Honda Powered Tequila Patrón ESM Prototype
The Rolex 24 finished up the action yesterday and it was certainly one of the more interesting races in recent memory. The GT Classes were very tight and the Prototypes further provided plenty of drama.
Warning the following contains spoilers about the 24 hour race at Daytona. If you plan on watching recorded coverage later, then come back to this article later. Otherwise read on…
The race was hard fought and came down to a Japanese powered twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 and an American 5.5-liter V8. The Honda powered Tequila Patrón ESM started on the front row and took the lead at the green flag, but soon fell back in the pack.
For large portions of the beginning of the race the very unique Deltawing led, until a collision put it out of the running. This opened the door for the Number 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP and Number 2 Tequila Patrón ESM to go for the win.
After multiple cars were taken out or slowed down by mechanical failure or collisions, the Honda powered car managed to take the lead with 1 hour and 45 minutes left in the race. It then held off the Corvette for the victory by 26 seconds. What for a bit looked like a walk away victory ended up had plenty of drama.
The Tequila Patrón ESM car being driven by Pipo Derani took the car to the checkered flag with grearbox warning lights going off for the last portion of the race. Had the gearbox gone then the Corvette would have managed to get the win. Derani and teammates Johannes van Overbeek, Scott Sharp and Ed Brown together with their support team drove a nearly flawless race. They showed that they will be a force to be reckoned with this season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Pipo Derani on being part of the winning driver lineup: “I have no words. It is just amazing to win my first race in America. It’s just a big team effort to be here. To win this race is really tough, everything has to come together from the mechanical side, to the engineers and the drivers, it really is a complete team effort. The last two and a half hours were pretty intense. With the second-place car really pushing us, I couldn’t make any mistakes. It was pretty tense, but pretty exciting at the same time. It was a tough race out there, but will be something we can look back on with pride for the rest of our lives.”
The win marks the first time that a Honda powered prototype has won at the Rolex 24 in Daytona. Not only was the win the Company’s first Rolex 24 overall win, but their first overall victory at Daytona. Racing season is here and it is already off to a great start, it looks like some entertaining events are ahead so stay tuned as we follow all of the action.