DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The GTP class has been dominated for much of the race by the Cadillacs. It’s an extension of what we’ve seen during the ROAR Before the 24 and during practice this weekend. In 11 on-track sessions, Cadillacs were fastest in nine of them.
Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing traded the lead multiple times early on and weren’t really threatened while the sun was out. However, once the sun set, Porsche Penske Motorsport came alive.
Following a couple of quick cautions due to debris and issues for Sean Creech Motorsport, Matt Campbell was able to sweep past Tom Blomqvist in the tri-oval to take the overall lead in the sixth hour. Once out front, the Porsche 963 started to pull away from the field.
At the one-quarter mark, Campbell was leading by 11.392 seconds over Blomqvist. BMW M Team RLL’s Maxime Martin was third, then Chip Ganassi Racing’s Renger van der Zande. Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Global’s Filipe Albuquerque was fifth.
LMP2 has been dominated by United Autosports’ No. 2 for much of the race. Ben Keating started on pole, but was quickly usurped by Inter Europol Competition with PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Nick Boulle. Once Boulle got out of the car, teammates Patricio O’Ward and Ben Hanley dominated much of the proceedings.
Other competitors have run into trouble. TDS Racing’s Steven Thomas lost control of his ORECA 07-Gibson and went head-on into the SAFER Barrier exiting the Le Mans chicane.
Thomas was ok after the crash, but the team was out on the spot. Two more LMP2 cars, the No. 88 AF Corse entry and United Autosports’ No. 22, are also out.
In the sixth hour, CrowdStrike Racing by APR’s Malthe Jakobsen ran down the leading Wynn’s-sponsored No. 2 with Hanley at the wheel. Jakobsen then took the lead with a daring move on the outside through the Kink.
After six hours, Jakobsen was in the class lead over Riley Motorsports’ Felipe Fraga. Inter Europol Competition with PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Tom Dillmann was third, then Era Motorsport’s Connor Zilisch and AO Racing’s PJ Hyett.
In the first hour, High Class Racing’s Dennis Andersen had minor contact with Sean Creech Motorsport’s Lance Willsey. That resulted in Andersen dropping a wheel and spinning out right in front of Barnicoat. Barnicoat had nowhere to go but straight into the No. 20.
The hit resulted in the No. 14 Lexus belching out fluids all over the place. Barnicoat eventually parked the car and had it towed into the garage. 63 minutes later, they were back in the race, but 37 laps down.
Iron Lynx’s No. 19 Lamborghini with Andrea Caldarelli at the wheel took the lead as a result and ran well until trouble erupted on the first stop. In 2018, the Montaplast by Land-Motorsport team received a five minute stop-and-hold penalty after their fuel was found to be flowing substantially quicker than everyone else in GTD.
This situation led IMSA to create minimum fueling times for a full load of fuel. These days, that minimum is 40 seconds. The Iron Lynx fuel rig was just a little faster than the 40-second minimum, which resulted in a drive-through penalty.
AO Racing slowly gravitated back to the class lead, then lost it. Pit strategy moved the field around as well.
Through six hours, Paul Miller Racing’s Bryan Sellers was leading over Ford Multimatic Motorsports’ Mike Rockenfeller, then Corvettes of Earl Bamber and Daniel Juncadella. The Heart of Racing’s Ross Gunn was fifth.
In GTD, Vasser Sullivan’s No. 12 Lexus with Aaron Telitz led from the pole and controlled a significant portion of the early part of the race. It was only once pit strategies got scrambled did new faces enter the mix. Winward Racing’s Indy Dontje was able to put his Mercedes at the front of the field in the fourth hour.
Strategy allowed Team Korthoff Motorsports’ Mercedes and Inception Racing’s McLaren to come to the front. Pace allowed them to stay there.
After six hours, Team Korthoff Motorsports’ Kenton Koch had the class lead by 3.574 seconds over Inception Racing’s Ollie Millroy. Turner Motorsport’s Jake Walker was third, then the Ferrari of Cetilar Racing’s Giorgio Sernagiotto. Vasser Sullivan’s Frankie Montecalvo was fifth.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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