We’re into the second half of the 2018 Petit Le Mans and the championship battles are beginning to heat up as the sun heads for the horizon.
In Prototype, it’s the #77 Mazda RT-24P with Tristan Nunez at the wheel. Nunez took the lead after the #7 Acura ARX-05 DPi of Graham Rahal went off at the top of the Esses.
Rahal’s off-track excursion cost him the lead and another second and a half but he was able to keep the car in second place for the team.
In third is Renger Van Der Zande who has moved the #10 Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. into the picture after a relatively quiet first half of the race. The series’ reigning champions have not found a great deal of similar success this season.
Speaking of champions, one key championship has already been wrapped up. The #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. received points for leading at the six hours to go mark. This means that Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran — regardless of what is yet to happen in the race — will take home the 2018 North American Endurance Cup for Prototypes.
Two entries have not had a similar fortune. Firstly being the #2 ESM Nissan DPi that suffered from an issue in their left front wheel assembly, that car returned to the track, albeit ten laps down.
Still in the back of the paddock is the #38 Performance Tech ORECA 07 after a suspension failure struck when Kyle Masson was in the car.
Following up on a storyline earlier in the race the #6 Acura ARX-05 DPi has since returned to the track after Juan Pablo Montoya’s heavy shunt. That car is last in class and is 134 laps down with Dane Cameron at the wheel.
For GT Le Mans the #912 Porsche 911 RSR with Laurens Vanthoor holds onto the lead.
Just behind the #912 Porsche is the #4 Corvette C7.R. Oliver Gavin is currently driving and is just half a second off the lead.
Championship-hopefuls in the #67 Ford GT is in third with Richard Westbrook trying to break away from the #3 Corvette C7.R. that carries with it, Jan Magnussen.
After six hours we still have all of the nine GTLM cars running and their all within one lap of each other, illustrating the close competition we’ve been treated to all season.
Still in the lead in GT Daytona is the #33 Team Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3, now being driven by Luca Stolz.
Second in the class is the #86 MSR Acura NSX GT3 with Trent Hindman. The Meyer-Shank Racing crew completed a great pitstop to beat out their championship rivals in the #48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan to put Hindman in that position.
Third is that aforementioned #48 Paul Miller Lamborghini, Corey Lewis is currently ten seconds behind Hindman. It is worth noting that even though the #86 Acura is ahead of the #48 Lamborghini, Paul Miller Racing has enough of a gap in the points to still win the title.
Three different GTD cars have been beckoned to the garage after issues. The #73 Park Place Porsche 911 GT3 lost drive with Spence Pumpelly at the wheel, and the team confirming on their Twitter feed that the undiagnosed issue means the end of their season.
The #93 Acura NSX GT3 was plagued by an oil leak and Lawson Aschenbach brought that car behind the wall, where it still is.
Finally, the #14 3GT Racing Lexus RC-F GT3 had a left rear tyre come off, followed by a loss of power under a Full Course Yellow, that car was repaired and is back on track, eleventh in class, ten laps behind the next best car.
Five titles have been wrapped up at this point, read about what has (and hasn’t) been clinched HERE.