Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona: The First 6

Photo Credit: Lexus, IMSA

Only six hours into a 24-hour race, and it’s already been non-stop action at Daytona International Speedway.

With rain on the radar for late afternoon, small showers first began hitting the track shortly before the six-hour mark. The rain is expected to get heavier as the night goes on.

Prototype (P)

The race began with Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 Action Express Cadillac DPi-V.R. leading his No. 31 Action Express teammate of Dane Cameron to the green flag.

Rebellion Racing’s No. 13 driven by Neel Jani started the race initially in third before dropping back to fourth. The Oreca was one of the favorites to win, but was forced behind the wall early in the going, dropping the team down several laps.

Ricky Taylor started the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac with a triple stint before giving way to four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. Gordon, in his second Rolex 24 start, made contact early in his stint with the No. 70 Mazda of Tom Long. Minimal damage was done to either car, and both cars continued on. Gordon drove a double stint until Max Angelelli took over for him.

Top-5:

  1. No. 10 – R. Taylor/J. Taylor/Angelelli/Gordon
  2. No. 5 – Barbosa/Fittipaldi/Albuquerque
  3. No. 31 – Cameron/Curran/Conway/Morris
  4. No. 22 – Brown/van Overbeek/Senna/Hartley -1 lap
  5. No. 90 – Goosens/Van Der Zande/Rast -1 lap

Prototype Challenge (PC)

The PC class has largely been dominated by the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09. James French is the lead driver for this team along with 2016 Pro Mazda champion Patricio O’Ward, Nicholas Boulle and Kyle Masson.

Starworks Motorsport has had a host of issues with its pair of cars. The No. 8, at the time driven by John Falb, missed his braking point in the bus stop chicane in the third of the racing, crashing both himself and Matt McMurry and the GTD class. The No. 88, which had been running second in class, caused a full course yellow when it was stopped with body damage to the front end, and a cut down tire.

Top-5:

  1. No. 38 – French/O’Ward/Boulle/Masson
  2. No. 20 – Yount/Rice/Kvamme/Ducote/Yacaman -2 laps
  3. No. 26 – Papadopoulos/Mowlem/Merzon/Hindman/Cheng -5 laps
  4. No. 88 – Mayer/Dayson/Popow/Daly/Rayhall -35 laps
  5. No. 8 – Falb/Ruscitti/Keating/Wickens/Cumming -73 laps

GT Le Mans (GTLM)

The Ford GT team prepped by Chip Ganassi Racing started 1-2-3 on the grid, but it wouldn’t last long as the Ferrari and Corvette teams broke up the party.

John Edwards in the No. 24 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing BMW was the first official retirement of the race just under half an hour through the race with mechanical issues after the car had stalled in the middle of the pit lane.

The No. 66 Ford GT has led the majority of the race with Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais have led the majority of the race thus far with the Risi Competizione Ferarri wheeled by former F1 race winner Giancarlo Fisichella, James Calado and Toni Vilander behind.

The ongoing Ford/Corvette rivalry continued in hour 5 in the race when Harry Tincknell in the No. 69 Ford GT spun the No. 4 Corvette driven by Marcel Fassler. Fassler briefly stalled the car in the grass, but was able to get the car fired up soon after.

The problems didn’t stop there for Fassler and Corvette Racing. Less than 20 minutes after the incident with the Ford, the car lost power coming out of NASCAR turn one and two. The car had to be towed back to the pit lane.

Top-5:

  1. No. 911 – Pilet/Werner/Makowiecki
  2. No. 66 – Mueller/Hand/Bourdais
  3. No. 3 – Garcia/Magnussen/Rockenfeller
  4. No. 19 – Auberlen/Sims/Farfus/Spengler
  5. No. 62 – Fisichella/Calado/Vilander

GT Daytona (GTD)

It took less than 10 minutes into the 24-hour race for action to start. The No. 16 Change Racing Lamborghini owned by former NASCAR owner Robby Benton was trashed just short of 10 minutes. Dutchman Jeroen Mul ran off the course and hit the tire barrier forcing the car behind the wall.

The action didn’t stop with the Lamborghini, though.

The No. 14 GT3 Lexus driven by five-time overall race winner Scott Pruett crashed after just under two hours of drive time. Pruett was in front of one of the Corvette GTLM’s when it appeared as though the car stepped out from underneath him and hit the inside turn one wall. Lexus confirmed the retirement of the No. 14 shortly after the crash.

Matt McMurry in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports car was one of the favorites to win the GTD class until being abruptly taken out in the third hour of the race by the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport PC. The Park Place Porsche has been retired from the race.

Top-5:

  1. No. 50 – Macneil/Jeanette/Van Gisbergen/Jaeger
  2. No. 63 – Nielsen/Balzan/Cressoni/Bird
  3. No. 23 – Sweedler/Bell/Montecalvo/Kaffer
  4. No. 96 – Marks/Klingmann/Martin/Krohn
  5. No. 15 – Hawksworth/Alon/Cindric/D. Farnbacher
About Tyson Lautenschlager 552 Articles
A 22-year-old from Ontario, Canada, Tyson Lautenschlager is a Humber College journalism graduate. He is currently the managing editor of OnPitRoad and a chase producer at CTV News Channel in Toronto.