTech Championship race is the 72nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 16 at Sebring International Raceway.