Not Wayne Taylor Racing, but Mazda Team Joest went into the beautiful Florida sunset leading the Daytona 24 Hours – Mazda’s early race lead quickly reclaimed. Despite a drive-through penalty before nightfall, WTR kept pushing and reclaimed the lead from Mazda in the early evening as the two teams take turns in the lead.
DAYTONA 24 HOURS | DPI PREVIEW | LMP2 PREVIEW | GTLM PREVIEW | GTD PREVIEW | CORVETTE C8.R TECH ANALYSIS | INTERVIEW NICK CATSBURG | INTERVIEW DENNIS OLSEN | INTERVIEW RENGER VAN DER ZANDE | PRE-RACE NOTEBOOK | RACE UPDATE 1: SATURDAY AFTERNOON | RACE UPDATE 3: SUNDAY NIGHT | RACE UPDATE 4: SUNDAY MORNING | RACE UPDATE 5: SUNDAY FINISH | SATURDAY GALLERY | INTERVIEW KAMUI KOBAYASHI | INTERVIEW JESSE KROHN
After nearly five hours of green-flag racing the first full course yellow came out for an accident on the front straight.
16:51 hours to go | 249 laps complete | 20:49 local time
DPI | #10 KONICA MINOLTA CADILLAC DPI-V.R / SCOTT DIXON
Kamui Kobayashi’s lead was short-lived as Tristan Nunez returned the favour a few minutes later, retaking the lead that the #77 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P had held since the start. That wasn’t the end of it for the #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R as almost simultaneously the car was penalised for speeding in pitlane, earning the Konica Minolta-sponsored Wayne Taylor Racing squad a drive-through penalty. Far from beaten, the Wayne Taylor Racing-run Cadillac returned to the lead group before nightfall.
In the fight for third and fourth Harry Tincknell and Hélio Castroneves came to a head as Tincknell made a failed attempt at passing the #7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 into the Bus Stop sending both the Acura and the #55 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P spinning off with Castroneves smacking in the tyre barriers. Although both cars made it back to the pits on their own power, the Acura spent a long time in the garage for repairs while the Mazda was penalised with a drive-through.
The first full course yellow allowed the #6 Acura Team Penske and #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R to jump the #77 Mazda in the pits. Oliver Pla only needed a few laps to bring Mazda back on top as he overtook first Filipe Albuquerque (#31 AXR Cadillac) and then Simon Pagenaud (#6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05).
Coming up fast behind the leaders, however, was Renger van der Zande in the black Konica Minolta Cadillac. The Dutchman’s high-paced stint enabled the WTR Cadillac to beat Oliver Jarvis’ #77 Mazda out of the pits, only for Jarvis to bounce back later in the stint and get back ahead.
Due to a shorter pitstop in order to score points at the six-hour mark for the Michelin Endurance Cup, the #10 Cadillac runs out of sync with the #77 Mazda letting both cars take turns at the lead.
LMP2 | #52 PR1 MATHIASEN MOTORSPORTS ORECA 07 / NICK BOULLE
With sunset approaching the #81 DragonSpeed Oreca 07 – raced by Colin Braun trying to catch up with the race leading #52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 of Nick Boulle – was hit by a puncture, negating the time won over the PR1 Oreca. It allowed John Farano in the #8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks Oreca 07 to move into second for a little while.
Seven hours into the Daytona 24 Hours and PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports – with Nick Boulle driving – is holding a steady lead of about a minute over the #8 Starworks car in second place.
GTLM | #24 BMW TEAM RLL M8 GTE / AUGUSTO FARFUS
With efficiency starting to make a difference, the #24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE came to the fore and took the lead. At the restart Nick Tandy (#911 Porsche GT Team 991 RSR) managed to retake the lead shortly, but Jesse Krohn was able to bring the BMW back in the lead sooner rather than later, with Tandy’s #911 Porsche settling in second place closely followed by Nick Catsburg in the #3 Corvette C8.R and Laurens Vanthoor in the #912 Porsche GT Team 991 RSR closing out the four-car group.
Catsburg who would go on to claim second place later in the evening after a fierce battle with Tandy but found himself caught out while lapping the #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage AMR GT3 with Pedro Lamy at the wheel. The Corvette ended up spinning at high speed as both cars came together while braking for the first turn but was saved from damage. Lamy, too, didn’t suffer damage, but did come into the pits for a regular pitstop immediately following the collision only to see co-driver Ross Gunn understeer into the pit wall while exiting the pits.
GTD | #44 GRT MAGNUS LAMBORGHINI HURACÁN GT3 / SPENCER PUMPELLY
Over in the GTD class nothing of meaning was happening until sunset: the #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 991.2 GT3R held a firm grip on the lead and aside from some minor battles going on behind the Porsche, the race was moving at a relatively calm pace.
Then, with the sun gone and floodlights on, major events turned the race upside. An accident involving the #47 Precision Performance Motorsports Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and #23 Heart Of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 on the front straight brought out the first caution of the race.
During the break in action the Pfaff Porsche, driven by Lars Kern, had mistakenly taken the wave-around. Quick to realise the mistake, Kern slowed down to retake his intended position. Kern’s bad luck handed Corey Lewis in the #48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 first place, dethroning Pfaff for the first time today.
Courtesy of a different pitstop strategy for the #44 GRT Magnus Lamborghini Huracán GT3, the #48 Lamborghini regularly exchanges the lead with its fellow Lamborghini squad.