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.
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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.




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  • 20 Comments
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 11 Months Ago
      This is the right call. Winkelhock took a line that he knew was going to put him on the outside of the Ferrari going into the left. The Ferrari had the line. At the speeds those guys are going, he could not have given the Audi enough room on the outside. Nor should he have. He did well enough to keep from running into the side of him. WInkelhock knew it was a risky move, it turns out it didn't pay off. Great race, however. The battle between the 911 RSR and Z4 in GTLM was great, too. Had it not been for a lower-class 458 pushing the Z4 high coming onto the oval, I think the Z4 would have pulled off the upset. It was fun to watch, and I look forward to seeing what the rest of the reason brings.
        Rotation
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Frisky_Dingo
        The commentators also noted that at the speed those cars were going, the Audi couldn't have gotten around that corner at that speed with the Ferrari in the way. If you couldn't get down to the apex on the way into the corner, you'd run wide on the way out for sure. When the Audi couldn't get clear, he had to back off, contact or squeeze or no.
      redssstew
      • 11 Months Ago
      That was as close as two cars could get without touching, Great Racing!
      Durishin
      • 11 Months Ago
      Yes! Justice prevails.
      RICKTIMS
      • 11 Months Ago
      I was happy to see this. The guys at Kelly Moss/ Level 5 Service my Audi and they are awesome. So it was good to see that the overturn happened as it did.
      abqhudson
      • 11 Months Ago
      Great news. The NASCAR Yellow at the end was BS too! Nascar could ruin this series.
      • 11 Months Ago
      [blocked]
      Steven
      • 11 Months Ago
      The stage managed finish to this race was inevitable, wasn't it? Throwing in a full course caution right at the end so they could bunch up the pack for a dash to finish was typical. We know who's running the show now so expect more of this type of crap in future races. Hell, next time I'm sure they'll try to make sure there'll be a least a couple of cars taking the checkered flag upside down and on fire. Anything for the show, ya know. Racertainment. Not a good start for the so-called new era of sportscar racing in NA., IMHO.
      djvolvo
      • 11 Months Ago
      I wish I could have seen some of these great GTD/GTLM battles… it appeared to me that the TV/online broadcast was a full-on media blitz extolling the virtues of Daytona Prototypes. The DP's seemed to be in the camera frame about 97% of the time. In fact, I don't even think we saw a GT car for the first 10 minutes of the race… to say nothing about how badly they screwed up the balance of performance for the P2 cars. As a longtime ALMS fan, I went into this race with an extremely open mind. I really want this new formula to work. But with NASCAR references being dropped left, right and sideways and all of the focus being on the DP's, I felt a bit betrayed by all of the USCR messaging over the last year. I'm not ready to jump ship just yet, but IMSA will need to reevaluate the BoP for the P2 teams. They also need to cut back on the NASCAR garbage. I watch sports car racing precisely because it's not NASCAR. They are two disparate worlds.
        Rotation
        • 11 Months Ago
        @djvolvo
        I never heard any NASCAR references, except for turn numbers. I missed the start of the race, but there were other cars featured when I was watching. The DPs to get most of the chat of course. The Continental race aired too, for anyone who wants to cleanse their eyeballs of the ugly DPs.
        rsxvue
        • 11 Months Ago
        @djvolvo
        I agree wholeheartedly. They really do favor the DP cars and had coverage on them for a huge majority of the race. I was a big fan of ALMS and rarely kept up with Grand-AM (if at all), I feel like ALMS was way more refined a series and I'm hoping things get better as the season goes on.
        Echelon Bob
        • 11 Months Ago
        @djvolvo
        You're spot-on about the over-coverage they give the uninteresting DPs. Unlike GT, they're not relevant to any normal cars, and unlike F1 or LMP1 they don't demonstrate or develop any cool new technologies. What's the point? And the P2 cars from ALMS got screwed. GTLM and GTD is where it's at. But NASCAR doesn't have all the power. At the end of the day, if the fans complain and broadcasters change what they cover, the sponsors will shift and the series will have to adjust. So, it's not just up to NASCAR. It's also up to Fox Sports to fix the coverage... Hmm... NASCAR and Fox... Uh, oh!!!
        davebo357
        • 11 Months Ago
        @djvolvo
        What's funny is that the GTLM class is so much closer to what NASCAR originally was than everything else out there. It was supposed to be a class for modified stock cars, and even though they're all a far cry from their production equivalents, you'll find a lot more similarity in these Porsche's and Corvettes to what you can actually buy than a NASCAR Impala or Camry will have when you rent one at the airport.
          Rotation
          • 11 Months Ago
          @davebo357
          GTLM cars are very heavily modified. GTD would be the closest to stock car racing, wouldn't it? As I mentioned above, if you really want to see closer to stock, watch the Continental series which aired right after the Rolex even ended.
          davebo357
          • 11 Months Ago
          @davebo357
          Yes GTD would be even closer to stock, I'm just still getting used to Grand Am cars mixed in with Le Mans. Nothing sets cars apart from their stock equivalents more than driving the wrong wheels though. Although I'd certainly rather see more RWD Chevy's than have NASCAR go largely FWD. Although I bet Dodge wouldn't mind.
      Christopher
      • 11 Months Ago
      Now I just wish IMSA would admit that they are manipulating the races with all the full course yellows for any reason possible. Makes watching the race infuriating as all they do is add another level of l
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