David Donahue stated after winning the pole for the 67th running of the Rolex 24 hour race at Daytona that it amounted to only two days of bragging rights. He really wanted to win the race. After 23 hours of racing, four cars were left on the lead lap Sunday afternoon, the #01 Ganassi Lexus Riley driven by Juan Montoya, #58 Brumos Porsche Riley driven by David Donahue, his team car # 59 driven by Joao Barbosa and Sun Trust Racing’s #10 Ford Dallara driven by Max Angelelli. A late caution bunched the leaders together. Now all David had to do was pass Juan Montoya to deny the Ganassi team their fourth consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona and fend off his team-mate and the always dangerous Max Angelelli. Could he do it?
He made the pass, into corner one, with less than 40-minutes remaining in the race. Montoya fought back but, in the end, there was nothing he could do to prevent Donahue from following in his fathers footsteps and claiming victory on the 40th anniversary of his father’s win. David’s father, the late Mark Donahue, won the 1969 Daytona 24 hour race. The 735 laps that the 4 leaders drove set a new record for Daytona Prototypes at the Rolex 24.
It was a great finish to an endurance race. After 23 Hours the four cars on the lead lap were less than 5-seconds apart. The usual ceremonial finish to a 24 hour endurance race was not possible for Donahue, he and Montoya drove the wheels off their cars for the final hour. With 10-minutes remaining the other two were still only 5-seconds behind, waiting for Montoya and Donahue to faulter. They put on a brilliant display of driving, fast and aggressive, but courteous to both lap traffic and each other. Two gentlemen racers respecting each other and giving it everything they had. I have not witnessed that level of performance and sportsmanship in Grand-Am for quite a while. I hope they have set the tone for this season.
Porsche also filled the GT class podium with two TRG Porsche 997 GT3′s finishing one-two and Wright Motorsports 997 GT3 finishing third.
Full race results are available at www.grand-am.com.