Rolex 24 Hour 2: Cadillacs to the fore

Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Rolex 24 Hour 2: Cadillacs to the fore


Rolex 24 Hour 2: Cadillacs to the fore


After two hours in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Cadillac holds down the top four places, with Renger van der Zande in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing DPi-V.R leading Felipe Nasr in the No. 31, Simon Pagenaud in the No. 48, and Loic Duval in the No. 5.

In LMP2, class leader Antonio Fuoco’s No. 47 Cetilar Dallara is followed by the ORECAs of Eric Lux (No. 82) and Ben Keating (No. 52).

Tommy Milner leads GTLM in the No. 4 Corvette, chased by James Calado in the No. 62 Ferrari and John Edwards in the No. 24 BMW, while Aaron Telitz continues to pace GTD in the No. 14 Lexus, followed by Jan Heylen in the No. 16 Porsche and Misha Goikhberg in the No. 19 Lamborghini.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson turned the No. 48 Action Express Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R over to IndyCar star Simon Pagenaud with the car in second place midway through the second hour of competition.

“What a car, and what an opportunity,” Johnson said. “I certainly didn’t want to break the toy during the first couple of hours, so I was a little bit more conservative than I needed to be. We got that caution just right.”

Johnson: “What a car, and what an opportunity!” Motorsport Images

Stepping away from stock cars, Johnson will tackle IndyCar this year, and found the DPi the perfect step in the transition.

“This is the closest car I can drive in the U.S. to an IndyCar,” said Johnson, who last raced in the Rolex 24 in 2011, back in the era of the Daytona Prototypes.

“The braking is much better now than the car I drove 10 years ago,” Johnson said of the DPi Cadillac. “Speeds are up, but the brakes are a huge difference. The last car I drove here had steel brakes; this car has carbon fiber, plus the shape of the body is much different, which does provide more downforce. The car does move around in the corner, and you do lack grip and have to fight the car to drive it. That’s much more in line with my NASCAR days. I’m finding in IndyCar that the window to slide things around is so narrow!”

Leading in GT Daytona moments before the 1-hour mark, problems for the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 sent the car to the back of the pack, two laps down. At the end of the hour, the car was still 19th, but gained a lap due to the cautions.

Moments later, Rob Hodes went straight into the wall in Turn 1 in the No. 81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA LMP2 07-Gibson. Hobes limped back to the pits, losing several laps to replace right-front and splitter damage. Debris from the incident also brought out the second caution of the race, a lengthy 34 minute slowdown.

The race had only gone green for eight minutes when Frits Van Eerd tagged a tire barrier, causing significant left-front damage to the No. 29 Racing Team Nederland ORECA. That brought out the third caution of the race.