With 18 hours left to run, the dark hours setting in and the rain coming down, the Cadillac DPis continue to dominate the 55th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The #10 Wayne Taylor Racing DPi-V.R of Filipe Albuquerque leads the American brand’s 1-2-3 stranglehold on the race.
Second and third overall are the two Action Express entries with the #5 leading the #31, though the order up front has changed at each pit stop cycle with no single car able to create a comfortable lead between cautions.
Behind it’s been a tough opening six hours for the other Prototype entries. The #22 ESM Nissan sits fourth with the #90 Visit Florida Multimatic fifth, but they’re off the leading lap still and it’s becoming a race of attrition.
The Dragonspeed and JDC Orecas have both suffered losses of power during the past three hours, stopping out on track, and the two Mazdas have also had mechanical issues; the #55 now down to 12th overall after running as high as third.
The Cadillacs have had a mostly clean run, though Eric Curran did have a costly moment lapping the #88 Starworks Oreca of James Dayson. Curran was on the banking and was squeezed into the wall, tryiong to get by on the high line. The Cadillac was ok, but Dayson destroyed the front of the Oreca after hitting the wall nose-first.
The #31 has suffered issues in the pits too, unable to get fired after refueling twice, forcing the team to wheel it behind the wall for a push start. Luckily the car is in the first pit box, allowing the team to push the car straight back behind the wall.
GTLM has seen the #911 of Patrick Pilet take a surprise lead for Porsche Motorsport at the end of hour six, during the set of stops where many teams gambled and took on full wets as the rain came down.
As the sun went down it was a battle between Ford, Corvette and the Risi Ferrari, but at each caution period the order changed completely. The final yellow in particular effecting the GTLM class as Marcel Fassler, who was running in the top five early on in the #4 Corvette lost all power on the banking and ground to a halt.
In the end, the # 66 Ford of Sebastien Bourdais and #3 Corvette of Mike Rockenfeller slotted into second and third in the class with the sole remaining #19 BMW up to fourth and the #62 Risi Ferrari down to fifth.
GTD was also a fruit machine, with multiple lead changes. By the quarter mark the #50 Riley Mercedes of Shane van Gisbergen had charged to the after slaloming his way through the leading train in the class, making a move on Sam Bird’s Scuderia Corsa Ferrari round the outside down into Turn 1.
Third behind Bird is Maxime Martin, who was involved in the tight battle at the end of hour sic in the Turner Motorsports BMW. The Alex Job Audi has moved into fourth, with the #29 Land Motorsports Audi still lingering in fifth.
It must be noted that the #93 Michael Shank Acura of Mark Wilkins did spend time leading the class before the rain arrived, Wilkins holding his own and holding off a hard-charding Sam Bird and Maxime Martin for multiple laps.
After the most recent round of stops though, the new NSX GT3 has dropped to 13th.
In the PC class, which has turned into a true race of attrition, the #38 Performance Tech Oreca continues to run out front, running a quiet and clean race.