Night time falls for a long time (13 hours) in Florida this time of year, yet the pace for 14 hours of this race has been unrelenting. The race continues to swing to and fro and if you believe in such things it has not chosen its winner just yet.
The prime candidate from the beginning is the ever present super team of the #10 Wayne Tayor Racing Konica Minolta Cadillac with awesome stints from both Toyota contracted superstars Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobiyashi putting in remarkable stints. Most recently Alonso has been setting wet times up to 3-secs a lap quicker than any other on-track driver! Its a strong claim for victory but at Daytona FCYs continually pull cars back to the pack, and there have been plenty of cautions. The #10 is repeatedly hounded by the #31 Whelan Caddy, and those pesky Penske Acuras continue to be an ongoing threat. As we sit at a Red Flag due to the heavy rain the lead order is #10, #6, #7 and #31.
The weather has been the story since we reached the fifteenth hour, it started with spits and spots and turned over the course of that hour into a torrential deluge. A little earlier we lost the remaining Mazda Team Joest car #55, it suffered a persistent cutting out issue, which eventually resulted in it being shunted by another car from behind and into retirement.
FCY claimed an hour or more of the race when the #4 Corvette in the hands of Tommy Milner piled off at Turn One aquaplanning all the way through the run off area and heavily connecting with the tyre wall. As this period behind the Safety Car continued the rain took hold culminating in the deployment of Red Flags and a huge park-up on pit road.
Positions stay the same in LMP2 with a 3 lap gap between the lead #81 and #18 both from the Dragonspeed stable.
In GTLM the resurgence of the hares mentioned early appears to be on, with the #62 Risi Ferrari leading the way, #912 Porsche second and #66 Ford GT in third.
The GTD category is a consistent moveable feast, 5 brands cover the top 5 slots with the #33 Mercedes “Purple People Eater” from Wynns currently in top spot chased by #86 Acura, #29 Audi, #540 Porsche and of course a Ferrari #63.
Daytona’s banking is clearly the perfect answer to quick drainage, however it looks as if the infield section and flat back straight has little run-off and insufficient facilities to remove water from the racing surface. If the rain does not stop falling there can be little chance of running at speed. As we write there is forecast to be a resumption of running (presumably behind the Safety Car) in 20+minutes.
We look forward to some Green Flag running as we close on the finish of this Global Classic.