Stig’s son* has won the Daytona 24 Hour race in an Acura ARX-06
*Well, not that one... we’ll explain
While we certainly rate our Stig for pace (and uncanny resemblance to Lego figurines), where he’s perhaps less adroit is creating racing dynasties.
But there’s clearly no such problem over at the other Stig’s house: Tom Blomqvist, son of rally supremo Stig – and clearly no slouch in his own right – took line honours at the 2023 Daytona 24 Hour, forming the front of a 1-2 finish for Acura.
And when we say 1-2 finish, it wasn’t as if there was much of a wait. After 24 hours of racing (the hint’s in the name, really), just 4.1 seconds separated the first and second placed Acura ARX-06s. But that’s a yawning chasm compared to the 0.083 seconds difference in qualifying between the fastest qualifier – also a certain T. Blomqvist, in case you were wondering – and Felipe Nasr in a Porsche 963.
Now, given that it’s a 24-hour race, it wasn’t just Tom out there, pounding around for 783 laps in a row. And as you might expect, his teammates are pretty handy drivers themselves: this victory makes it three Daytona 24 wins on the trot for Helio Castroneves, and two for Simon Pagenaud and Tom Blomqvist. So that’s back to back wins at Day-TOOOOONAAAA (yep, we definitely haven’t played that game too much) for three out of the four winning drivers this year – while the fourth, Colin Braun, already had class wins with Chevrolet at Daytona. Clearly, the team wasn’t short on talent.
Or indeed luck – while the Porsche 963 was about a bee’s bits behind the Acura in qualifying, the threat was well and truly neutralised when an issue took the Porsche out of title contention about three hours in. Acura’s biggest problem as the afternoon stretched into evening came from Cadillac. Yes, really; Honda’s luxe brand was battling it out with GM’s. But we can explore how Cadillac is trying to shed its Florida image by racing in Florida another time.
In any case, Acura’s luck held in a few situations where the chips could have fallen very differently. During the night, for instance, the #60 Acura that’d go on to win the race made contact with Tower Motorsports’ #8 entry, which led to the latter spinning out – into the path of Scott Dixon in the #1 Cadillac. Dixon managed to stop just in time... and scored a rear-end shunt from an LMP3 car for his trouble. Even so, the #1 Cadillac and #60 Acura would swap the front-running spot throughout the night, with the Caddy leading the early morning hours.
But luck was still on Acura’s side. After an Oreca LMP2 car dived into the tyre wall at the Bus Stop chicane – at about 90mph – the whole track was put under caution long enough for the #60 Acura to be right on the Cadillac’s bumper at the restart. And as the last hours of the race dwindled into minutes, seemingly constant cautions kept tipping the scales in Acura’s favour.
With less than half an hour remaining, the final restart saw the #60 Acura lead the pack, now followed by the #10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing. The #10 car, which had battled for second place with the Porsche 963 in the early hours of the race, then overtaken the #60 car, then fallen behind after the car needed repairs overnight, finished the race just seconds behind the winning #60 Acura of Meyer Shank Racing. The Cadillacs took third and fourth places, with the #1 Caddy finishing just 9.6 seconds behind the leader and the fourth-placed #31 car 11.1 seconds away from a first-place finish.
It wasn’t only Acura scoring close-run 1-2 finishes, however: Aston Martin also managed to claim a class win (its first at Daytona) and runner-up finish in the GT class, with just 5.3 seconds separating the two. The Vantage GT3 run by the Heart of Racing team finished 16th overall out of 61 starters, ahead of Porsche 992 GT3Rs, Huracan GT3 Evos and McLaren 720S GT3s – and even in front of some LMP3 racers. Not bad for something that’s still recognisable as a car, no?
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