The sun is beginning to rise on the Rolex 24 At Daytona, with the intensity showing no signs of fatigue from the overnight battles.
Although Renger van der Zande opened the 16th hour with the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing DPi out front, it is anything but comfortable. After the eighth full-course caution of the event, the following restart put everyone together in the fight for the lead. Kamui Kobayashi quickly pushed from fourth to second in the No. 48 AXR Cadillac DPi. The 34-year-old Japanese driver made a move for the lead on the inside of van der Zander entering Turn 1, but spun into the run-off part of the track in the attempt and rejoined well behind a handful of his class rivals in fifth.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 champion and reigning IMSA WeatherTech champion Helio Castroneves has the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing DPi sitting second overall, 4s off the lead. Dane Cameron (No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura DPi) and Pipo Derani (No. 31 Whelen Engineering DPi) are 7.5s back in third and fourth respectively.
The most contested battle on track belongs to GTLM, where Connor De Philippi had the No. 25 BMW Team RLL M8 leading for the majority of the hour. However, the Corvette Racing duo of Antonio Garcia (No. 3 Corvette C8.R) and Tommy Milner (No. 4 Corvette C8.R.) were able to split the strategy to cover De Philippi in the pits, which propelled Garcia to the lead. However, Milner got by his teammate moments later to take the top spot. The trio are all now within 0.3s of one another.
James Calado handed off to Davide Rigon, who tags at the end of the trio and runs fourth in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488, 7.5s behind.
— Corvette Racing (@CorvetteRacing) January 31, 2021
Gabriel Aubry has kept the No. 8 Tower Motorsport ORECA out front in LMP2, still maintaining a 1-lap advantage over the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA driven by Paul-Loup Chatin.
Marco Engel (No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes AMG GT3) remains out front in the GTD class, with Simon Mann (No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 nearly 18s back in the runner-up spot. The No. 75 Sun Energy 1 Mercedes AMG GT3 driven by Kenny Habul runs third, 40s off the lead.
Oliver Askew has taken over for Spencer Pigot in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320, which leads the LMP3 class by five laps over the No. 33 Ligier JS P320 of Joao Barbosa.