Through six hours, the action at the Rolex 24 at Daytona has been intense. A number of different teams have had their time at the front of the field, while others have struggled with issues.
In the Prototypes, Panoz DeltaWing Racing was the star of the show early on. After starting 13th due to not taking time during the wet qualifying session on Thursday, Katherine Legge quickly charged to the front while showing some of the form that saw her top the time sheets in Happy Hour on Friday. During her two hours in the car, Legge led a number of laps and showed the might of the DWC13.
Unfortunately, the DeltaWing’s race came to an end during the fourth hour. The No. 8 Prototype Challenge entry for Starworks Motorsport driven by Chris Cumming spun in turn 1 and stopped in the middle of the track. Andy Meyrick reportedly didn’t hear radio communication indicating the incident and ran directly into Cumming. The car suffered tub damage in the crash and is now out of the race. Both Meyrick and Cumming were released from the Infield Care Center, but Cumming has not been cleared to resume racing. Cumming’s No. 8 was repaired in the garage and has since returned to the race, 39 laps out of the class lead.
Legge took to Twitter after the retirement was announced and expressed her gratitude for the effort.
Thank you all for your kind words. I am incredibly proud of everything the @DeltaWingRace team achieved. Taking away the positives!
— Katherine Legge (@katherinelegge) January 31, 2016
For much of the race, the P2 cars have dominated. Pipo Derani led early from pole, but after they changed to Johannes van Overbeek, van Overbeek was hit from behind by a locked-up No. 60 Ligier JS P2-HPD driven by John Pew, spinning out in the bus stop chicane on a restart. The No. 2 has never fully recovered from the spin as a litany of issues have kept them down the order a bit.
Pew actually damaged the front end of the No. 60 when he hit van Overbeek, but the team has kept charging. After replacing the nose on a subsequent pit stop, the Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian entry was leading overall at one-quarter distance with Sprint Cup Series star AJ Allmendinger at the wheel.
Action Express Racing‘s No. 31 Whelen-sponsored Chevrolet Corvette DP was in second, followed by Ford Chip Ganassi Racing‘s No. 01 Riley with FordEcoBoost power. Eight prototypes were on the lead lap.
In Prototype Challenge, attrition is playing a role. CORE autosport‘s No. 54 is out of the race with engine issues. Both Performance Tech Motorsports and BAR1 Motorsports‘ No. 26 have caused full course cautions by stopping on-track. Both of Starworks Motorsport‘s entries have spent time in the garage.
The carnage has left PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports with a three lap lead on BAR1 Motorsports’ pole-winning No. 20. Performance Tech Motorsports is third, followed by JDC/MillerMotorSports‘ No. 85, which led convincingly early on before running into problems.
GT-Le Mans has been marked by Porsche North America running in lockstep for most of the race. The two Porsche 911 RSR’s were the fastest cars overall in the wet qualifying session and have been flawless through six hours. The No. 911 entry of Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Kevin Estre was leading the class after six hours and running tenth overall, just four laps off the pace of the leading prototypes. The No. 912 was second and right behind the No. 911 on-track. Third is the No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM from BMW Team RLL.
On the other hand, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s two Ford GT’s have had a miserable time. The No. 67 had a gearbox issue that sent it to the garage early. Since then, Stefan Mücke had to deal with two cut right rear tires, but the team has gotten into a flow. The No. 66 had a brake line issue that resulted in a long stop, then the car stalled on-track and required a tow back to the pits. Through six hours, both cars are at the rear of the GT-Le Mans lineup, but turning in competitive times.
GT-Daytona has been a bit more of a toss-up. Class pole sitters Park Place Motorsports ran into problems early when Norbert Siedler ran the red light at the end of the pit lane, earning a stop + 60 second hold. Konrad Motorsport‘s No. 28 Lamborghini led early, and O’Gara Motorsport‘s No. 11 Lamborghini was in the hunt as well before dropping back.
Since the fourth hour, the race has mainly been under the control of :Paul Miller Racing‘s Lamborghini Huracan GT3. At the six hour mark, Paul Miller Racing’s No. 48 driven by Madison Snow was leading the class and running 24th overall. Scuderia Corsa‘s No. 63 was second in class, followed by TRG-Aston Martin Racing North America in third. Aston Martin Racing‘s No. 98 was fourth and Alex Job Racing/Team Seattle‘s No. 23 was in fifth.
Only three teams have officially retired from the race. Panoz DeltaWing Racing due to their crash, core Autosport with engine woes, and Mazda Motorsports dropped out early due to a broken flywheel after only 20 minutes.