18 Hour Update: Rolex 24 at Daytona

January 25, 2015

18 Hour Update: Rolex 24 at Daytona

January 25, 2015

briscoe2As the Rolex 24 at Daytona hit the 3/4 mark as the sun rose on the famous Florida venue, we had a case of one class leader keeping his head as all those around were losing theirs and two classic comeback stories.

Ryan Briscoe’s No.3 Corvette has been in contention throughout the night but his job was made a lot easier on a restart just after the 18 hour mark.

Teammate Oliver Gavin tapped a PC car on the restart and damaged the front of the car resulting in a long stop for repairs.

“Honestly, I’ve been out there trying to keep it on the tarmac and make sure I can give a clean car to Jan and Antonio,” Briscoe said.

“There’s a lot of action, and I think everyone can feel the competition in GTLM. You can see it when you’re out there racing. The BMWs, the Porsches… they’re all pushing so hard and it’s hard not to get caught up in it. So far it’s gone well. The car feels fast and I’m looking forward to the finish.”

“The conditions have been changing a bit. I’ve found that whether we’ve been playing with tire pressures or something, the balance comes and goes a little. In that last stint, the car felt the best it’s been all race. It’s super fast and consistent, and we had great longevity with the Michelin tire throughout the stint. That’s exactly what we need right now.”

The BMW No.25 of Bruno Spengler took over the lead after Gavin’s issues but then ran off at the bus stop on the back straight and damaged the car.

rolex_race_gal3 18“We ran out of brakes but I managed to get back to the pits,” Spengler said.

“We were lucky that we kept the car on track and there was no damage, that was the most important. The mechanics did an amazing job to change the brakes so quickly and because of that we are still in the race. So that’s all right, the car is in one piece, but it is still a long way to go and anything is possible.”

The remaining race win contending Porsche of Patrick Long also fell out of the race when the car went back to the garage and was retired with crankcase issues.

Briscoe now has a lead of the best part of a lap while Gavin is a lap down.

In the Prototype class the battle at the front was between two Corvette Daytona Prototypes – both of whom are surprised to still be in the hunt.

Joao Barbosa’s Action Express Racing not only made up three laps since midnight, but actually grabbed the lead of the race. The Barbosa/Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais entry are the reigning champions of the Rolex 24.

Wayne Taylor Racing held second place, coming back into contention after completing the first stint (and most of the week) without traction control.

In the PC class CORE autosport continued to dominate – repeating their performance from their race winning performance from 2014.

In GTD, Cooper MacNeil held the advantage aboard his Porsche.

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