January 16, 2021 – Daytona holds a special place for many of us. In the United States, it is as sacred and as important as anything else when it comes to sports cars. It is the “Le Mans of the West”. With its high speeds and high banks, it’s a spectacle on its own. And for this year’s race that spectacle belonged to Yassin Marzoug, who put on a fine show with his Lola T70 Mk.3B Chevrolet race car.
Further down in the Top 5 positions there were monumental battles while other early leaders faced problems.
S 5.0 – Purist
Yassin Marzoug took the win in Purist class and overall, the 2nd of the season and solidified his spot to the top of the standings.
Strong performances by both Marzoug and rookie in class Ross Smith in the opening two races seem to show that the crew of the n00n Racing Lolas is in top form surprising some that had others vouching for wins… That cannot be said for the #66 crew of Steve Carman, who has been having a tormented start of the season, and a gutful retirement at Daytona 5 mins before the end with an engine failure.
The same is the story for the beginning of season favorites Team Futur and the crew of Antti Rasi, who haven’t really capitalized on their speed. At Daytona, Rasi lost it at Turn 1 hitting the Pit Wall heavily. While the impact didn’t destroy the car, its engine would let go minutes later.
Ben Boorman and Rookie Monsters – another season favorite – haven’t excelled either. Problems in Qualifying in Buenos Aires and problems again in Daytona early in the race cost them a good result.
Undoubtedly, if Team Futur and Rookie Monsters need to have any hope for the Championship, they need to sort out the problems that keep plaguing their side of the garage since they would need strong finishes to defend the “assault” from the uprising threat of n00n Racing.
N00n Racing Lolas dominated Daytona finishing 1-2 in Purist
Speaking of uprising threats, John Wyer said “You can never disregard Ferrari”. Scuderia Cavalli had its top driver, Ezio Gazzolla, suffer a DNF in Buenos Aires and a DNS in Daytona due to the car unable to fire up in the grid.
However, George Angelidis had solid drives to get a 4th and 3rd in the 2.4 Hour to propel the Scuderia at 2nd place in the standings.
The highlight of this race had to be the relentless nighttime battle of George Angelidis, Colin Moore of the Lucky Strike Porsche, and Ross Smith’s Lola banging wheels until the early hours of the morning.
Angelidis would be down in speed but would defend valiantly from both, with Colin unable to make up the place and giving Smith a go.
Smith would also fail in turn to pass Angelidis until the undercut in the 2nd round of Pit Stops put him in front by a hair.
Ultimately, Angelidis would collect his 1st podium of the season gaining big in points by driving cleanly and consistently. With that finish now Angelidis moves up ahead of Rasi and Boorman in the Championship.
n00n Racing took a thoroughly celebrated 1-2, propelling them far in front of the Championship with the rest of the teams all bunched together.
S 5.0 – Pro
In Pro, it was a straightforward win for Wooter de Bruijn, the independent Porsche entry mostly uncontested due to the mishaps of all the other cars. First was Marouane el Idrissi’s Ferrari that spun in the first 10 mins at Turn 3. Jason Whited was next with a steering wheel failure that put him out of the race early.
A recovering Marouane el Idrissi and Joe Miller in the Storm Rider Racing Lola battled it out briefly, but with the Ferrari driver winning the battle early on.
Miller would be next making mistake after mistake suffering huge time loss that ultimately put him out of contention.
Marouane el Idrissi would need to take another set of tires due to blistering while his brother and teammate Imad would have a spectacular accident in the Pit Lane hitting another car and flipping his own causing unrepairable damage.
That left early on the Pro field spread apart with only a relevant battle being that of teammates Jon Uyan and Jerry Chen in the CMS Pro Porsches 12 seconds apart.
They would lap identical times neither gaining nor losing any with Jon leading the duo and Jerry following closely behind.
At that point, it was controlling the pace for Wooter followed by a charging Jon Uyan in the Porsche at the closing stages, after a bad qualifying.
Jason Whited (Strom Riding Racing Lola) fighting Imad el Idrissi (Gasoline Aftershave Bros Ferrari)
After the last round of the pit stops, Wooter held almost a half a lap lead, with Jon in 2nd and Marouane in 3rd. Joe Miller would recover for a 4th tightly contested with Jerry Chen.
After poor outings of the CMS Pro Porsche, it was redemption time as any team failed to outclass the Porsches in a big point-scoring opportunity.
This performance puts the teams in a tight battle with only 2.5 points separating first to last.
Wooter de Bruijn still leads the Championship with 18 points, 9 from Jon Uyan, with Marouane into 3rd with 8 points.
S 5.0 – Am
Shake ups happened in the Am class during this race.
Points leader Lady of Sorrows Racing Lolas were going to start the race without their 2nd driver, Guilherme Bencke, resting all their hopes on the dominant Wayne Hutchison.
Quick into the race, there was a spectacular chase between Tom Aiken in the Porsche and Leone Gennari in the Ferrari for 2nd.
Leone would attempt a failed to overtake maneuver at Tom Aiken at Turn 1 with Aiken closing the door firmly. That would infuriate Gennari that would have his lights flashing for laps to come with varying results of success.
That back-and-forth battle would ultimately end with Gennari making the pass stick at Turn 1. That left Dan Minges and Tom Nasella capitalizing on the errors of the others and finishing 4th and 5th in class.
Champion Bob Roberson had his wings cut this time, ending today with a blown engine, mercifully ending what was a “not well prepped car”.
The battle in Am class was thrilling!
Pit stops and consistency would be Tom Aiken’s strength overcoming Gennari for a second place, but Leone Gennari scores A CAREER HIGH of 3rd place, 1st podium, and highest finish for the JL Corsa Ferrari in the Championship!
That 3rd place at Daytona means that he is propelled to 4th in the Driver’s Championship surpassing both the Old Coots Racing Porsche drivers of Tony Boynton and Tom Nasella.
However, a dominant win for Wayne Hutchison really propelled the Lady of Sorrows Racing Lolas 13.5 points ahead of the competition.
In the Driver’s Championship Wayne Hutchison now leads the Championship over 3 points from Dan Minges. Tom Aiken completes the Top 3 with 6 points.
On to Sebring
The Championship will now pause before moving few miles south to the traditional meeting of Sebring for the 1.2 Hours.
What’s about to happen at Sebring is anyone’s guess at this point, but we do expect the n00n Racing (Purist) & Lady of Sorrows Racing (Am) Lolas to be as strong as the other teams are trying to get back in the Championship.