Action Express Racing came out on top in a three-way Chevrolet-powered fight to claim a second Daytona 24 Hours victory with Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais.
Barbosa secured victory aboard the lead Action Express Coyote-Chevrolet Corvette DP by just 1.4 seconds after a eight-minute dash to the flag following the 16th and final safety car of the race.
The Portuguese, whose car was afflicted by gear-selection problems for much of the second half of the event, was able to pull away from Max Angelelli in the Wayne Taylor Racing Dallara-Chevrolet Corvette DP over the final five laps to reprise his and the team's 2010 victory at Daytona.
"I had a good cushion, but I was hitting traffic at the wrong time," said Barbosa.
"I didn't want to see the safety car, because I was struggling with the gears."
Bourdais added: "You couldn't help thinking what is going to go wrong from here. It was a relief to see the chequered flag."
Angelelli and his team-mates, brothers Jordan and Ricky and father Wayne, finished 18s up on the second Action Express entry in third place.
Brothers Burt and Brian Frisselle, John Martin and Fabien Giroix were in the mix throughout the race despite gear selection problems that raised their head early on.
Gidley injured in massive Daytona crash
Daytona Prototype machinery blocked out the top four positions in the first race of the United SportsCar Championship, with fourth place going to the Spirit of Daytona Coyote-Chevrolet shared by Richard Westbrook, Michael Valiante and Mike Rockenfeller.
Top LMP2 prototype was the Muscle Milk/Pickett Racing ORECA-Nissan 03, which finished fifth in the hands of Klaus Graf, Lucas Luhr and Alex Brundle.
Chip Ganassi Racing failed to get either of its Riley-Ford DPs to the finish: the #01 car in which Scott Pruett was bidding for a record sixth Daytona victory stopped with engine problems with two hours to go, while the sister car retired in the final hour when running fourth in the hands of Scott Dixon.
CORE PORSCHE WINS GTLM
Porsche took GT Le Mans class honours with its factory CORE Autosport 911 RSR shared by Nick Tandy, Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet.
The car finished just 2.8s ahead of the best of the works Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMW Z4s driven by Andy Priaulx, Bill Auberlen, Maxime Martin and Joey Hand.
The late-race yellow allowed the BMW to mount a last-gasp challenge, but Hand was unable to get on terms with Pilet over the dash to the flag.
The winning Porsche was involved in a frenetic battle with the sole-surviving Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in the hands of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Robin Liddell heading into the closing stages.
A transmission problems for the Corvette resulted in a long stop for a new gearbox, which dropped the car to a distant fifth.
Chrysler's pair of SRT Viper GTS-Rs led much of the first third of the race, before dropping back with problems.
It eventually claimed third place with the car shared by Marc Goossens, Dominik Farnbacher and Ryan Hunter-Reay, which was delayed during the night with a power-steering system leak.
Honours in the one-make Prototype Challenge class for the ORECA-Chevrolet FLM09 went to the CORE team and Colin Braun, Jon Bennett, Mark Wilkins and James Gue.
CONTROVERSIAL GTD FINISH
Audi took victory in the GT Daytona class, despite the winning Flying Lizards Audi R8 LMS finishing second on the track to the best of the Level 5 team's pair of Ferrari 458 Italias.
Alessandro Pier Guidi took the flag 1.2s ahead of Markus Winkelhock in the Ferrari, but was awarded a time penalty for an incident on the final lap.
Winkelhock made a bid for the lead in the infield kink but ended up going off the track as the Italian squeezed him on the exit.
Pier Guidi, who shared the Ferrari with Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler and Scott Tucker, was penalised for "avoidable contact" even though there was clearly no contact.
UPDATE: Level 5 penalty overturned
That gave victory to Winkelhock, Tim Pappas, Nelson Canache and Spencer Pumpelly.
Results - 695 laps:
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap
1. P Barbosa/Fittipaldi/Bourdais Action Express Corvette DP 24h00m34.760s
2. P Taylor/Angelelli/Taylor/Taylor Taylor Corvette DP +1.461s
3. P Frisselle/Frisselle/Martin/Giroix Action Express Corvette DP +19.489s
4. P Westbrook/Valiante/Rockenfeller Spirit Corvette DP +2 laps
5. P Graf/Luhr/Brundle Pickett ORECA-Nissan +3 laps
6. GTLM Tandy/Lietz/Pilet CORE Porsche +16 laps
7. GTLM Auberlen/Priaulx/Hand RLL BMW +16 laps
8. P Pla/Rusinov/Yacaman/Webb OAK Morgan-Nissan +17 laps
9. PC Bennett/Gue/Braun/Wilkins CORE FLM +17 laps
10. PC Potolicchio/Kimber-Smith/Marsal/Huff 8Star FLM +18 laps
11. P Brown/van Overbeek/Pagenaud Extreme Speed HPD +19 laps
12. GTLM Farnbacher/Goossens/Hunter-Reay SRT Viper +20 laps
13. PC Ostella/Matos/Drissi/Casagrande Performance Tech FLM +26 laps
14. GTLM Muller/Edwards/Rahal RLL BMW +27 laps
15. P Dixon/Kanaan/Franchitti/Larson Ganassi Riley-Ford +28 laps*
16. GTLM Gavin/Milner/Liddell Corvette +29 laps
17. PC Montecalvo/Jeannette/Cheng PR1/Mathiasen FLM +33 laps*
18. GTD Canache/Pumpelly/Pappas Flying Lizard Audi +33 laps
19. GTD Snow/Heylen/Seefried Snow Porsche +33 laps
20. GTD Rotenberg/Zlobin/Mediani SMP/ESM Ferrari +33 laps
21. GTD Tucker/Sweedler/Bell Level 5 Ferrari +33 laps
22. GTD Neiman/von Moltke/Latif/Albuquerque Flying Lizard Audi +34 laps
23. GTD Tucker/LaMarra/Borcheller Level 5 Ferrari +34 laps
24. PC Schultis/Lux/van der Zande/Bird Starworks FLM +36 laps
25. GTD Cameron/Dalla Lana/Farfus Turner BMW +36 laps
26. GTD MacNeil/Keen/van Gisbergen Alex Job Porsche +39 laps
27. GTLM Bell/Bomarito/Wittmer SRT Viper +42 laps
28. GTD Cisneros/Giermaziak/Nielsen NGT Porsche +43 laps
29. GTD Longo/Serra/Negrao/Gomes Corsa Ferrari +46 laps
30. GTD Balzan/Westphal/Vilander Corsa Ferrari +48 laps
31. GTD Potter/Lally/Henzler/Dumolin Magnus Porsche +50 laps
32. GTD Lindsey/Estre/De Phillippi Park Place Porsche +50 laps
33. GTD Randall/Farano/Wilden Corsa Ferrari +50 laps
34. GTD James/Farnbacher/Holzer Alex Job Porsche +56 laps
35. P DeFoor/Pace/Beck/Hinton Highway Riley-BMW +64 laps*
36. GTD Miller/Rast/Haase/Bell Miller Audi +69 laps
37. GTLM Krohn/Jonsson/Bertolini Krohn Ferrari +70 laps
38. GTD Griffin/Cioci/Rugolo/Gerber Spirit of Race Ferrari +75 laps
39. GTD Perazzini/Roda/Ruberti Spirit of Race Ferrari +77 laps
40. GTD Keating/Bleekemolen/Collard Riley SRT Viper +80 laps
41. P Curran/Said/Smith/Papis Marsh Corvette DP +82 laps
42. PC Popow/Fuentes/Tutumlu Starworks FLM +83 laps*
43. P Pruett/Rojas/McMurray/Karam Ganassi Riley-Ford +85 laps*
44. GTLM Mucke/Turner/Lamy/Stanaway Aston Martin +85 laps
45. GTD Taggart/Gewirtz/Kvamme Muehlner Porsche +92 laps
46. GTD Engelhart/Ineichen/Bachler Dempsey Porsche +94 laps*
47. P Pew/Negri/Allmendinger/Wilson Shank Riley-Ford +96 laps
48. GTD Block/Carter/Davis/Davison TRG Aston Martin +115 laps
49. GTD Norman/Stanton/Siedler Park Place Porsche +129 laps
50. GTD Foster/Dempsey/Davis/Lieb Dempsey Porsche +129 laps
51. GTD Faulkner/Huisman/Faieta GB Porsche +135 laps
52. GTD Lockie/McIntosh/Nimkoff TRG Aston Martin +179 laps
53. GTD Amos/Bamber/Blum/Imperatori Muehlner Porsche +203 laps*
54. GTLM Long/Christensen/Bergmeister CORE Porsche +206 laps*
55. PC Rayhall/Kovacic/Bielefield BAR1 FLM +235 laps
* Not running at finish
P Miller/Nunez/Vautier Speedsource Mazda 445 laps
P Tremblay/Long/Hinchcliffe Speedsource Mazda 369 laps
PC Cumming/Tagliani/Mitchell/Daly RSR FLM 361 laps
P Sharp/Dalziel/Brabham Extreme Speed HPD 359 laps
GTLM Magnussen/Garcia/Briscoe Corvette 329 laps
P Meyrick/Legge/Rossi/Chaves DeltaWing 288 laps
P Mayer/Popow/Hartley/Viso Starworks Riley-BMW 238 laps
PC Ende/Junqueira/Hansson/Menezes RSR FLM 177 laps
GTD Welch/Sofronas/Stippler GMG Audi 151 laps
P Gurney/Fogarty/Gidley Stallings Corvette DP 92 laps
GTLM Malucelli/Fisichella/Bruni Risi Ferrari 88 laps
GTD Putman/Espenlaub/Jarvis Fall-Line Audi 5 laps