Halfway through the second edition of the California 8 Hours Mercedes-AMG is still leading the race. However, different tactics by Bentley Team M-Sport meant that the No. 8 Continental GT3 led a large part of the second quarter of the race.
The No. 8 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental GT3 took an early second pit stop under one of the safety car interventions, which resulted in the lead of the race when the other cars took their second visit to pit lane. At a certain point, Andy Soucek had almost half a minute in hand.
At the three hour-mark an incident in the Corkscrew caused a lengthy safety car when the No. 99 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai – back in the race after earlier suspension problems – hit the No. 87 Vital Speed Motorsports Ferrari, which had spun in the middle of the famous corner. Other drivers were fortunate not to be involved, barely avoiding hitting the stranded cars.
Once the race was green-flagged again, Vincent Abril in the No. 8 Bentley managed to create a gap toward the No. 43 Strakka Racing Mercedes-AMG with Maxi Götz at the wheel. However, the German only needed a couple of laps to get under the rear wing of the Bentley again, taking the lead when the Bentley did its driver change.
In the title battle everything seems to go to Mercedes-AMG’s way, with Raffaele Marciello being the first of the contenders, from Tristan Vautier, Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase. In the manufacturers’ standings the Three-Pointed Star leads the virtual points’ standings as well.
In the fight for the Bronze Drivers’ title, Nick Leventis’ Mercedes-AMG (also leading Pro-Am) has a quarter of a minute advantage over the Black Swan Racing of Tim Pappas, while the No. 75 Mercedes-AMG of Kenny Habul is back in the race after the earlier contact, albeit 84 laps down.
In GT4 the leading No. 51 Panoz suffered from an engine misfire, handing the class lead to the No. 66 TRG Porsche Cayman. The car holds a slender lead over the No. 2 GMG Racing Audi and the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta, which has been at the front of the class since the start of the race.