DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—After 15 hours of racing at the 2015 Rolex 24, the Tudor United SportsCar Championship seems to be well on its way towards redeeming itself for the 2014 Rolex 24—and the entire 2014 season. (Please see Rolex 24: Caution No. 9 as Porsches Collide for more of the story.)
Daytona Prototypes controlled the Prototype class, with Scott Dixon in the #02 Ganassi Riley-Ford EcoBoost leading Max Angelelli in the #10 WTR Dallara-Corvette by half a second, with Sage Karam in the #01 Ganassi Riley-Ford in third.
The DPs earned their place at the top of the grid, by being quick and enduring while the P2 cars dropped out one by one, leaving only the pole-setting #60 Shank Racing Ligier-Honda in sixth. Attrition was mostly electrical—there was no banging and bashing, no bump-snd-runs—some cars broke and others didnt, P2 and DP alike.
GT Le Mans delivered exactly the kind of racing everyone expected: multiple manufacturers vying for every inch of tarmac from the green flag to the finish.
Corvette controlled the class for bits of time, as did Ferrari and BMW, with Porsche—factory and private—harrying the leader.
At 15 hours Jan Magnussen in the #3 Corvette Racing C7.R led the #25 BMW Team RLL Z4 GTE by about half a second as well, with Tom Milner in the #4 Corvette another half-second back, and the #17 Falken Tire Porsche of Bryan sellers only a couple of tenths behind them.
GTD was almost as close with 1.2 seconds separating Ben Keating in the #33 Dodge Viper from the second-in-class #64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari of Andrea Bertolini who was barely ahead of teammate Bill Sweedler in the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari.
Only in PC was there even the vestige of a serious gap, with James Gue in the #54 Core Autosport Oreca had a few laps on the field.
There have been 12 caution periods in the first 15 hours, but none of them seemed unduly long, and none called for anything but a very reasonable cause.
Basically, everything that was wrong with the Tudor Championship in 2014 seems to have been addressed over the off-season.
Fans who have chosen to go to bed for the overnight to pick up TV coverage on Fox Sports 1 at 7 a.m. ET will be pleasantly surprised to see only ten retirements, a full field in GTLM and GTD, and tight battles all over the track—the kind of racing everyone had been clamoring for since … well, always.
With nine hours still to go plenty could go wrong … but it feels like everything will be alright.