Under cover of darkness Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, the two Acura entries in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) clawed back into the fray as the world-famous endurance sports car race reached the halfway mark early this morning.
While the no. 5 Mustang Sampling/JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi-VR was the race leader with Richard Westbrook on board after 12 hours, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 and No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05 both recovered from previous punctures to regain the lead.
Live coverage of Rolex 24’s 60th anniversary continues in the US until 3 a.m. ET and again from 6 a.m. to noon before heading to NBC at noon for the dramatic conclusion of the race. The checkered flag will be waved at approximately 1:40 PM. Non-stop coverage is also available on Peacock and IMSA Radio.
Rolex 24 update halfway through
The #10 Acura, chasing a record-breaking fourth consecutive top-class win for Wayne Taylor Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener, fell two laps behind after tire damage four hours into the race. The WTR crew and drivers never wavered, and the Acura gained power and speed after the sun set and the ambient temperature dropped below freezing.
At exactly around 11pm ET, exactly five hours after falling two laps down, Ricky Taylor took the lead in No. 10 after narrowly dodging Alex Lynn in the No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi-VR on a restart of a full- of course caution.
“It just goes to show that with the Rolex 24 you never get out and how quickly things can change,” said Ricky Taylor. “It’s a little hard to believe, but the team always finds a way forward and this team is very good at strategically defining their path to wins and position.”
Taylor didn’t mind the cold temperatures because as the thermometer dropped, the No. 10 Acura on.
“The (No.) 10 car is always strong in the cold, so that suits us,” he said. “Hopefully we can keep that up when the sun comes up. But I think in terms of racing ability, at least under these conditions, I like our car.”
The same was true for the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura. Like the other Acura, it recovered from a lap down after suffering a flat tire of its own. When the race was halfway through shortly before 2 a.m., Helio Castroneves had the No. 60 in second place. All seven DPi cars have led the race at one point or another and Kevin Magnussen set a lap record of 1 minute, 34,000 seconds in the No. 02 Cadillac.
Other class leaders after 12 hours of Rolex 24’s 60th anniversary were: the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen ORECA LMP2 07 in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 in Le Mans Prototype 3, the No. 97 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in GTD PRO and the No. 70 inception race McLaren 720S GT3 in GT Daytona (GTD).
IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup points are awarded at each six-hour intersection of the Rolex 24, with the leading car in each class earning five points, the second-place car four points, the third-place car three points and all others. cars in class two points. With two sets of Michelin Endurance Cup points awarded after 12 hours, the leaders are: the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac in DPi; No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen ORECA in LMP2; a draw between the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier and No. 54 CORE motorsport Ligier in LMP3; the No. 2 KCMG Porsche 911 GT3 R in GTD PRO; and a draw between the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren and No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in GTD.
Meanwhile, problems arose with some WeatherTech Championship favorites
Both Corvette Racing entries spent a lot of time in the garage doing repairs. After 12 hours, the No. 3 Corvette C8.R GTD, driven by Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg, was ninth in the GTD PRO class, 14 laps behind the leaders. The No. 4 Corvette shared by Nick Tandy, Tommy Milner and Marco Sorensen was 12th in class, 77 laps behind. “We were hit from behind and that caused a lot of damage,” said Sorensen. “There was a spinning LMP3 car in front of us and I had to brake hard because I had nowhere to go, then I got contact from behind. I don’t know who it was. After that the car was fine. I was still able to do good laps and we were still in the race. Everything was good. Then, just before I got into the pits, the car shut me down completely. When Nick jumped in we couldn’t start it and that started a big snowball that just kept rolling with problems. It is heavy. It was a long repair.”
Likewise, Turner Motorsport’s No. 96 BMW M4 GT3, with all-time leading IMSA race winner Bill Auberlen in the driver quartet, suffered from its own mechanical ailments and was 62 laps behind the GTD leaders.
Other important race items included
The No. 20 High Class Racing ORECA was leading in the LMP2 with 13 and a half hours to go when driver Fabio Scherer slid hard into the tire barrier of Turn 1, triggering a full warning. Scherer was left scratching his head when he decided to swing the badly damaged car all the way across the track instead of accepting a tow truck from a safety truck. The car lost two laps but continued after repairs.
The No. 81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA, featuring IndyCar drivers Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward and Devlin DeFrancesco along with IMSA veteran Eric Lux, fought back to the lead after a series of pit lane speeding offenses left the car for several laps. fall back.
The GTD PRO class was, as expected, characterized by tight races and frequent lead swaps between manufacturers Mercedes-AMG, Porsche, Ferrari and Lexus.
The same happened in GTD with McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Lamborghini battling it out midway through the first lap. (Reporting by IMSA)
Follow and like our new Facebook page GrandPrix247Official.