The big drama in the second hour of the Motul Petit Le Mans had major GTD championship implications. Madison Snow in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini, which was in good position to claim the title, clipped a spinning LMP3 car, damaging the bodywork and cutting a tire. The crew could not get the left-ear tire off, and took it back to the paddock for repairs. Without any trouble for the No. 9 Pfaff Porsche, the hopes of Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow to claim the championship are dashed.
The overall lead changed at roughly the same time, as Nasr in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac got held up in traffic, allowing Sebastien Bourdais to take advantage and put the No. 5 Mustang Sampling JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac into the lead. Nasr had taken the lead when, 16 minutes after the yellow for Dwight Merriman’s crash ended, a full-course caution came out for debris. A piece of bodywork from the No. 48 Ally Cadillac, which had contact with a GTD car at the apex of Turn 12, was the cause.
During the ensuing pit stops, Kobayashi in the No. 48 brushed the left-front tire changer for Mazda, leading to a slow stop and shuffling the Mazda back to fifth and the No. 31 Cadillac back to the front.
The yellow also led to a big shuffle at the front in GTD. The No. 19 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini driven by Misha Goikhberg stayed out when everyone else pitted, taking the lead. Both Lexuses took fuel only, and their short stops put them in second and third, the No. 14 of Kyle Kirkwood ahead of the No. 12 driven by Frankie Montecalvo. Kirkwood eventually took the lead, followed by the No. 96 Turner BMW, now in the hands of Aidan Read.
Another yellow came out almost immediately as the No. 83 WIN Autosport LMP3 car got tagged from behind by the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 car driven by Ben Keating. The No. 83 was smoking heavily due to a cut tire, and both cars reported to the pits for repairs. Tristan Nunez in the No. 11 WIN Autosport ORECA now leads LMP2.
Class leaders at two hours:
DPi: Sebastien Bourdais, No 5 Mustang Sampling/JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac
LMP2: Tristan Nunez, No. 11 WIN Autosport Oreca
LMP3: Niklas Kruetten, No. 2 United Autosports USA Ligier
GTLM: Nick Tandy, No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette
GTD: Kyle Kirkwood, No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F