Rolex 24 at 14 Hours: Hartley Hits the Wall
Fourteen Hours Gone—and #22 ESM Also Gone
With ten hours left in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship Rolex 24 at Daytona, slow steady rain and plummeting temperatures turned the track treacherous, costing the race leader his lead.
Brendan Hartley had just rejoined the race on ice-cold tires, on an ice-cold track. He couldn’t get any temperature into the tires coming through the infield; he hit the banking, hit the gas, and nearly slammed the wall He overcorrected and slapped the passing #991 GTD TRG Porsche, bounced off, and slammed the wall hard.
Hartley was in a predicament unique to drivers of high-downforce racing cars: He could not go fast enough on cold tires to generate enough downforce to heat his tires enough to go fast enough to generate the downforce needed to heat his tires so he could not ….
Ricky Taylor, on an extended stint, resumed the lead in the #10 WTR Cadillac. Joey Hand in the #66 Ford GT continues to lead GT Le Mans, with Tony Kanaan in the #69 running behind, with Giancarlo Fisichela in the #62 Risi Ferrari in third.
Matt Bell in the #57 Stevenson Audi leads in GT Daytona
Patricio O’Ward in the #38 Performance Tech Oreca leads PC.
Eight Hour Update
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—After eight hours and 250 laps of racing, Cadillac continues to lead the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Jeff Giordon in the #10 Wayne Taylor Racinbg Cadillac DPi V.R leading the #22 Extreme Speed Motorsports Nissan DPi driven by Bruno Senna. The #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac lost time behind the wall with a starter problem, the car currently runs sixth.
Toni Vilander in the #62 Risi Ferrari leads GTLM ahead of Scott Dixon in the #67 Ford GT and Patrick Pilet in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR.
Connor De Phillippi in the #29 Montaplast Audi currently leads GTD from Robin Liddel in the #57 Stevenson Audi and Jeroen Bleekemolen in the #33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes AMG GT3.
Kyle Masson in the #38 Performance Tech Oreca leads Prototype Challenge despite the car having lost time to repair accident damage.
The rain continues to fall, alternating between a light mist and actual rainfall. The track is wet in the infiled and dryer on the banking, which is playing havoc with the Continental rain tires; several teams have had flats probably due to the tires overheating.
The race is currently under caution for the seventh time, with the #16 Change Racing Lamborghini spinning out of the Bus Stop and hitting the wall hard.
UPDATE: With five-and-a-half hours passed, the weather has decided to attend the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The rain is not that hard yet, but the radar does not offer a promising prognosis.
The race is once more under yellow as Marcel Fässler in the Corvette Racing C7.R has stalled on track after being whacked by the #69 Ford GT.
Cadillac Reigns at the Rolex
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—The Rolex 24 at Daytona is only five hours old—less than a quarter of the way through.
With the race almost a quarter done, Cadillac has been the car to beat at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Dane Cameron in the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi V.R started from the pole and led for the first three hours before losing the lead to Ricky Taylor in the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac. The #5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac held onto third despite having an issue with its lighting system.
Ford. Ferrari, Corvette in GTLM
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing brought a quartet of Ford GTs to Daytona, and it paid off, with the #66 leading the GT Le Mans class followed most of the time by the #62 Risi Competitzione Ferrari 488 GTE, with one of the two Corvette Racing C7.Rs in third.
The race is currently under a full-course caution because the #38 Performance Tech PC-class Oreca hit the wall, tearing off its right front corner.
The #73 GTD Park Place Porsche 911 GT3 R got punted by the #26 Bar1 Oreca PC, multiple Rolex winner Scott Pruett got pushed into the wall in the #15 GTD 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3.
The race is currently being broadcast on Fox Sports 2 and IMSA.com.
More to come.