Hour 9 began with a restart and the entire field bunched up again, leading to changes aplenty in key positions if not for the lead in DPi, GTLM and GTD.
At the head of field, the “status quo” was restored with the pole-winning No. 77 Mazda back in the lead, Oliver Jarvis pulling away from Scott Dixon in the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac during the hour. The No. 31 Action Express example sat third, with the No. 55 Mazda fourth.
LMP2, though, is now led by the No. 81 DragonSpeed ORECA, Ben Hanley pulling away from the PR1 ORECA which had been dominant for almost the entire race. The No. 18 Era Motorsports example is third, but many laps down.
The class has become a battle almost solely between the Nos. 81 and 52 now, as the Starworks ORECA hit trouble. It was worked on and slipped to fifth behind the delayed No. 38 Performance Tech entry.
Driver David Heinermeier Hansson tweeted that the car’s water system is malfunctioning, making the engine cut out. It’s a real disappointment after Peter Baron’s ORECA had at times looked a lock for a podium at the very least. The car is back out, but many laps down; it’s going to be a long night.
Porsche’s No. 912 911 RSR 19 has now taken control of GTLM. Earl Bamber managed to pass Augusto Farfus’ No. 24 BMW for the class lead 20 minutes into the hour, after a long battle that raged for many laps.
Bamber was masterful during his time in the car before handing over to Matthieu Jaminey towards the end of the hour, the Kiwi setting the fastest GTLM lap of the race, a 1m43.060s.
The No. 911 Porsche is third and a handful of seconds behind the No. 24. The two Corvettes continue to sit on the lead lap in fourth and fifth. You wonder at this point who has the additional pace in reserve required to seal this race towards the end…
Down in GTD, Pfaff Motorsports is back in the lead, with the Paul Miller Lamborghini now back down to second. Daniel Morad has vaulted the No. 88 WRT Audi to third. The R8 LMS has had a quiet race so far and looks to be a dark horse at this point, but there are many cars still very much in contention in GTD at this point, with 10 on the lead lap.