The 59th running of the Daytona 24-hour race universally known as the #Rolex24 has been running for 3-hours now and filled with suspense. Multiple Full Course Yellows (4 in total) have accounted for one of those hours, as the multi category racing has led to a number of collisions. Here is a brief summary of the state of each category right now.
DPi – IMSA’s premium category continues to lead the way with three manufacturers, Cadillac, Acura and Mazda doing battle. The Cadillacs are running as customer rather than factory efforts appear to have the pace to beat the competing brands, but the frequency of incidents keeps bringing the field back together. We have had periods of the four Cadillacs running together, in the order #5 #01 #31 #48 with the two Acuras managing to keep in touch with them but unable to break into the 1:35 lap times that the pace-setters can run at. The single Mazda of Jarvis/Tincknell/Bomarito runs behind the aforementioned and based on previous 24-hour outings a reliability run may bring results.
LMP2 – Unusually for LMP2 we have three of the four brands represented. However as we have come to expect it is the Oreca 07s powered by their ultra reliable Gibson Tech power units that are dominating the category. Initially Ben Keating in the #52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsport Oreca put on a very competitive display. This has since backed off to a consistent pace with the #18 ERA Motorsport Oreca coming through to currently lead the category, but the FCYs are keeping most cars close.
LMP3 – Whilst running behind GTLM lets cover the final prototype category now. Seven started in LMP3, and their robustness/suitability for a 24-hour race has been at question since it was first suggested. Indeed each car is scheduled/expected to take an 8-minute stop during the race (by regulation) for brake changes and some inspection. At 3-hours by incident and servicing needs there are just 3 of the 7 cars running on the category lead lap. The #33 Sean Creach Motorsport Ligier pedalled by Willsey/Barbosa/Boyd/Clairay is currently leading the way hounded by the #74 & #54 Ligiers. Pre-Race favourites Muehlner Motorsports #6 Duquiene example was delayed by an early incident and is one to watch as it claws its way back from 3-laps down. It has got one back and has the GTD field to work its way through.
GTLM – As reported elsewhere this is a swansong year for this well-trodden category, and it is a shadow of its former diverse self. The #4 Corvette of Milner/Tandy/Sims leads the way pursued by the sister C8R #3 of Garcia/Taylor/Catsburg. They are pursued at some distance by a pair of solid, robust, steady BMW M8s which show little interest in a fight for anything more than the third step of the podium. A sole Risi Ferrari #62 and Proton Porsche #79 make up the balance of the category but have each have incidents, contact in both cases that has delayed them somewhat. It would not be a surprise to see them climb back past a BMW or two but little excitement is expected here.
GTD – Which is to run as a -PRO & -AM category in future years (to replace the GTLM category) is an absolute Brand-fest (9 in total) and if those battles are what appeal to you then this is the place to pay most attention. #14 Lexus currently leads the way with 5 brands making up the Top-six. #57 Mercedes-AMG is second pursued by #16 Porsche and a brace of Aston Martins #97 & #23, sixth place taken up by a venerable Ferrari. Further back in the field you will find Lamborghini, BMW, Acura and Audi, so plenty of battling to be seen here.
Of course the huge majority of folks are aware from the track under current restrictions so if you’d like to tune in try the following links –
Live Timing – https://livetiming.alkamelsystems.com/imsa