The third hour of the Rolex 24 At Daytona was interrupted by the first extended yellow of the race when the No. 42 NTE/SSR Lamborghini Huracan had a rear suspension failure and spun into the tire barrier in Turn 1. That set some things into motion that took the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura out of the overall lead, and set up a frantic battle between Colin Braun in the No. 60 and leader Renger van der Zande in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Cadillac as Braun tried to find a way by. Despite Braun’s best efforts, van der Zande led at the end of the hour. Louis Deletraz held third in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura. The No. 25 BMW M Team RLL car remains in the garage.
One of the contenders in LMP3, the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier that led at the second hour, coasted into pit lane with an expired engine. The team took the car back to the garage, but it is likely done. The No. 13 AWA Duqueine in the hands of Matthew Bell now leads the class.
Kenton Koch put the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG back into the GTD lead shortly before the third hour ended, passing Frankie Montecalvo in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 that had been running at the front. Mike Skeen had been knocked out of the lead in the No. 32 during the second hour.
Cetilar Racing, which won the Twelve Hours of Sebring last year, has retired the No. 47 Ferrari 296 GT3 due to broken floor mountings, the first official retirement of the race.
GTP: Renger van der Zande, No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-LMDh
LMP2: Scott Huffaker, No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA
LMP3: Matthew Bell, No. 13 AWA Duqueine
GTD PRO: Jordan Taylor, No. 3 Corvette
GTD: Kenton Koch, No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3
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The weather for the start of the 61st Rolex 24 At Daytona was cool and breezy, the temperatures in the mid-60s. Overnight temperatures are expected to stay around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and Sunday will see mid-70s at the finish, with no chance of rain. That’s a far cry from last year’s race, when overnight temperatures hovered around freezing.
Kyle Marcelli, GTD No. 93 Racers Edge with WTR Acura NSX GT3 Evo 2: “I think the first word to describe it is busy. It’s a lot of cars out there. The intensity is high, it sort of felt that way all through practice and even the Roar testing. Every time we’re on track, the intensity seems to be high, nobody’s giving anybody an inch. And then the pace is flat out, nobody’s holding back. The aggression is high and pace is quick. And it’s a busy racetrack.”
Tom Blomqvist, GTP No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura ARX-06: “That’s the longest time I’ve been in the car since we got it. So I think that kind of says a lot in a way. We’re just kind of driving into the unknown now. And, you know, we’ve done everything we can. We know our car is a good car. It’s a strong, fast car, which is obviously very promising to start this new GTP era. But there’s so much that we’re … it’s weird to say, but it almost feels like we’re we’re kind of winging it a little bit, because there’s so many things that we just need to understand that we haven’t been through. For example, putting so much mileage on on the tires. It’s just a constant learning curve. So even for me as a driver, having to change the tools that I have available that can influence the balance, all those little things. It’s just it’s a constant learning curve, and not only for me but for the team.
Alex Lynn, GTP No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-LMDh: “That was the first time we did 70 laps on the tires. I think we found the edge. So I think the last 10 laps certainly of my stint I was a bit hanging on; the car was pretty nervous. But again, because the out laps are so bad, we’re now trying to see like how far we can push these tires because we all lose like 20 seconds on an out lap. So come the end of the race. I don’t believe it will be the right thing to do to just just start singling sets of tires if the race goes green, so now is the time we need to learn what can we do on our car. It seems we can double or even triple the tires more than any other brand. but I think we found the limit on our side.”