Fully into daylight, the 60th Rolex 24 is far from settled in any class. LMP3 seems to be down to two contenders — that could certainly change with five hours left — but every other category is seeing multiple contenders with a shot at victory.
That includes DPi, where Helio Castroneves led for most of the hour in the No. 60 Meyer Shank with Curb-Agajanian Acura, but Mike Conway was fully on the attack in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac before the next round of pit stops starting about 11 minutes before the 20th hour began.
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As the hour ticked over, the top cars had all pitted, with Castroneves handing over to Oliver Jarvis and Conway taking over the lead. Alexander Rossi in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura and Richard Westbrook in the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac remain within striking distance.
The top cars in LMP2 have spread out a bit, with four remaining on the lead lap. The No. 8 Tower Motorsports seems to have the measure of the others for the moment. That LMP3 battle is a close one between the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier and the No 54 CORE Autosport Ligier.
In GTD Pro and GTD, the lead battles now separated by four laps, and are both five-car battles. The No. 2 KCMG Porsche, with Patrick Pilet at the wheel, looks very strong as the team heads into the home stretch of its first Rolex 24. The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche, the No. 15 Proton USA Mercedes-AMG, the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus and the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari are all still in the fight.
The No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R leads GTD, Richard Lietz having taken over from Zacharie Robichon as the hour began just after sunrise.
“It’s interesting to see how the cars are going to change here as the sun comes up,” said Robichon after his stint. “I think perhaps we’re going to have warmer temperatures at the end of the race than we’ve had throughout the whole race. So I think it’s almost like going into an unknown. It’s not like we’re getting the same conditions we had the beginning of the race. Definitely I’m driving differently in that sunrise stint; I can see how the car was already changing, but the car is taking taking the changes and whatever way you have to drive it, it still has some speed. Now we see what happens.”
Leaders after 19 hours:
DPi: Mike Conway, No. 31 Actiona Express Racing Cadillac
LMP2: Louis Deletraz, No. 8 Tower Motorsport ORECA
LMP3: Kay van Berlo, No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier
GTD Pro: Nico Jaminet, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R
GTD: Richard Lietz, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R
News and notes:
• The No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GTD entry went behind the wall and is now eight laps down.