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Cadillac scores a 1-2 victory at the 2017 Daytona 24

Why it matters to you

Daytona is one of the biggest races of the year, and 2017 marked a historic victory for Cadillac.

The 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona kicked off the U.S. racing season this past weekend with a 24-hour battle that ended in a historic victory for Cadillac.

The General Motors luxury brand’s overall win at Daytona is its first ever in a top-level endurance race. The winning number 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R was campaigned by Wayne Taylor Racing, and driven by Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor, Max Angelelli, and former NASCAR star Jeff Gordon. The race ended up becoming a duel between the number 10 Cadillac and the number 5, which was overtaken in the race’s final minutes.

The driver roster for the number 10 Cadillac shows just how far the automaker has come in racing over the past decade and a half. Ricky and Jordan Taylor are the sons of team owner Wayne Taylor, who raced with Cadillac in its ill-fated attempt at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2000. Angelelli has been a Cadillac factory driver for years, and is the program manager for the DPi-V.R. His win at Daytona this year marked the end of his career as a professional race driver.

Daytona marked the debut of the Cadillac DPi-V.R, which is part of a new class called DPi as the top class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, of which Daytona is the season opener. The DPi cars all use similar Dallara chassis, but manufacturers supply their own powertrains. The Cadillac is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 based on the one used in the CTS-V sports sedan and Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

The switch to DPi from the old Daytona Prototype class worked to Cadillac’s advantage, and actually made a win at Daytona a pretty good bet. Cadillac managed to attract many of the top teams, most of which had a pre-existing relationship with GM from racing Corvette Daytona Prototypes in previous seasons. Like the Corvette Daytona Prototypes, the Cadillac race cars also have large-displacement V8 engines, which have done well on IMSA circuits in the past.

While Cadillac took the overall win, the Ford GT team that won its class at Le Mans last year came home first in the GTLM class, while the Porsche 911 GT3-R of Alegra Motorsports took the GTD class win. Both GT classes are based around production cars, rather than purpose-built prototypes like the Cadillac DPi-V.R. Finally, Performance Tech Motorsports got the win in the Prototype Challenge class.