The 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 at Daytona didn't quite make it to 24 hours, after all.
An officiating error caused the 24-hour endurance race to end one lap too early, in effect making this year's race at Daytona International Speedway the Rolex 23-Hour, 58 1/2 Minutes at Daytona.
In a release sent out by IMSA late Monday, the error was explained:
Due to an officiating error in race control, IMSA inadvertently announced and subsequently displayed the white flag with under three minutes remaining in the race. At the end of the lap, the race-leading No. 7 GTP car then received the checkered flag with 1 minute, 35.277 seconds still remaining, ending the race short of the planned 24 hours by effectively one lap.
Based on Article 49 of the 2024 IMSA Sporting Regulations and Standard Supplementary Regulations, should the checkered flag be inadvertently or otherwise displayed before the leading car completes the scheduled number of laps or before the prescribed time has been completed, the race is nevertheless deemed ended when the flag is displayed.
The No. 7 Porsche 963 of Porsche Penske Motorsports and drivers Dane Cameron, Matt Campbell, Felipe Nasr and Josef Newgarden are allowed to keep their overall victory. They scored a 2.112-second win over the No. 31 Cadillac V-Series.R of Pipo Derani, Jack Aitken and Tom Blomqvist.
The snafu brought back memories to the Grand Prix of Portland in 1989, which proved to be another race stuck by an early flag. In that one, Price Cobb was leading and assumed he had won the race.
However, there were still five laps to go in the 102-lap race. Race control quickly radioed he teams and said the race was not over.
Cobb said he backed off, then resumed racing when he saw the car behind him, driven by Brabham, was still racing. Brabham caught Cobb two laps later and ended up winning by.345 of a second.
Cobb was eventually awarded the win following an appeal. A panel agreed that the checkered flag, even though it was thrown early, ended the race.