ROLEX 24: Live Race Report

ROLEX 24: Live Race Report

IMSA

ROLEX 24: Live Race Report

Follow this weekend’s 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona, which opens IMSA’s 2016 WeatherTech Sportscar Championship season, as RACER’s reporting team provides regular updates as the event happens.

For all of the links to timing & scoring, IMSA Radio, and the TV broadcast schedule for the race, visit RACER’s Rolex 24 preview & resource guide.

2:42 p.m. ET: Derani wins! Gavin edges teammate Garcia by a half second, a one-two for Corvette; Rast squeaks out a win in the Magnus 44 Audi in GTD, and in PC, Kenton Koch and the No. 85 win by four laps. Congrats to all, and thanks for reading our 5,417-word race report! A regular summary will follow on RACER.COM…

2:40 p.m. ET: White flag… the Corvettes are still battling… Pipo Derani way out in the Tequila Patron Honda Ligier in Prototype; a star in America, at least, is born. Catsburg’s Porsche passes Rast’s Audi which is running on fumes… Gavin leads Corvette teammate Garcia…

2:31 p.m. ET: No. 28 Lambo just passed Rast’s Audi for the GTD lead — Rast didn’t have the fuel to fight for the spot.

2:26 p.m. ET: Less than 15 minutes to go, and the best battle is between the two GTLM Corvettes – they do NOT want to duplicate Lamborghini’s feat of taking each other out while leading.

2:18 p.m. ET: It’s Corvette and Corvette as Antonio Garcia gets around Earl Bamber in the No. 912 Porsche, which is now third, behind the number 4 and 3 Vettes.

2:05 p.m. ET: Gavin does a NASCAR-style bump-and-run on Earl Bamber’s No. 912 GTLM Porsche, taking his Corvette to the lead with just over 30 minutes to go…

2 p.m. ET: Green-flag stops for Nos. 2 and 10, with Max Angelelli taking over for an ailing Jordan Taylor in the 10 car. Derani was out first.

1:53 p.m. ET: Derani and No. 2 is keeping a solid 7-10 second lead over Jordan Taylor. Garcia leads in GTLM in the No. 3 Corvette. Rast leads GTD in his 44 Audi. But no one, save Kenton Koch in the No. 85 PC car, is safe — the 85 has a four lap lead.

1:40 p.m. ET: An hour to go, and the race is Derani’s to lose… something will have to go wrong for the No. 2 to NOT become the third time a P2 car has won since the Grand Am and ALMS merged.

1:33 p.m. ET: It just keeps getting worse for the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche — a collapsing wing swaps downforce for lift and the results are, well, bad. Bamber and the 912 Porsche lead GTLM, and Rene Rast and the No. 44 Magnus Audi lead GTD.

12:57 p.m. ET: Derani ran down Ricky Taylor and passed him for the lead like he is in a different class. Amazing.

12:51 p.m.: Many of the GTD competitors are chapped at the speed of the new Lamborghinis, and one is leading now — No. 28. Its fastest lap is 1:46.424 — no other brand has come close to the 1:46s. That said, it was just passed by Damien Faulkner in a Viper…

12:48 p.m. ET: Did we say Derani was 15 seconds behind Taylor? Make that five seconds.

12:40 p.m. ET: Ricky Taylor leads, but Derani is in second, 14 seconds back, and he’s coming. This 22-year-old kid is the real deal. The No. 912 Porsche leads GTLM, and the 540 Porsche leads GTD with Patrick Long and Andy Pilgrim on the team — a couple of veterans who have something to prove.

12:30 p.m. ET: The number 2 pits under green from third… it’s a quick one and they put Derani back in teh car, who has been blisteringly fast all race long, easily the star of the show. Can he take the P2 car to the front?

12:05 p.m. ET: Green flag falls; about two hours, 30 minutes to go… No. 10 still out front.

11:48 a.m. ET: Just under three hours to go, and Ricky Taylor is leading in the No. 10 family Corvette; Mike Rockenfeller is leading GTLM in the No. 3 Corvette; Eric Foss tops GTD in the No. 93 Viper, and in PC, it’s still No. 85 by five laps. CRASH! Kyle Larson in the No. 2 Ganassi star car DP hits the tire wall… he was in sixth but seven laps down. Full course yeller.

11:45 a.m. ET: Green flags stops go well for leaders, except for Van Overbeek in the No. 2 — speeding on pit lane. Penalties at this point can be a disaster.

11:11 a.m. ET: Another big blow–the race-leading No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP drives straight to the garage with suspected driveline issues.

11:00 a.m. ET: A big blow to the GTLM battle as the No. 4 Corvette receives a stop+60-second hold for ignoring the red light exiting pit lane.

10:57 a.m. ET: Green, with Filipe Albuquerque leading the field in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP.

10:39 a.m. ET: Yellow flag. The No. 67 Ford GT is stopped on course.

10:20 a.m. ET: The separation in fastest race laps from the new all-GT3-spec GTD class (1:45.473) and GTLM (1:44.391) is remarkably narrow (+1.082 seconds). Compare that to 2015 where the best GTD race lap (1:46.994) was much slower than GTLM (1:43.942) with a sizeable deficit (+3.053 seconds).

10 a.m. ET: GTD leader Shane van Gisbergen put 11 seconds between himself and Marco Seefried in 20 minutes, then pitted. Overall leader Pipo Derani also pits the No. 2 Ligier-Honda.

9:55 a.m. ET: The problem with the No. 72 GTLM Ferrari 488 has been traced to a turbocharger.

9:40 a.m. ET: Shane van Gisbergen takes the GTD lead from Marco Seefried.

9:32 a.m. ET: Patrick Lindsey navigates the infield’s cars and fans with the Park Place GTD Porsche as he searches for the garages. It’s a painfully slow effort on the Californian’s part.

9:30 a.m. ET: The Tequila Patron ESM Ligier JS P2-Honda is leaving the field in the dust. Pipo Derani has a 20.6-second lead over Max Angelleli’s WTR Corvette DP. Tommy Milner holds 10 seconds over his Corvette Racing teammate Mike Rockenfeller in GTLM. Marco Seefried leads GTD with the Magnus Racing Audi R8 GT3 LMS, holding Alex Job Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen at bay, and JDC/Miller’s Chris Miller continues to hold their seven-lap gap over the defending race-winning PR1/Mathisen PC.

9:26 a.m. ET: The class-leading JDC/Miller PC entry is in the pits to have a front toe link replaced. With seven laps in hand over the second-place PC, the long stop isn’t an issue.

9:25 a.m. ET: The No. 01 Ganassi Ford DP comes in for temperature-related issues, loses laps.

9:23 a.m. ET: The third-place No. 911 GTLM Porsche 911 RSR is slow on the apron with smoke trailing from the lef-rear corner. Appears to be a drifeline issue.

8:45 a.m. ET: The No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP goes straight to the garage with possible gearbox issues.

8:33 a.m. ET: Green. Amazing battles for the overall lead in Prototype and in GTLM.

8:15 a.m. ET: Yellow for the stalled Krohn/Flying Lizard Audi R8, which is towed back to the pits.

8 a.m. ET: Kevin Estre spells Nick Tandy in the 911 911, and is leading GTLM… Andy Lally leads GTD in the Magnus 44 Porsche…

7:48 a.m. ET: Jordan Taylor, sick with a virus, is well enough to lead in the family-owned No. 10 Corvette DP… GTD class leader Patrick Long in the 540 Porsche pits from the lead… Magnussen and the No. 3 Corvette leads GTLM…

7:41 a.m. ET: The ailing Jordan Taylor jumps into the No. 10 to relieve brother Ricky from the overall lead… Ryan Hunter Reay now leads in the No. 90 Corvette DP…

7:38 a.m. ET: Nick Tandy in the 911 911 Porsche leads GTLM again, ahead of Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette…

7:33 a.m. ET: 73 GTD Porsche slow on the track… Pat Long in the 540 Porsche leads GTD after a steady night…

7:29 a.m. ET: Andy Lally in for Rene Rast in the class-leading No. 44 Magnus Audi. No. 48 Lambo GTD car slow on the track… Number 98 Aston leading GTD now…


7:05 a.m. ET: Ricky Taylor takes the No. 10 family Corvette to the lead. It’s sunrise.

6:58 a.m. ET: Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 90 Corvette DP leads the field to the green flag; Nick Tandy in the 911 911 leads the GTLM class; Rast in the 44 Audi leads GTD, and the No. 85, now driven by Misha Goikhberg leads PC. Gavin in the Corvette moves by Tandy…

6:42 a.m. ET: Eight hours left, and Fittipaldi and No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP leads; Gavin in the No. 4 Corvette is ahead in GTLM, Kenton Koch in the No. 85 leads PC, and Rene Rast is  back out front in the No. 44 GTD Audi. The 67 Ford GT is stopped on the track… Stefan Mucke is driving. Yellow flag number 18.

6:34 a.m. ET: No. 73 GTD Porsche of Patrick Lindsey is slow on the track… Maxime Martin in the No. 97 BMW is leading GTD… Lindsey made it to the pits but the car is sick…

6:29 a.m. ET: New leader in GTD; Richie Stanaway in the No. 98 Aston. The 33 Viper spins with Ben Keating driving, back underway…

6:21 a.m. ET: Green flag stops for the top three cars, all Prototypes: Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Action Express car is now leading.

6:15 a.m. ET: Rene Rast in the No. 44 Audi GTD is leading the class for Magnus Racing; the No. 02 Ganassi DP is behind the wall, in the garage area.

6:09 a.m. ET: Koch and the 85 PC are back out, and their lead has dwindled to “just” 9 laps over Don Yount in the No. 26.

5:46 a.m. ET: Barbosa back in front in No. 5 car, just ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 90 and Brendan Hartley in the No. 01… sister car No. 02 up to seventh, 4 laps down.

5:42 a.m. ET: Kenton Koch crashes the No. 85 PC car with a 20-lap lead! Limping back to the pits, front damage and rear sparks… but plenty of time to work on it…

5:33 a.m. ET: 31 is on fire in the pit lane! Dane Cameron bails out; even though there was fire in the cockpit he climbs back in… a near disaster for a car that has contended. And make of this what you will: Kenton Koch in the No. 85 PC car is 19 LAPS ahead of second place. No, wait, sorry… 20 laps. 

5:16 a.m. ET: Goosens back in front in the 90, and McMurry out of the GT Daytona lead after serving a penalty for an improper wave-by action. Or something. Leh Keen is on the GTD lead in the No. 22 Alex Job car. Ollie Gavin is leading GT Le Mans in his Corvette.

5:08 a.m. ET: Among those cars formally, or practically, out: Both Mazda Prototypes; the number 60 Shank Prototype; the No. 37 Russian Prototype team that sat on the pole; PC cars 38, 88 and 54; the DeltaWing Prototype, the No. 16 Lamborghini, and several others. The Ford GTs are in 38th (No. 66) and 32nd (No. 67), logging some quick laps.

4:57 a.m. ET: Cameron in the No. 31 Vette DP back in the lead. Bill Auberlen in the No. 25 Rahal BMW leads GTLM; Kenton Koch in the No. 85 PC is driving a great race and leading the class, and Matt McMurry leads GTD in the No. 73 Porsche.

4:46 a.m. ET: New front brakes on the 911 and 912 GTLM Porsches during the caution. They had been in first and second. Green flag — Goosens in the No. 90 DP Vette in the lead.

4:39 a.m. ET: 10 hours to go and still another yellow: The Aston of Antonio Perez crashed with the No. 21 Lambo of Emanuele Busnelli hard into the tire wall… of the five Lamborghinis, only the No. 11 is still competitive, and it’s in 11th place in the 22-car class.

4:20 a.m. ET: No. 20 PC car, running in second, limps to the garage with a mechanical issue. Ricardo Vera was driving.

4:19 a.m. ET: Turn on, tune in: In the U.S., the Rolex 24 At Daytona broadcast continues into Sunday, Jan. 31, on IMSA.com (live video streaming and commentary) until 7:00 a.m. EST. Then from 10:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. on FOX Sports 2. The Rolex 24 At Daytona is also available on the FOX Sports GO mobile app.


4:15 a.m. ET: Valvetrain issues are what put the No. 55 Mazda out for good.

4:09 a.m. ET: The No. 90 Visit Florida Corvette DP leads with Marc Goossens; second is the No. 01 Ganassi DP with Lance Stroll driving. Oops: No. 90 just came to the pits. Dane Cameron in the No. 31 is leading.

4:01 a.m. ET: Lambo driver Bryce Miller had some harsh words for Justin Marks, who crashed his No. 16 GTD Lambo into Miller’s No. 48 car:  “It’s a real shame and it’s really unnecessary that our contention for this race is done at the halfway point. The other car really rammed into us; it wasn’t contact that you could attempt to recover from. I was committed to a full braking zone, pulling downshifts and setting up for turn one, and he came from a distance back and did a banzai maneuver. The contact he made with the left-rear corner was really significant, enough to completely spin the car down the inside pit wall. It really chewed the car up and we lost a lot of time in the garage. I feel really disheartened, I feel bad for the team and my co-drivers. This is going to be a really hard one to get over, knowing that we had such a good car.”

3:53 a.m. ET: So said Scott Pruett of his last stint in the No. 5 Corvette DP: “There were two very exciting moments. The first lap I was in the car, a PC car coming out of the Bus Stop spun right in front of me. I barely missed him. Then the 60 blew up and put oil all over the track. The 31 went off, and I followed him; he went big off and I went a little off, and unfortunately filled up the radiator so we had to come in. But no harm, no foul. We got the No. 5 Corvette DP back in the lead and led quite a few laps. The guys did a great job. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing.”

3:47 a.m. ET: A bright spot in the Ford GT debut, maybe: The number 67, with a time of 1:44.391, is the fastest GT Le Mans lap of the first 13 hours or so. Could be bad if it gets the attention of the Balance of Performance Supreme Court justices.

3:35 a.m. ET: Back to green, lap 376. Number 3 Corvette with Garcia spins, continues; it had some help. Pagenaud still leads. 

3:29 a.m. ET: Really? Another caution? Yeh, the 37 PC car stops on the track, Nick Minassian in the car. Towed to the pits.

3:23 a.m. ET: Green flag. Pagenaud passes Action Express sister car with Barbosa in the car. Stroll in the 01 in third. Kevin Estre in the 911 911 leads GTLM.

3:10 a.m. ET: Full course yellow. debris. Man, lots of cautions. It’s the BMW 100, heads to the garage on the rollback, Lucas Luhr in the car.

2:54 a.m. ET: Pruett out of the No. 5 car in routine green flag pit stop, Barbosa in. Sister car 31 keeps Pagenaud in the car. Angelelli in the lead in 10, followed by Dalziel in the 90.

2:36 a.m. ET: Derani puts the Extreme Speed car in the lead. Then Pruett, then Pagenaud. Pier Guidi leads GTLM in his Ferrari. Boulle leads in the 52 PC car, and Riberas out front in GTD in the 23 Porsche.

2:33 a.m. ET: Green, green, green. Pruett leads in 5, Derani, in 2, threatens.

2:28 a.m. ET: 50 gets it started, pits, then back on the track.

2:18 a.m. ET: The No. 50 Highway to Help BMW Riley is stopped off the track… Thomas Gruber is driving. Or not driving at the moment. Full caution.

2 a.m. ET: Back to green, Pruett out front, Max right behind. Old school.

1:50 a.m. ET: Marshall P. does the math, notes that the combined age of the two men fighting for the lead is 104 — Scott Pruett and Max Angelelli! No. 55 goes on the rollback. 

1:44 a.m. ET: The remaining Mazda, No. 55, catches on fire, bringing out another caution. Driver Tristan Nunez gets out quickly, appears fine. Could be the end for the brand’s race? The No. 70 was one of the first cars out and is in  last place.

1:23 a.m. ET: The new Ferrari 488 GTLM car is too slow, says Giancarlo Fisichella: “My stint was quite difficult. We are a slower car on the straights and I think there is something not correct about the BoP (Balance of Performance). Other people are much quicker than us, especially on the exit of the corners and it is impossible to catch them. The car is okay but it is just the BoP is just not great yet.” His No. 62 is sixth in class. Best lap of class leader Nick Tandy’s Porsche is 1:44.927, best lap of the No. 62 is 1:45.102.

1:15 a.m. ET: Back to green! Max the Axe leads in the No. 10 Taylor Corvette DP, Scott Pruett in the No. 5 second as they complete 300 laps.

1:08 a.m. ET: He said it: No. 01 Ganassi Ford DP driver Brendon Hartley… “This is my fourth time at Daytona, so I’m always happy to be here. It’s taken some adjusting from the car I’m used to, the Porsche 919 (prototype, FIA World Endurance Championship). It’s a bit of an adjustment, but I really, really enjoy it out there and the racing is so tough and the drivers are incredible. It’s a race that I’d love to come back and race every year. It’s gone pretty well. The car is feeling very, very strong. I might be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure we’re one of the quickest Daytona Prototypes out there. There’s a long, long way to go, but it’s all going according to plan.”

1:02 a.m. ET: Justin Marks, the other driver involved in this peculiar collision, limps his No. 16 Lambo to the pits, while 48 comes to the garage on the rollback. Lambo takes out Lambo? There may be some sort of calm discussion about that. 16 goes to the garage. The No. 22 Porsche is back in the class lead.

12:56 a.m. ET: Big crash in turn 1, No. 48 Lambo of Bryce Miller was leading the class, got the worst of it, hitting the end of pit wall.

12:53 a.m. ET: The No. 55 Mazda of Tristan Nunez stops just off the track… he gets it refired and rejoins the field, a lap down, losing the lead-lap status they worked so hard to attain. Strange.

12:48 a.m. ET: Two of the three fastest cars are out — only the No. 2 Honda Ligier, the No. 60 Shank Racing Honda Ligier and the DeltaWing have lapped in the 1:39s, and the last two are done. No. 2 is currently seventh after Scott Sharp’s penalty.

12:40 a.m. ET: Ten hours and 11 caution flags into the race, Scott Pruett leads in the No. 5 Corvette DP, which seems weird to write after so many years with the Ganassi car. John Edwards leads in the No. 100 BMW in GTLM; Robert Alon out front in the No. 52 PC, and in GT Daytona, Shane Van Gisbergen leads in the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche.


 

12:37 a.m. ET: Engine failure for the 60… “We’re done,” said Dan Layton, Honda spokesman.

12:35 a.m. ET: Leader Scott Sharp is called to the pits to serve a penalty — a long penalty. He ran the red light at the end of pit lane, IMSA claims.

12:30 a.m. ET: So says the Corvette drivers — MAX ANGELELLI, WAYNE TAYLOR RACING NO. 10 KONICA MINOLTA CORVETTE DP: “The car was very good but I fought all the time because the cars in front of me were slower than I was and I was trying to find a way to overtake them. So it was tough, but I am pleased with the team and pleased with the car. The car is really, really strong and I am looking forward to the race. When you have a car like this, you really enjoy driving it.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Pretty routine start of a 24-hour race. People are finding their way and causing some trouble but all-in-all it was pretty clean in the first triple-stint there. I’m pretty happy with how the Corvette is driving right now and we are quick in our class which is obviously nice, but there is still a long way to go. That is just part one of writing a good story so to speak. So yeah, I am really happy and now we get Marcel in for his laps and get him comfortable and settled in, and then we can kind of push on from there.”

12:27 a.m. ET: Negri and the No. 60 get towed to the garage… another tough disappointment for the plucky team. Back to green… Scott Sharp in the number 2 leads the field.

12:11 p.m. ET: Race leader Ozz Negri pulls off abruptly and parks the No. 85 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2-Honda. The emergency response team is laying down oil dry…

11:59 p.m. ET: Green once more.

11:54 p.m. ET: Yellow for Ryan Eversley’s spun No. 26 BAR1 PC.

11:48 p.m. ET: Green flag.

11:28 p.m. ET: Yellow for Kenton Koch’s No. 85 JDC/Miller PC, which is stopped on track.

11:20 p.m. ET: RACER spoke with Tony Kanaan about the source of the car problems with the No. 02 Ganassi Ford EcoBoost DP: “We lost the rear brakes all of a sudden. I couldn’t feel anything wrong until I got to Turn 1, then the pedal went to the floor. In a way I’m glad it happened there because it’s the greatest runoff area whe have. I went all the way to Turn 6. I needed all of it. It’s a shame because we were having a pretty good battle with the Corvette, but we didn’t have anything for the P2 cars.” 

11:05 p.m. ET: The defending overall winners have pulled into the garage. Tony Kanaan, after 3.5 hours in the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost DP, completed a slow lap and limped behind the wall.

10:53 p.m. ET: Green flag and Negri bogs down as DPs overwhelm the P2. 

10:45 p.m. ET: Yellow once more.

10:34 p.m. ET: Green again with Ozz Negri in the Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2-Honda leading.

10:17 p.m. ET: Yellow flag for the No. 33 GTD Dodge Viper, which is off at the Bus Stop.

9:20 p.m. ET: Seen, heard, smelled on the pit and garage walk: The No. 70 Mazda Prototype is out because of a broken flywheel. Really? Who breaks a flywheel? Mazda Racing guru John Doonan just shrugged… Ben Keating, owner and driver of the two GTD Vipers, thinks that “a Lamborghini will win the GTD class unless they all break,”  he said. “They are that fast.” One of the fastest, the No. 11 Huracan of Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell, did break — a complete dashboard blackout that prohibited some important activities, such as shifting… Did anyone anticipate just how miserable the first six hours were for the Ford GTs? … On opposite sides of the garage, big crowds were watching repair activities on the DeltaWing and the No. 8 Starworks PC car it crashed into. The Wing was a genuine contender, and had it won, the reaction from the crowd and even the other competitors would be fascinating. Some feel it has worn out its welcome, others think it’s a valuable asset to the IMSA WeatherTech series…

9:04 p.m. ET:  The PC class is in bad shape. Just over six hours into the race, the No. 52 is leading, and two laps up on the next PC car. Only 4 PC cars are in contention; the other 4 PCs are either out or more than 10 laps down. In contrast, the GTD class has 13 cars on the lead lap. Impressive.

8:47 p.m. ET: Green flag. The rapid No. 55 Mazda P2 lost 3 laps during the yellow while stranded on pit lane tracing the reason for its refusal to fire. Spencer Pigot pulls away moments before the race resumes.


 

8:32 p.m. ET: The pole-sitting SMP Racing BR01-Nissan P2 is pushed behind the wall.

8:29 p.m. ET: Contact and spin by Don Yount in the No. 26 PC–clashed with the No. 911 GTLM Porsche. Stalled car requires a yellow.

8:15 p.m. ET: CORE confirms its day is done–blown motor.

8:00 p.m. ET: 5-time PC champs CORE autosport is in with oil spilling from the engine bay. Looks bad.

7:59 p.m. ET: Another cut tire for the No. 67 Ford GT. Michelin reports the team traced the second right-rear puncture in such short order was caused by a dislodged diffuser contacting the tire.

7:52 p.m. ET: Green flag after IMSA swept the track during the caution. The No. 33 GTD Dodge Viper receives a penalty for running the light leaving pit lane.

7:37 p.m. ET: Yellow flag for the spun No. 38 Performance Tech PC, which rotated under braking on entry to the Bus Stop.

7:35 p.m. ET: Right-rear tire puncture for the no. 67 Ford GT. Stefan Mucke pits for a replacement.

7:23 p.m. ET: Steady rotation of pit stops under way.

6:46 pm ET: A Mazda is first and last in the 54-car field. Talk about the ecstacy and agony of racing. The two Corvettes lead GTLM (and are ahead of the No. 52 PC car, which is leading the class), and Bryan Sellars is ahead in GTD in his Lambo. Sellars logged a lap faster than the No. 11 Lambo, which spent a long time in the garage with an electrical issue. That car is 24 laps down with Bill Sweedler driving…. Oops, Mazda back to second, Olivier Pla in the Shank No. 60 out front…

6:40 pm ET: Both Cumming and Meyrick were treated and released from the track medical center, but “Cumming has not been cleared to resume regular racing activities,” IMSA says. Green flag falls at 6:39: Jonathan Bomarito is out front in the surviving Mazda Prototype!

6:20 pm ET: Dane Cameron of the No. 31 DP Corvette in the house: Led for a while during his 3.5-hour opening stint, “The car feels good, but I think we’re lacking a little pace.” The rainy test session made them rely on the Roar’s setup info which is moderately accurate, he said. “I think our car will only get better from here.” Jonny Adam is in the car now, in second, 16 seconds behind McMurray. CRASH!!! DeltaWing slams into a spun car, the nose was knocked off. The spinner was the number 8 PC car with Chris Cumming driving. Both cars will be taken to the garage on a wrecker. And thus ends the DeltaWing’s best day ever, with a crash that you’d think a spotter might have warned Meyrick about as several others missed Cumming…. Full course yellow, of course…

6:15 pm ET: Drive-through penalty for spinning the rear tires while the car was jup on jacks for the Deltawing and Andy Meyrick — man, the car looks loose. Hey, Briscoe and Hand from Ford GT 66 and 67 team… Briscoe: gearbox got stuck in 6th on 67, had to take to garage, fixed car, lost 14 laps. Running well now, Ryan says. Just trying to get some laps. Pretty awesome taking the green flag for the first time, Hand says of the 66, had to feel the car out. Took it real easy, capitalize on mistakes.. Balance of car is good, similar to what weve had, no real issues in handling. Goal to try to log laps… Happy to be the first to lead a lap, but sitting in garage now stuck in first gear. Before, stray wheel knocked off a brake line, went out, engine went into limp mode, and suddenly the car took off… You just never know, Hand said, “we did log a lot of miles and we didn’t have a lot of problems,” but racing is different from testing. “We’ve got to get a 24 under our belt,” he said. Joey recalls no problems with gearbox in testing… it is not the same trans as the one in the Ganassi Ford DP, but it is a proven unit. Now, goal is to get some laps, “and move on to the 12 Hours of Sebring,” Hand said. Meanwhile, Jamie Mac is out front in the Ganassi 02 DP car…

5:47 pm ET: Long day already for the Ford GT teams… the 66 is in the garage, looks like electrical issues… it’s in 51st, the sister car is in 50th, in a 54-car field. Another surprise: The Lambo of Townsend Bell has been sick, and is now in 52nd, 23 laps down. Overall, Dane Cameron is out front in the No. 31 Corvette, an Action Express car…


 

5:30 pm ET: “Luck, attrition, the normal stuff…” That’s what Katherine Legge in the DeltaWing is worried about. Still, the car is “a great race car… if anybody should be at ease it would be me,” she said, after all her development work. The balky gearbox from last year? “Everything is custom built, made it heavier and stronger, a little ambitious with it at first…” No gearbox would fit, or work, so they had to go the custom route… they even tried an IndyCar trans and it was no go. The car is difficult to launch, she says, you have to  baby the clutch and pump it, but they can’t adjust it now. It could be an issue later… The car is slower in the Bus Stop, because others can use the curbing, but the lighter, delicate DW can’t…

5:20 pm ET: Back after a quick pit walk.. should be a chilly night as the sun goes down. Some looong green flag pits stops… the DeltaWing had a long driver change with Andy Meyrick stepping in… problems with the rear of the number 2 Honda… Jamie Mac out front in the Ganassi 02 star car, Simpson still in and leading in PC, Tommy Milner out front in GTLM Corvette, and Bryce Miller back out front in his Lambo in GTD… Eversely and the No. 26 PC car behind the wall… 70 Mazda P2 still behind the wall, apparently retired and in last place…

4:30 p.m. ET: Jeroen Bleekemolen of the No. 33 GTD Viper stops by: How’s the track conditions? “Pretty normal,” he says, comparable to the Roar. Green flag, BTW… No. 5 is off and hits the tire wall! Light hit for Barbosa, and he is back out… then Pew in the 60 taps No. 2 of Van Overbeek, no serious damage but the 2 spins… three fast cars suddenly have issues. As for Bleekemoen, “hard racing out there,” he says. Car lacks straightaway speed. 

4:25 pm ET: Dixon in the 02 Ganassi DP listed in the lead… Legge has trouble getting the DeltaWing going after her stop… Hand and the balky 66 Ford GT back underway, definitely not the debut the Ford GTs were hoping for.

4:14 pm ET: Hand and the 66 Ford GT stops on track, goes, stops again… full course yellow, the second. Electrical?

4:05 pm ET: Derani back out front, 16 seconds over Legge. No. 66 Ford GT in the pits, brake line issue. Kevin Estre now in the 911 911, leading GTLM. Townsend Bell out  front in GTD in his new Lambo. 

3:57 pm ET: Wow, 25 second lead for Legge and DeltaWing before she comes to the pits. Kimber-Smith takes over PC class.

3:45 pm ET: After an hour, the DeltaWing continues to lead; Aleshin has dropped to 10th in the Nissan. Simpson is still ahead in PC, Tandy tops GLTM in his Porsche, and Bryce Miller’s Lambo leads GTD.

3:35 pm ET: Legge takes the lead when Derani pitted with a six-second lead. The No. 67 Ford GT is back on track, 17 laps down.

3:30 pm ET: Bruni in the 72 Ferrari passes Hand for second… Why is the Ferrari painted just like the Ford GT’s? Odd. Ford is wondering too, said one executive. The 70 Mazda and the 67 Ford GT have dropped to 53rd and 54th respectively, which is last and next to last.

3:21 pm ET: Here comes Kat! Katharine Legge up to third in the DeltaWing… only the top three cars have broken into the 1:39s… Joey Hand’s best lap in the Ford GT is actually faster than leader Tandy’s Porsche. Legge up to second…

3:10 pm ET: The 67 Ford GT goes behind the wall. Green flag three minutes later — man, Derani just takes off. Several cars get stop-and-go penalties for pit violations. Hand in the other Ford GT going for second…

3:01 pm ET: Full course caution for No. 70 Mazda Prototype, stopped in turn 4 with a loss of oil pressure. Bad start for the new gas-powered engine.

2:57 pm ET: Something is wrong with Briscoe’s No. 67 Ford GT, slows on track and pits. Car is stuck in sixth gear. It’s an electrical issue.

2:55 pm ET: The top nine GTLM cars are all lapping a 1:45 and change. Nice parity. Derani and Negri’s best laps are two seconds quicker than everyboy else. 

2:45 pm ET: Where are the Ford GTs? Eighth and 10th in the 11-car field. Derani leads Proto, 85 car with Simpson tops PC, Tandy in the 911 911 (I love writing that) Porsche ahead in GTLM, and Basseng in the number 28 Lambo leads GTD — nice debut for the brand.

2:38 pm ET: Green flag next time by… perfect weather, clear, cool, slight breeze… two P2s on the front row as Aleshin brings them to green… wow, Aleshin drops to third behind Berani and Negri, then gets second place back… will this be a P2 year?

2:24 pm ET: Hard to type standing up, but we are for Melissa Trumble’s national anthem — getting close to the green flag. Marshall is on the grid shooting pictures, and we’re here at the keyboard on site bringing you the latest. Stick with us…

1:10 p.m. ET: Start of the race is 90 minutes away (2:40). Catch up on all of the pre-race developments and a few driver interviews with RACER’s Raceday Notebook.

 

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