Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor ended the 2013 Rolex Sports Car Series season with an exclamation point, winning Saturday's GRAND-AM Championship Weekend presented by BMW at Lime Rock Park to clinch the Daytona Prototype championship with their third consecutive victory.
At Kansas Speedway in August, Taylor held off Scott Pruett throughout the final half-hour to win the race in the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP to take the lead in the standings.At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Taylor led the final 29 laps to extend that lead. Saturday, the 22-year-old Floridian led the final 69 circuits, winning by 3.389 seconds over Gustavo Yacaman with Pruett taking third.
It was the final race in the 14-year history of the Rolex Series, which is merging with the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and will debut as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship beginning with the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Angelelli won the 2005 DP title co-driving with car owner Wayne Taylor; he won the three prior DP races at Lime Rock with Taylor's oldest son, Ricky; Saturday, he took his 26th career DP victory while helping Jordan become the youngest champion in DP history.
“It all came down to the team,” Jordan Taylor said. “Every time we won a race came down to the line, they got us out of the pits with great track position. All we had to do was keep everyone behind us.”
Yacaman finished second in the Michael Shank Racing's No. 6 Ford/Riley started by Justin Wilson, followed by Pruett and co-driver Memo Rojas, who were seeking the fourth straight championship in the No. 01 TELMEX/Telcel BMW/Riley.
“This is bittersweet,” Pruett said. “Grand-Am's been home for us for the last 10 years, and you hate to see it end – even though there's a new beginning ahead. I enjoyed the last 10 years and everything we've achieved. At least no one can break our records.”
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates won its seventh DP team championship in 10 years and fourth in a row.
The race started with a dramatic turn of events in the GT championship, when point leader John Potter was taken out on the second lap – sidelining the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3 co-driven by Andy Lally.
Alessandro Balzan then went on to take the championship with a second-place finish in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia started by Leh Keen. Balzan won by 10 points over Potter and Lally.
“This is crazy for me. To get the championship in the first year for Scuderia Corsa, and in the last year of the Rolex Series, is really magical,” Balzan said. “It was a wild race, but the car was so good and our strategy was good. But believe me, I never relaxed out there today. It was so hot, and so hard.”
Eric Curran and substitute co-driver Lawson Aschenbach were GT winners in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette. Ashenbach took over for usual co-driver Boris Said, who missed the race due to travel difficulties. It was the second victory for Marsh Racing of Old Lyme, Conn., which will move to the Prototype ranks in 2014 in a Corvette DP.
Jim Norman won the first GX championship, talking his ninth consecutive second-place finish in the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman co-driven by Spencer Pumpelly after opening the year with three victories.
Tom Long and Sylvain Tremblay took their fourth GX victory in the No. 70 Mazdaspeed/ SpeedSource Mazda6.
• The Grand-Am finale from Lime Rock re-airs Sunday at 12 p..m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1.