Daytona decision reversed, Level 5 Motorsports reinstated as class winners [w/video]Mon, 27 Jan 2014
After its first ever race at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, we can already tell that there should be plenty of excitement in the newly formed United SportsCar Racing series. Of the four competing classes, three of the winners came down to close last-lap performances, but perhaps none were as close – or controversial – as the GT Daytona (GTD) winner. Spoiler alert.
Midway through the infield portion of the Daytona International Speedway, the Level 5 Motorsports No. 555 Ferrari 458 Italia was trying to hold onto its first-place position over the Flying Lizard Motorsports No. 45 Audi R8. The R8 took an aggressive line trying to pass the Ferrari, and it ended up running out of track and driving off the course momentarily. International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) officials originally thought there was avoidable contact on the Ferrari's part and penalized the team accordingly, which meant Flying Lizard was the class winner. After watching the video replay, though, it was clear that there was no contact between the two cars. Officials overturned the ruling, rightfully giving the Level 5 Motorsports team the Rolex win.
A brief statement from IMSA is posted below regarding the matter, and we've also included a full video recap of the race from FOX Sports where you can see this GTD incident starting at the 2:30 mark.
Statement by Scot Elkins, IMSA vice president, competition and technical regulations
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2014) – A full post-race review of the incident on the last lap of the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona was completed by IMSA Supervisory Officials. The decision has been made to reverse the decision by the race director, rescind the penalty against the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia team, and reinstate drivers Scott Tucker, Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell, Jeff Segal and Alessandro Pier Giuidi as the GT Daytona class winners. We regret the confusion following the race, and appreciate the patience by our fans, drivers, teams and the media so we could properly review and subsequently report this decision.
By Jeffrey N. Ross
See also: Conquest and controversy conclude the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona [spoilers], $8.8m '58 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider highlights RM's Arizona auction, Barrett-Jackson 2014: Michael Schumacher's 1998 Ferrari F300 earns round of applause, $1.7M bid [w/video].