The 10th hour of the Rolex 24 At Daytona opened with Tom Blomqvist making an aggressive charge to the front in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura ARX-06, and ended with Colin Braun heading the same direction.
“We’ve got a great car,” said Blomqvist. “You have got to manage so much, I wanted to get in some clean air to manage things better. I think the (other cars) were on older tires so it made it a little bit easier.”
The MSR crew brought the No. 60 into the pits and put Braun on the car right after Andrew Davis pulled the GTD No. 92 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 911 GT3 R off track with an apparent expired engine and before the sixth full-course caution was called. The team came in again with everyone else when the pits opened, exiting in third. Braun immediately moved into second behind Jack Aitken in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac after the restart. Mathieu Jaminet was third in the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsports 963.
Ricky Taylor had to serve a drive-through penalty for pit equipment still being connected as the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura left the pit box and went a lap down, but thanks to the wave-around during the yellow, got back on the lead lap. The No. 24 BMW, Augusto Farfus at the wheel, also benefitted, and all seven GTP cars that haven’t experienced major problems are now back on the lead lap.
The LMP3 battle was red hot after the restart between Nico Pino in the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier and Nico Varrone in the No. 17 AWA Duqueine. Pino holding the lead as the race clock ticked over.
Philip Ellis had the No. 57 Winward Racing at the front for the first time after starting at the back prior to the caution. But Inception Racing was off sequence, and Frederik Schandorff cycled to the front in the No. 70 McLaren 720s to take the GTD lead during the caution. Kenton Koch is back in the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes AMG and was pursuing Schandorff, but had the leading GTD PRO cars of Jordan Taylor (No. 3 Corvette) and Alex Riberas (No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage) in between him and the leader, with Nicki Thiim in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin behind.
Class leaders after the 10th hour:
GTP: Jack Aitken, No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac V-LMDh
LMP2: Nicolas Lapierre, No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA
LMP3: Nico Pino, No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier
GTD PRO: Jordan Taylor, No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette
GTD: Frederik Schandorff, No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S
Notes and quotes:
Meyer Shank Racing team principal Mike Shank, during a press conference with all the GTP owners on Saturday morning, including Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi and Bobby Rahal: “First of all, me sitting on the stage is out of world, out of body. These are the folks that I grew up watching, idolizing and run the team very much how they run their team. So me, Jim Meyer, who’s a giant part of my life and a great friend, we’re kind of out of place here. We’re still earning our respect. We’re still working to be better every day.
“This car has been soul-sucking. It’s been a lot of work for all the guys that worked super hard. Acura, HPD and Honda…now I’m on my ninth season with them overall, and I just feel lucky and fortunate, and I’m willing to work my (butt) off to make sure it works for everyone.”