DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—The 2016 WeatherTech Rolex 24 at Daytona is well under way, and so far it is living up to the hype.
After five hours of racing, there have been only four caution periods, one retirement, and different race leader every hour.
The hard racing started at the weave of the green, with Luis Derani in the #2 ESM Ligier Honda and Os Negri in the #60 Shank Racing Ligier-Honda both passed pole-sitter Mikhail Aleshin’s SMP Racing’s BR01 Nissan in the first infield turns.
The first caution came after only 20 minutes of racing when Tom Long in the #70 Mazda pulled up onto the grass between Turns 4 and 5. It took 13 minutes to get everyone pitted and reordered, and the racing got back underway.
Racing resumed at a high pitch, with Joey Hand in the #67 Ford-Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT passed Nick Tandy’s #911 Porsche North America RSR for the lead in GT Le Mans, only to have Tandy retake the lead two laps later.
In GT Daytona a pair of Lamborghinis led the way; with Townsend Bell in the O’Gara Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 passing Marc Basseng in the Konrad Motorsport Lambo on lap 22.
A the end of Hour One Katherine Legge in the #0 Panoz DeltaWing led overall, ahead of the #60 Shank Ligier and the #31 Action Express Coyote-Corvette.
The pole-sitting #911 Porsche led GTLM ahead of the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari 488 and the #66 Frd-Gnassi Ford GT.
The #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca led Prototype Challenge, while the #48 Paul Miller Racing Huracán led GTD.
At the end of the second hour, It was the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Dallara-Corvette led overall, ahead of the #55 Mazda and the #31 AXR Coyote-Corvette. Corvette Racing’s C7.Rs ran 1–2 in GTLM. The #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car led PC, and the Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini was back in the lead of GTD.
After two hours of racing, the #02 Ganassi Riley-EcBoost Ford DP led the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Dallara-Corvette and the #31 Action Express Racing Coyote-Corvette.
Porsche North America ran first and third in GTLN, split buy the #3 Corvette Racing C7.R. The #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca continued to lead PC, and the #48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini led GTD.
The second yellow flag waved at 4:14 p.m., after 94 minutes of racing. Joey Hand in the #66 Ford GT was crippled by apparent transmission troubles. The caution brought the usual round of pit stops and lead changes; after 16 minutes, the green flag waved once again.
After three hours the #31 AXR Coyote-Corvette led overall, followed by the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Dallara-Corvette and the #55 Mazda. Corvette Racing’s C7.Rs ran 1–2 in GTLM; The #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca still led Prototype Challenge, with the Miller Racing Huracán still atop GTD.
The third yellow flag came at 6:22 p.m., 20 minutes shy of four hours into the race, when Andy Meyrick in the DeltaWing rammed the stalled #8 Starworks Motorsport PC Neither driver was hurt.
At the end of the fourth hour, It was the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Dallara-Corvette led overall, ahead of the #55 Mazda and the #31 AXR Coyote-Corvette. Corvette Racing’s C7.Rs ran 1–2 in GTLM. The #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car led PC, and the Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini was back in the lead of GTD.
The yellow flag came out yet again after five hours, when Brandon Gdovic in the #38 Performance Tech PC Oreca stopped on course in the bus stop.
Running order after five hours: Olivier Pla in the #60 Shank Ligier JS P2 Honda led overall, followed by Jonny Adam in the #31 AXR Coyote-Corvette and Christian Fittipaldi in the #5 AXR Coyote-Corvette.
In GTLM, Mike Rockenfeller in the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R led the #912 and #911 Porsche RSRs of Frederic Makowieck and Nick Tandy.
Mark Wilkins in the #54 Core Autosport Oreca led PC, and 48 GTD Madison Snow in the #48 Miller Lamborghini Huracan GT3 led GTD.
The DeltaWing officially retired at 7:57 p.m.