Wayne Taylor Racing’s lead, which Kamui Kobayashi gave the team in the third hour, didn’t last long. Mazda’s Tristan Nunez, on fresher tires after the fifth stops of the race, blasted past Kobayashi on the banking to give the No. 77 the lead once again. The WTR Cadillac then received a drive-through penalty for speeding in pit lane that added insult to injury.
But the order would shuffle further after that as the No. 55 Mazda and No. 7 Acura came together at the Bus Stop battling for fourth place. Harry Tincknell dived up the inside of Helio Castroneves and tagged him, which sent the ARX-05 into the barriers.
This forced the Acura into the pits for repairs, the team revealing that the radiator sustained significant damage from the impact. As a result, the No. 55 Mazda was handed a drive-through.
Remarkably, both continued and there was no caution period called…
That incident shook up the order: The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing and No. 5 JDC Miller Cadillacs are now further up the timing screens, in third and fourth respectively. Up front, the No. 6 Acura leads but is due to pit at the start of the next hour which should give the lead back to the No. 77 Mazda.
The No. 55 Mazda, meanwhile, sits sixth, with the No. 7 Acura a distant last, still in the garage heading into the fifth hour. (The team revealed that the radiator and under tray needed replacing, estimating 30 minutes for repairs.)
LMP2 is still all PR1 up front, though the battle for second between the Starworks and DragonSpeed ORECAs has ebbed and flowed once again. The DragonSpeed example is back ahead of the No. 8, Bronze-graded John Farano not quick enough to keep up with Harrison Newey and, later, Colin Braun.
The GTLM order has had a significant change too, with the No. 24 RLL BMW now up to second place after Chaz Mostert muscled his way past Matt Campbell in the No. 911 Porsche. The lead is still held by the No. 912 Porsche, but the BMW is now very much in with a chance of leading this race, Mostert just 3.5s behind Matthieu Jaminey.
No forgetting the No. 3 Corvette, either: Nicky Catsburg, the team’s new recruit, is aboard and just 25 seconds off the lead. If and when we finally get a caution, this whole race could look very different…
It’s the same in GTD: Pfaff Racing has a comfortable 14s lead with the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini second and the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW third.
Once the sun goes down, will we see some of the chasing pack take the fight to the Porsche? For now, the German marque looks quite comfortable and dominant.