Kobayashi steered the Konica Minolta-backed #10 entry across the line 65 seconds ahead of the polesitting #77 Mazda RT24-P driven by Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nunez and Olivier Pla.
It keeps alive Cadillac’s 100 percent winning record in the classic IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener since the start of the DPi era in 2017.
The 58th running of the event also saw a record distance completed due to only six caution periods, the top three cars all completing 833 laps / 2965.48 miles, whereas the previous record, from 2018, was 808 laps / 2876.48 miles.
Over the final couple of hours, Kobayashi was taking it relatively easy and still pulling away from the Mazda, which in turn crossed the line 20sec ahead of the #5 JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac of Sebastien Bourdais, Joao Barbosa and Loic Duval.
Fourth was earned by Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud in the #6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05, five laps down after being slowed almost throughout the race by the car bottoming out.
The second JDC-Miller entry of Matheus Leist, Tristan Vautier, Chris Miller and Juan Piedrahita was fifth, ahead of the second Mazda driven by Harry Tincknell, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Jonathan Bomarito, which was way off the pace for the last three hours due to a power loss.
LMP2 was won by DragonSpeed, the Oreca shared by Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman, Colin Braun and Harrison Newey beating the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car of Gabriel Aubry, Ben Keating, Simon Trummer and Nick Boulle by a full lap.
Era Motorsport completed the class podium with its Oreca, eight laps down.
The GT Le Mans battle was a thriller, Jesse Krohn overcoming a stall in his penultimate stop to bring home the win for the #24 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing BMW M8 GTE he shared with John Edwards, Augusto Farfus and Chaz Mostert.
The Finn had to pass both Porsche 911 RSR-19s over the course of the final couple of hours, but eventually left them in his wake, crossing the line 14 sec ahead.
Earl Bamber in the #912 car he shares with Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet engaged in a frantic duel with Nick Tandy in the final hour, but held on and then pulled away to restrict the Tandy/Fred Makowiecki/Matt Campbell-driven machine to the lowest step on the podium.
Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg delivered a fourth place finish for the new mid-engined Corvette C8.R on its debut, albeit well over a minute behind the Porsche battle.
The Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE retired more than hour before the end with a lack of power, leaving fifth place to last year’s winning BMW, which was 13 laps down due to earlier trouble when it ran over debris.
The GT Daytona class featured a Lamborghini 1-2, the Paul Miller Racing Huracan GT3 Evo of Bryan Sellers, Corey Lewis, Madison Snow and Andrea Caldarelli triumphing ahead of the GRT Magnus entry steered by Andy Lally, Spencer Pumpelly, Marco Mapelli and John Potter.
The WRT Speedstar Audi Sport R8 LMS of Mirko Bortolotti, Rolf Ineichen, Daniel Morad and Dries Vanthoor clinched the last step on the podium, ahead of the Porsche 911 GT3 Rs of Wright Motorsports and Black Swan Racing, and the Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.
|1||DPi||10||Kamui Kobayashi||Cadillac DPi||833|
|2||DPi||77||Olivier Pla||Mazda DPi||833||1'05.426||1'05.426|
|3||DPi||5||Joao Barbosa||Cadillac DPi||833||1'25.585||20.159|
|4||DPi||6||Juan Pablo Montoya||Acura DPi||828||5 Laps||5 Laps|
|5||DPi||85||Tristan Vautier||Cadillac DPi||825||8 Laps||3 Laps|
|6||DPi||55||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Mazda DPi||823||10 Laps||2 Laps|
|7||DPi||31||Felipe Nasr||Cadillac DPi||822||11 Laps||1 Lap|
|8||DPi||7||Alexander Rossi||Acura DPi||811||22 Laps||11 Laps|
|9||LMP2||81||Harrison Newey||ORECA LMP2 07||811||22 Laps||20.655|
|10||LMP2||52||Gabriel Aubry||ORECA LMP2 07||809||24 Laps||2 Laps|
|11||LMP2||18||Nicolas Minassian||ORECA LMP2 07||800||33 Laps||9 Laps|
|12||LMP2||8||Nicolas Lapierre||ORECA LMP2 07||798||35 Laps||2 Laps|
|13||GTLM||24||Jesse Krohn||BMW M8 GTE||786||47 Laps||12 Laps|
|14||GTLM||912||Mathieu Jaminet||Porsche 911 RSR||786||47 Laps||14.010|
|15||GTLM||911||Frédéric Makowiecki||Porsche 911 RSR||786||47 Laps||4.180|
|16||GTLM||3||Nick Catsburg||Corvette C8.R||785||48 Laps||1 Lap|
|17||GTLM||25||Colton Herta||BMW M8 GTE||772||61 Laps||13 Laps|
|18||GTD||48||Andrea Caldarelli||Lamborghini Huracan GT3||765||68 Laps||7 Laps|
|19||GTD||44||Marco Mapelli||Lamborghini Huracan GT3||765||68 Laps||21.908|
|20||GTD||88||Dries Vanthoor||Audi R8 LMS GT3||764||69 Laps||1 Lap|
|21||GTD||16||Klaus Bachler||Porsche 911 GT3 R||764||69 Laps||5.872|
|22||GTD||54||Trenton Estep||Porsche 911 GT3 R||763||70 Laps||1 Lap|
|23||GTD||96||Dillon Machavern||BMW M6 GT3||763||70 Laps||10.137|
|24||GTD||63||Alessandro Balzan||Ferrari 488 GT3||763||70 Laps||18.366|
|25||GTD||57||A.J. Allmendinger||Acura NSX GT3||762||71 Laps||1 Lap|
|26||GTD||14||Kyle Busch||Lexus RC F GT3||757||76 Laps||5 Laps|
|27||LMP2||38||Don Yount||ORECA LMP2 07||756||77 Laps||1 Lap|
|28||GTD||86||Jules Gounon||Acura NSX GT3||747||86 Laps||9 Laps|
|29||GTD||74||Felipe Fraga||Mercedes-AMG GT3||740||93 Laps||7 Laps|
|30||GTLM||62||Davide Rigon||Ferrari 488 GTE||738||95 Laps||2 Laps|
|31||GTD||12||Townsend Bell||Lexus RC F GT3||728||105 Laps||10 Laps|
|32||GTD||9||Patrick Pilet||Porsche 911 GT3 R||716||117 Laps||12 Laps|
|33||GTD||11||Albert Costa||Lamborghini Huracan GT3||633||200 Laps||83 Laps|
|34||GTD||47||Johnathan Hoggard||Lamborghini Huracan GT3||608||225 Laps||25 Laps|
|35||GTD||19||Rahel Frey||Lamborghini Huracan GT3||471||362 Laps||137 Laps|
|36||GTLM||4||Marcel Fassler||Corvette C8.R||461||372 Laps||10 Laps|
|37||GTD||98||Andrew Watson||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||189||644 Laps||272 Laps|
|38||GTD||23||Alex Riberas||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||151||682 Laps||38 Laps|
|View full results|