Cadillac came seemingly out of nowhere to win the coveted top trophy in the Prototype (P) Class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona the other day, scoring its first endurance racing victory in 14 years and its first ever Daytona win.
The vehicle that delivered the triumph – and a specially engraved Rolex Cosmograph Daytona for the winning drivers – was the Konica Minolta team's Cadillac DPi-V.R race car, built to IMSA’s (International Motorsports Association) new Daytona Prototype international formula, a wicked fast ride that Batman must be drooling over.
A bit less surprising but no less of a thrill was Chip Ganassi Racing crushing the competition in the incredible new Ford GT Ecoboost (below), king of the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Class and a certified Ferrari killer like its 1960s namesake.
While Performance Tech Motorsports won the Prototype Challenge (PC) title in the French-built Oreca FLM09, it was Alegra Motorsports' rout of the GT Daytona (GTD) class in the rip-roaring Porsche 911 GT3 R (below) that warmed our hearts if not those of rivals like Audi (who won last year) and BMW.
Some other cars made respectable showings that won them positions on the podium even if they'll have to buy their own watches, including the Mercedes-AMG GT3, making its IMSA debut, and the lean and mean Lamborghini Huracan GT3 (below).
Another contender that we expect great things from in years to come is Corvette's GTLM racer the C7.R (below), though it'll have to look pretty lively to get past the Ford GT.
While endurance racing isn't typically the most interesting of spectator sports, this year the presence of NASCAR star Jeff Gordon driving for Cadillac helped liven things up.
It can also do wonders for manufacturers' reputations, and we expect Cadillac in particular to capitalize its stunning victory over more established rivals and sexier marques. Ford already has.
BMW also hopes to edge out Porsche in GTD races (below) to come, while Ferrari just needs to get back on the podium, period. Porsche remain the all-time champs with 18 total Daytona wins as a constructor and 22 as engine manufacturer to its credit, a benchmark that's not likely to be usurped anytime soon.
The big question is, can Cadillac (below) do it again next year, and start chipping away at the obvious advantages of the Europeans? We'd say the odds are good....