10 great images from the Daytona 24 Hours

by Jamie Howlett on 25th January 2016

Presented in no particular order, here are 10 of our favourite photos from the 24 hours of Daytona over the years...

1968: Porsche 1-2-3

With regulation changes in its favour, Porsche entered five long-tailed 907s for Daytona ’68. Ford wrapped up the front row, however, with Jacky Ickx/Brian Redman starting ahead of Paul Hawkins/David Hobbs. With both GT40s dropping out before half-distance, Porsche was left with little competition and had the race sewn up. A 22-minute pitstop repair cost Jo Siffert/Hans Herrmann the lead to Vic Elford, whose co-driver Jochen Neerpasch had to be replaced by Rolf Stommelen due to illness.

Porsche racing director Huschke von Hanstein felt Siffert/Herrmann would have taken the victory without their delay, so asked Elford if they could drive some laps to be part of the victory. Elford agreed and the winning #54 907 ended with a five-driver line-up: Elford/Neerspach/Siffert/Stommelen/Herrmann crossed the line ahead of the #52 of Siffert/Herrmann/Gerhard Mitter and the #51 of Jo Schlesser/Joe Buzzetta, in co-ordinated style.

The Alfa Romeo T33/2 of Mario Andretti/Lucien Bianchi finished sixth, while George Waltman (Morgan +4) completed the event on his own – with just one two-hour nap – and was last classified finisher, in 30th place.

1967: Ferrari 1-2-3

Having suffered defeat to Ford at both Daytona and Le Mans in 1966, Ferrari returned to America with its 330P4, one of Ford's winning Le Mans drivers and a full week of testing booked.

Ford took pole with Dan Gurney/AJ Foyt ahead of Phil Hill/Mike Spence in the Chaparral 2F. The Chaparral soon opened up a big lead, but on the first lap of his second stint Hill lost control and struck the wall, putting them out.

Ferrari was handed an advantage it would not relinquish, Chris Amon/Lorenzo Bandini (pictured above) taking the flag ahead of Mike Parkes/Lodovico Scarfiotti and the NART 412P driven by Pedro Rodriguez/Jean Guichet (also pictured above – followed by the MGB GT of Dick Ganger/Al Weaver/Ken Goodman). With the highest Ford finishing only sixth, it was a dominant response from Ferrari.

1978: Porsche domination

There was enough time to stop, clean the car, apply fresh decals and back off to head a procession of the leading five Porsches as the 935/77A of Rolf Stommelen/Toine Hezemans/Peter Gregg wrapped up a convincing, 30-lap victory.

The car took the lead during the race’s early stages and never again relinquished top spot. The 935s had been fast but vulnerable the previous season, victory going to an older Carrera RSR, but there would be no repeat this time around. Second place was taken by the 935/77A of Dick Barbour/Manfred Schurti/Johnny Rutherford and Porsche took 14 of the first 15 positions, including the first seven. The lone interloper?  A Ferrari 365GTB/4 driven by Bobby Carradine/John Morton/Tony Adamowicz/Hal Sahlman.

1989: 76 seconds

Technically speaking, the 1989 event should be known as the 20 hours of Daytona – fog rolled in at 1am and, with worsening visibility, the race was stopped for four hours while it cleared.

The Nissan GTP-ZXT of Geoff Brabham/Arie Luyendyk/Michael Roe/Chip Robinson led at that stage – and it continued at the front until its engine failed.

This set up an exciting finale between the Porsche 962 of Derek Bell/Bob Wollek/John Andretti and the Jaguar XJR-9 of Price Cobb/John Nielsen/Andy Wallace/Jan Lammers, the Jaguar closing the gap to 8sec at one stage before falling back with a spin. The gap came down again when the Porsche stopped for a late splash of fuel, but Wollek brought it home for what was then the closest finish in the race’s history.

2015: Sixth of the best

Chip Ganassi wrapped up a record sixth overall victory at Daytona with his 'second' Riley-Ford EcoBoost DP of Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan/Kyle Larson/Jamie McMurray. It was tough luck for the team’s sister 'lead' car of Scott Pruett/Joey Hand/Charlie Kimball/Sage Karam, which retired after 22hrs 25min with clutch failure.

The winners were kept honest until the end, however, as the Chevrolet Corvette DPs of Action Express Racing (Christian Fittipaldi/Sébastien Bourdais/João Barbosa) and Wayne Taylor Racing (Ricky Taylor/Jordan Taylor/Max Angelelli) were in close contact (although the WTR entry would be disqualified for breaching maximum driving time rules).

The Ganassi car crossed the line just 1.3sec ahead of its nearest challenger to secure a historic win.

2004: Finding a quiet moment

After an underwhelming first year for the new Daytona Prototypes, the field grew significantly in 2004. A number of star drivers took part, including Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kyle Petty, Jimmie Johnson and Robby Gordon from NASCAR, and Scott Dixon, Christian Fittipaldi and Scott Sharp from Indycar. Racing actor Paul Newman was present, too, in a Fabcar FDSC/03.

Weather conditions were less than favourable, with rain falling for most for the race and standing water/poor visibility causing a red-flag stoppage for almost three hours. The Crawford-Chevrolet DP03 of Andy Wallace/Earnhardt Jr/Stewart led convincingly throughout the night and again after the restart, before suspension trouble struck in the final hour. With a three-lap lead the team brought the car in and tried to fix the problem. Stewart attempted to nurse the car home, but with just 17 minutes remaining it succumbed (although it would be classified fifth).

This handed victory to Terry Borcheller/Andy Pilgrim/Christian Fittipaldi/Forest Barber in their Doran-Pontiac JEF, though overheating issues almost robbed them of victory as well.

As for Timo Bernhard, pictured above, he came home 14th overall and 5th in the GT class, driving alongside Kevin Buckler, Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long in a Porsche 996 GT3RS. Sometimes, you just need to plug your ears and read the paper on a Sunday morning...

2014: Sprint finish

Only 8min 20sec remained when the green flag fell, setting up a dash to the flag between the Chevrolet Corvette DPs of Action Express (João Barbosa/ Christian Fittipaldi/Sébastien Bourdais) and second-placed Wayne Taylor Racing (Ricky, Jordan & Wayne Taylor/Max Angelelli).

Barbosa held his nerve long enough to open up a gap – and didn't look back.

Earlier on, the race had been red-flagged for almost an hour due to a violent accident between Memo Gidley, in the pole-sitting DP Corvette, and Matteo Malucelli in a slowing Ferrari 458, though both drivers later recovered from their injuries.

The pictured cars of Stefan Mücke/Darren Turner/Pedro Lamy/Richie Stanaway/Paul Dalla Lana (#97 Aston Martin Vantage V8) and Damien Faulkner/Patrick Huisman/Bob Faieta/Michael Avenatti (#81 Porsche 911 GT America) finished respectively 44th overall/8th in class (GTLM) and 51st overall/25th in class (GTD).

1975: Twice as nice

The BMW 3.0 CSL of Ronnie Peterson/Brian Redman qualified third, behind fellow BMW drivers Hans Stuck/Sam Posey and the pole-sitting Corvette of John Greenwood/Carl Shafer/Vince Muzzin.

The space-age Corvette led for the opening period, before struggling with overheating problems and retiring when Shafer was pushed into the wall at Turn One. Peterson/Redman lasted only an hour before suffering engine failure and Stuck/Posey dominated until being likewise sidelined during the night.

Al Holbert/Elliott Forbes-Robinson then led in their Porsche 911 Carrera RSR, before being hauled in by Hurley Haywood (911) during difficult foggy conditions just before dawn. Haywood and Peter Gregg then held to win the race for a second time, two years after their first. Porsche wrapped up the top 13 spots, 10 of those being filled by 911 Carrera RSRs.

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