Risi Competizione outlasted the GTD PRO competition to claim its first win in the Rolex 24 at Daytona since 2002 in the SRP2 class, and the first for Ferrari since 2014. Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado wheeled the No. 62 Ferrari 296 GT3 with little dram a as their competitors fell by the wayside, and claimed the second 24-hour race win for the 296 GT3 after Frikadelli Racing took the 2023 24 Hours of the Nürburgring.

“It’s amazing,” said Pier Guidi. “First of all, I think we deserved this victory. We were also trying a lot of times to achieve this victory. We finished twice second, and it’s a long time partnership between Risi and Ferrari, and we’ve been with us and with the other drivers very close many times, but never been able to achieve this victory. Finally we get it. You see in the footage after the checkered flag…the picture is amazing. Everyone was crying, happy, and I went and I give a big hug to Giuseppe , because all the passion he put in here in this effort. He really deserved this.”

For two of the drivers, it was their second major 24-hour race win in a year. Pier Guidi and Calado were part of the 24 Hours of Le Mans squad, along with Antonio Giovinazzi, that took the overall victory in the Ferrari AF Corse 499P.

The No. 62 had shown impressive pace, especially in the heat of Saturday afternoon with Serra at the wheel. But in the end it was running trouble-free while most of their competitors had difficulties. Paul Miller Racing and the No. 1 BMW M4 GT3 with Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, Neil Verhagen and Sheldon van der Linde were the last real threat until they ran into brake problems with two hours to go. The brake change was one thing, but the right front wheel didn’t get seated properly and came loose. On top of that, after van der Linde limped the car back to the pits, the wheel gun got stuck trying to fix the problem, dropping the No. 1 down three laps.

Paul Miller Racing ended up third, behind the GTD PRO polesitting No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Seb Priaulx, Laurin Heinrich and Michael Christensen, which had been a lap down until the final caution.

One of the leading contenders, the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F, had its race effectively ended in the first hour when an LMP2 car spun right in front of Mike Conway, and he made heavy contact, wrecking the cooling system. The car was repaired and returned to the track, but was eventually retired.

It was an inauspicious debut for new GT3 cars. Both Ford Multimatic Motorsports Mustang GT3s had difficulties, some of it induced by contact. The No. 65 was retired, and the No. 64 finished seven laps down. The new Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs run by Pratt Miller Motorsports seems on target to fare better, but had mechanical issues late in the race and finished seven (No. 3) and 18 (No. 4) laps down. The privateer efforts for both manufacturers had worse results, with both AWA Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs and the No. 55 Proton Competition Mustang retiring.

Winward Racing took its second Rolex 24 at Daytona GTD victory in four years, with Russell Ward, Philip Ellis and Indy Dontje on both winning teams in the No. 57 Mercedes AMG, this time adding Daniel Morad, who drove the final stints to the checker. The Winward Mercedes AMG essentially controlled the latter half of the race, and had a 30s lead when the last caution came out.

“Obviously I wanted it to be an easy victory,” said Morad. “We all did an amazing job building the gaps throughout all the stints. It wasn’t just me. It was every single person on the team, engineering staff. The whole prep on the car was phenomenal. A lot easier this year than last year having a car that was designed for the race.”

For Ward, the second victory speaks to the quality of the team his family has built.

“It’s a constant evolution in racing,” he said. “If you’re not pushing the limits and trying to improve every year and someone else is, someone else is going to beat you. That’s kind of the passion that we have. We’ve had a pretty consistent crew over the past five years who have stayed with us and really helped us be successful. We try to keep the same drivers on board. We want to develop as a team and move forward as one.

“This one is pretty special to me. The first one wasn’t luck, of course. Everybody put their work in. But to come here and do it again, we’ve been pretty close the past two years, but just really haven’t had the luck to get it done. To come back and close it off for the second time in 2024 is a great feeling.”

Morad had to fend off a couple of strong Ferraris to claim the victory. The AF Corse Ferrari 296 GT3 of Simon Mann, Francois Heriau, Miguel Molina and Kei Cozzolino finished second. Impressive in the team’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut, Conquest Racing finished third with Manny Franco, Albert Costa Balboa, Alessandro Balzan and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli.

Several cars were in podium contention to the end, including the Triarsi Competizione Ferrari of Alessio Rovera, Onofrio Triarsi, Charlie Scardina and Riccardo Agostini that finished fourth; and Korthoff/Preston Motorsports’ No. 32 Mercedes AMG of Mike Skeen, Mikael Grenier, Kenton Koch and Maxi Goetz in fifth; along with the sixth place No. 83 Iron Dames Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 of Michelle Gatting, Rahel Frey, Sarah Bovy and Doriane Pin.