There’s three hours remaining in this year’s 55th Rolex 24 at Daytona, and while it hasn’t yet been a classic, we still have the two hours, 40 minutes of a IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standard event yet to run.
The class leaders are the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE, No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 and No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes AMG-GT3 in P, GTLM, PC and GTD respectively.
So here’s where we sit. The overall win figures to come down to the pair of untroubled Cadillac DPi-V.Rs, the No. 10 Konica Minolta and No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillacs, which have only been separated by a few seconds over the race.
The No. 10 car figures to run just Jordan and Ricky Taylor from here with Max Angelelli having completed his final career stint, and Jeff Gordon also watching from the pits.
“This has been one of my most difficult races,” Angelelli said. “I was hoping to have a little easier dry race, but that did not happen. All-in-all we have the car and the speed, hopefully it will be our year. It was very difficult to keep the car on the track with the rain tires, especially late in a stint. Other drivers were in the same situation, if they can do it, why not me? I made a slight mistake. I was able to recover and stay in P1. My career has been a rollercoaster, from a complete disaster to a lot of success. How can I describe it – it has been long and difficult.”
The No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Riley Mk. 30 Gibson car (Renger van der Zande, Marc Goossens, Rene Rast) sit third, having succeeded in spite of a number of niggling issues.
At nearly a minute back, it’d need some help from a full-course yellow – and that may come following a crash by Ben Hanley in the No. 81 DragonSpeed Oreca 07 through the Bus Stop chicane. The caution is the 18th of the race.
GT Le Mans is in a word right now, awesome. It’s the single No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE up against all four Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs and a single Corvette C7.R and Porsche 911 RSR apiece. All on the lead lap. All separated by maybe five seconds.
Why bother writing more words than that when those few sentences sum up what lies ahead? Let’s watch this thing unfold and see how it finishes, because it promises to be spectacular.
In GT Daytona, with the track drying, the Acura NSX GT3s have not quite had the form they had in the long, wet stint over night. But that’s not a bad thing or a knock on them whatsoever. The Michael Shank Racing team has put two cars in the lead and consistently in the top five throughout the race as they close to the finish of their debut race.
And among the tried-and-true cars? The No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes AMG-GT3, No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 and No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS are all on the lead lap and used to being here. The No. 29 Land Motorsport Audi, which features Connor De Phillippi in its lineup, and the No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R with a trio of Porsche GT3 Cup champions, are living up to their potential.
It’s been a tougher race for Lamborghini with the best of eight Lamborghini Huracán GT3s only at the bottom of the top 10.
In PC, Performance Tech Motorsports has enjoyed a largely untroubled race and has more than 20 laps in hand over second place.
In 2015, what appeared to be a near unassailable win for CORE autosport went away with contact from another car then triggering a fire. And the CORE car retired, opening up the door for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports to take the win.
The challenge here comes within the final few hours. If you’ve run 20-plus hours and then things go awry, it’s way more of a gut punch than if you go out in the opening few hours.