One week after Sébastien Loeb rolled back the years on the Monte Carlo Rally at the age of 47, another motorsport veteran showed how it’s done at the Daytona 24 Hours. Hélio Castroneves, 46, drew on all his experience to keep calm under pressure to steer Meyer Shank Racing’s Acura DPi to victory in a typically incident-packed and closely fought Florida classic.

This has been something of an Indian summer for Castroneves. Since stepping down from full-time Indycar Series action with long-time employer Penske at the end of 2017, the Brazilian has claimed a Rolex watch from Daytona’s famous sponsor in two consecutive years and last season, also with Meyer Shank, scored a surprise fourth Indianapolis 500 victory that lifted him into the elite most-wins club at the Brickyard with Rick Mears, Al Unser and AJ Foyt. 

He’s on quite a roll, then – even if he’s probably still most famous in his adopted country for winning Dancing with the Stars, the American version of Strictly.

Taylor-made duel

02 Helio castroneves dayonta 24

There was added spice to the deciding battle at Daytona, as Castroneves spent the final half-hour defending from the team with which he won the race 12 months ago. Wayne Taylor Racing was chasing its fourth consecutive win at the Rolex 24, and the team boss’s son, Ricky Taylor, shadowed Castroneves’s pink and white Acura all the way to the flag, falling short by just three seconds. That’s pretty tight after 24 hours of racing.

“Oh my God, this is incredible,” said the ever-irrepressible winner. “I knew my friend Ricky was right behind me, I knew his strengths – but I hadn’t taught him all I know!”