After the action in the fifth hour triggered by the race’s only caution, the Rolex 24 settled down again in Hour 7 as the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac retained the overall and DPi class lead.
Renger van der Zande was pushing the pace but the team had a spell running shorter stints, after running longer between stops than most DPis early in the race. The Dutchman — who cited a lack of top speed as the car’s potential weakness after his stint — stayed out for 23 laps before handing over to Scott Dixon.
As the hour ended, though, Oliver Jarvis was climbing back through the field in the No. 77 Team Joest Mazda, rising to second place after slipping to fourth during an earlier driver change.
Mike Conway took over the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac from Filipe Albuquerque, and held down third ahead of Juan-Pablo Montoya who is back in the No. 6 Team Penske Acura.
Behind the still-leading No. 52 PR1 team in LMP2 (photo above), Nicholas Lapierre pulled clear of Harrison Newey as Starworks took hold of second place in the No. 8 car. Driver changes saw Nick Boulle leading the class with David Heinemeier Hansson in the No. 8 and Henrik Hedman returning to the No. 81 Dragonspeed ORECA after a tough opening run.
In GTLM, the No. 24 BMW (now driven by Augusto Farfus) continued to lead the No. 912 Porsche that now has Earl Bamber at the wheel, and had closed to within a second once again. The No. 911 slipped back slightly from the lead pair, with the Corvettes also trying to get back in touch.
Tommy Milner had the fourth-placed No. 4 within 15s of the lead for most of the hour before handing over to Oliver Gavin, while Antonio Garcia took over the No. 3 from Nicky Catsburg after the latter’s incident at Turn 1 in Hour 6. Fortunately for the No. 3 car, the stop was not wildly off plan and it remained on the lead lap.
Lead changes enlivened GTD as the two Lamborghinis were slightly out of sync out front. Marco Mapelli handed over the No. 44 GRT Magnus to Spencer Pumpelly, in a move that promoted the No. 48 Paul Miller Motorsports’ car back into a lead it had taken after the earlier caution. Although Andrea Calderelli relinquished that spot after nearly 15 laps, the No. 48 was within three seconds of the lead on track entering the eighth hour.
Sadly, the No. 98 Aston Martin became the second retirement — and ended Aston’s interest in the race — after the incident with the No.3 Corvette in the previous hour, with Ross Gunn’s pit exit crash highlighting a terminal issue.