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Lotus E23 2015

The digital renderings released by Lotus of its 2015 E23 Formula 1 car (scroll down for larger images) allow us to already make some observations about the new challenger.

Every new car this year will be assessed on its nose shape due to the new nose tip rules. Lotus has evolved the 2015-style nose it tested late last year to create a short narrow nose. This shapes the two mandatory cross sections into the narrowest and highest possible shape to allow the maximum airflow around and under the nose.

Rather than creating a thumb-like tip to the nose, instead there is a step under it, which is similar to Lotus (then Renault) nose cones from 2009-'10. This should work in coordination with the front wing section to create some downforce.

Although further rules for the area around the front end were designed to create a sloping front to the chassis, Lotus appears to have faired this in and created a high flat top to the chassis.

Lotus E23 2015

This height is visually exacerbated by the low-mounted front suspension, where the top wishbone and pushrod are not mounted as high as we have seen on the Williams, for example, which could be an effort to create more mechanical grip at the front of the car.

Aside from the novelty of the new nose, it's the roll hoop inlets that catch the eye: the usual airbox inlet is flanked by two additional inlets.

The bulbous shape of the engine cover behind suggests they are ducts to feed an oil cooler mounted beside the engine, a solution adopted by Toro Rosso last year and planned by Marussia for this year. Lotus had the base plates for these inlets fitted to its car late last year but the inlets were never affixed to them.

Having coolers mounted this way means the sidepods can be smaller, although the bodywork looks bulkier on the new Lotus as it features two large exits in a similar style to McLaren's 2014 car. Allied to the roll hoop inlets this creates a narrower sidepod low down, which frees up airflow over the diffuser for more downforce.

Inside this engine cover is the Mercedes power unit, a first for the team, having always had strong links with Renault, dating back to the Benetton days. Running this power unit already gives the team a huge performance step from 2014, which was a year to forget for the team.

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Originally on Autosport.com

Force India 2015 livery launch

With Formula 1's 2015 cars set to hit the track at Jerez this weekend, attention will soon be on the critical details of these new challengers.

The limited imagery we have seen of the 2015 cars so far points to the noses being the only major change in the car designs for this year. However, teams will still be plotting their response to the domination of Mercedes in 2014 and there is plenty to look out for on both the chassis and power units.

Here are the key influences that will shape the technical battleground in 2015:

1421150112NOSES

The key visual difference to the 2014 cars will be the nose. Last year's nose tip regulations proved controversial thanks to the ugly designs they spawned – be they fingers, U-shapes or even the Lotus twin tusk.

As well as the bad aesthetics, the FIA's fear that slim nose tip sections were not ideal for crash protection prompted a 2015 rethink. Now the rules require not only a low nose tip of minimum cross section (9,000mm2), but another legality section over twice as large (20,000mm2) another 100mm behind it.

Along with limits on how the nose tapers back to the chassis and how sloped the front of the chassis can be, the rules were supposed to ensure far more attractive, low wedge-shaped noses. However, the 2015 Williams graphic, plus the nose that Force India showed at its livery launch, point toward there still being a stub on the cars.

The new nose section near the front wing has a big aero impact, initially losing some 60 points of downforce from the blockage it creates.

For teams, the debate will be over long or short noses. Lotus tested a short nose late last year, but most teams are likely to opt for a longer nose with the tip sitting ahead of the front wing center section.

How the teams shape these two legality sections will vary, though. It is likely most will shrink the nose shape to a minimum creating a short thumb-like extension to the nose. It will be interesting to see if anyone can come up an inventive solution within the very tight wording of the rules.

1417084720POWER UNITS

Development of the power unit – combustion engine, turbo, energy recovery systems (ERS) and battery – was a key technical battleground in 2014. Clearly Mercedes made the best job of the new formula.

Catching up will be difficult, with the gap to be closed estimated to be around 50hp. But matters have been eased by the FIA allowing the use of development tokens throughout 2015.

A key feature of the Mercedes power unit was its split turbo, where the air compressor was mounted at the front of the engine and the hotter exhaust turbine at the rear. They were linked by a shaft. This setup had benefits in terms of cooling and turbo lag, but most importantly allowed a very large compressor to be used for more power from the combustion engine. Turbo lag was managed by both wastegate, pop-off valves and the ERS-H.

It is likely teams will want to exploit this larger compressor concept, but not necessarily via a complex split turbo. Honda has a split turbo setup on its V6.

Aside from this key area, new for 2015 is the allowance of movable inlet trumpets, a feature not seen since the mid 2000s. These are normally used to boost mid-range power and smooth any dips in the power curve, although the current generation of power units are already strong in this area.

 


 

1421839550AERODYNAMICS

With nearly every other parameter, such as tires and engines, closed to individual team development, aerodynamics remains the key area that a team can directly influence its own performance.

Last year's nose and wing changes did little to prevent the relentless increase in downforce. For 2015, only the nose regulation will affect aero, so the rest of the car's bodywork surfaces can continue to be twisted into ever more effective aerodynamic shapes.

The winter power unit development is likely to require that even more heat is shed from a car, so teams will have to incorporate more cooling and larger sidepods. However, the key development area is likely to be the front wing, especially the mounting pylons. Look out also for the nose turning vanes that direct airflow around the back of the car.

At the rear, there will be more complex diffusers, with less intrusion from the boat-tail center section and more vanes separating the volume under the rear of the car.

Mercedes was one of the few teams to incorporate the rear monkey seat winglet into the exhaust, so this is also going to be a probable development direction.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, F1 2014

THE DEMISE OF FRIC

Running the front of an F1 car as close to the ground as possible has been a key feature since 2009. This lowers the front wing, which creates a ground effect scenario, and raises the rear of the car to create a larger space under the diffuser.

The limit in doing this though was in keeping the front "tea-tray" splitter off the ground, in order to reduce the wearing away of the plank and skid blocks.

Teams developed hydraulically linked suspension, known as FRIC (Front-to-Rear Inter-Connected), to manage the front ride height under braking. This system used passive hydraulics to keep the front propped up under braking and reduce plank wear. Although this was banned mid-season in 2014, teams continued to run complex hydraulic suspension but without the front to rear connections.

For 2015, teams will have had time to develop and incorporate similar complex hydraulics optimized to manage front ride height without the banned interconnections, although the mandatory use this year of titanium skid blocks that wear away quickly will ensure they take extra care with ride height.

The detail of these systems will take some time to surface, but it will be a key focus for the teams.

 

 

Originally on Autosport.com

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IndyCar champions Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon shared the race-winning Ford EcoBoost DP during the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona, and told The RACER Channel's Marshall Pruett about the experience.

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Another IndyCar veteran to claim a victory in the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona, Australia's Ryan Briscoe tells The RACER Channel's Marshall Pruett about his role in the winning Corvette Racing entry.

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VictoryLaneChip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates earned its sixth win in America’s most prestigious sports car race when Scott Dixon held off last year’s winner, Sebastien Bourdais of Action Express Racing [BELOW, RSJames image], in a desperate sprint to the finish.  

The three-time IndyCar champion passed the checkered flag just 1.33sec ahead of his open-wheel rival after a late full-course caution, caused by the demise of the PC class’s AX Racing RSJmost dominant car with 20 minutes to go, bunched the field up. It was Dixon’s second win in the event, having played his part in Ganassi’s first win here, back in 2006. This time he shared the Ford EcoBoost-Riley with IndyCar teammate Tony Kanaan, and Ganassi’s NASCAR stars Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray. 

“It’s really special,” said McMurray. “I have to thank Chip and Felix for giving us all this opportunity, giving us the chance to drive the car. We had such a good group of guys driving for an awesome team. Really, it’s about Scott Dixon for me today. He got in with three-and-a-half hours to go and just really did an amazing job. I’m so proud of him. Scott’s become a good friend of mine and I’m honored to call him a friend."

Wayne Taylor Racing had appeared to be the fastest team in the second half of the race, as Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli excelled in their Corvette Daytona Prototype. Despite struggling in the first few hours of the race with traction control problems, once the engine mapping was reprogrammed, the trio were at least a match for anything their rivals could throw at them, and usually appeared quicker. Apart from an unnecessary brush on pit lane with the No. 5 AX_Racing machine, the drivers contained their natural exuberance, often choosing to closely track their rivals and pressure them rather than make any bold lunges. Wayne Taylor crew’s slick pit work often made up time, even on the Ganassi crew, and whenever the track was clear ahead, they cut loose.

2015Daytona24 MarshallPruett Sun125 479 GANASSI WINNERHowever, Ganassi had kept some pace in reserve, and Dixon’s famously superb fuel-saving ability while matching the speed of his rivals not only allowed him to delay his final stop and take advantage of a clear track once the WTR Corvette pitted, it also allowed him a shorter final stop than the WTR car. When the Taylors were forced to pit one more time to exchange Jordan for Ricky – to ensure Jordan didn't go over the time limit of four hours driving in six hours time – Bourdais’ Corvette DP slipped ahead easily.

“It was just a miscalculation on drive time, said Jordan. “You’re only allowed to drive four of six hours and I guess i would have gone over that. It’s a bit disappointing, but you live and die as a team. We’ve gone 72 hours now without a problem in this race and we just can’t win it; two seconds and a third now. But we’ll look back on it as a good points day and go to Sebring second in the championship.”

Although doubtless frustrated by missing out, Action Express and Bourdais’ co-drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa could at least gain satisfaction from having overcome a two-lap deficit when the car ground to a halt in the middle of the night. But then the Ganassi No. 02 crew also overcame a two-lap loss in the middle of the race when a couple of offs damaged the front splitter, forcing the car to be taken behind the wall and repaired.

What made Ganassi’s battle with WTR particularly thrilling was the difference in the strengths of their respective cars. The Ford EcoBoost engine in the Ganassi Rileys had an edge on the vast swathes of oval used in the Daytona International Speedway’s road course, but the Corvettes looked more stable under hard, late braking and so, in the infield, recovered the lost ground.

The second Ganassi car, driven by five-time Rolex 24 winner Scott Pruett, Joey Hand, Charlie Kimball and Sage Karam kept pace with its sister car, Karam and Hand in particular turning in superb drives. However, a clutch problem in the final two hours rendered the second Riley-Ford EcoBoost a DNF.

The leading trio finished six laps ahead of the fourth-placed Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP piloted by Richard Westbrook, Mike Rockenfeller and Michael Valiante, with the similar machine of Whelen Engineering passing the checkered flag a further 13 laps adrift. That meant the Eric Curran/Dane Cameron/Max Papis/Phil Keen-driven car was beaten to the checkers by the first two GT Le Mans cars, such was the attrition in the top Rolex 24 Race Vettescategory.

That said, GTLM was barely better in terms of finishers. By the end of the race, it was a straight fight between the No. 3 Corvette of Ryan Briscoe, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, and the Rahal Letterman Lanigan-run BMW Z4 GTE of Bill Auberlen, Bruno Spengler, Dirk Werner and Augusto Farfus. It went to the ’Vette by less than half a second, the C7.R having been fast and also (crucially) having avoided any significant conflict. By contrast, the BMW took a couple of bumpy trips across the grass, damaging its rear splitter and bumper, which took the edge off a pace that even at its most ideal, had never looked quite a match for Ferrari, Corvette and Porsche. The Z4’s position of prominence owed more to good team work, good handling, smart tactics…and its rivals’ attrition, often self-induced.

Some of the big GTLM names to fall out of genuine winning contention? Well, there was the No. 4 Corvette which clinched third in class, but was seven laps behind its teammate, after first Oliver Gavin and then Tommy Milner tripped over slower cars and had to make long stops to repair damage. The Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 of Pierre Kaffer, Davide Rigon, Giancarlo Fisichella and Olivier Beretta looked particularly strong but retired before half-distance. The Falken Tire Porsche retired with a broken crank case. But arguably the biggest faux-pas of the night was when the Porsche North America No. 912 entry, driven by Earl Bamber spun across grass trying to avoid running into his slowed sister car, that had lost momentum passing a GTD Aston Martin. Bamber barely lost momentum and backed into the other Porsche at high speed, effectively taking them both out of contention.

In GT Daytona, the No. 93 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper of Dominik Farnbacher, Ben Keating, Kuno Wittmer, Cameron Lawrence and Al Carter [BELOW] held on in the late restart to win R24 Viper Darkby 7.6sec ahead of the Alex Job Racing/WeatherTech car of Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen, Andrew Davis and V8 Supercar star, Shane van Gisbergen, who excelled throughout. This pair of cars were two laps ahead of third, the Brumos Porsche of Madison Snow, Jan Heylen, Patrick Dempsey and Philipp Eng.

In the Prototype Challenge class, the Jon Bennett/Colin Braun/Mark Wilkins/James Gue-driven CORE autosport ORECA was demolishing its opposition through the second half of the race, by the simple art of not getting into trouble. At one point, it held a five-lap lead! But this got whittled down and in the final hour, but even then seemed firmly in control. But then it went wrong with only 20 minutes left.

“We were just trying to maintain our gap to Tom [Kimber-Smith]; I think we both had one pit stop left just to put some gas in real quick,” explained Braun. “There was a slower DP car that was ahead of me, pretty off the pace through the kink. I moved inside of him in the kink to pass him, and that sets me up for the outside  through Turn 5. I’m not sure if he missed his braking marker or what, but I turned into the corner and next thing I knew he pretty much just squared me up right in the right rear tire and that, I think eventually, broke our suspension, So I got spun out and tried to get it back going. Once we got it going, we thought we could limp it back to pits and on the exit of the Bus Stop the suspension collapsed and I hit the wall pretty hard. I’m just gutted for all the guys. John and Mark and James all drove really well, and we played the strategy well. We made good decisions It would be one thing if it was a bold move, a banzai move. But that was  a move I made probably 150 times during the night and never had any issues with it.”

That incident allowed the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports machine of Mike Guasch, Andrew Novich, Andrew Palmer and  Kimber-Smith to come through for the PC vicotory, and caused the 20th and final yellow.

The sixth win from 12 attempts for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in the Rolex 24 at Daytona means Chip’s team has become the most successful in the event’s history, breaking a tie with Brumos Racing. Also worth noting is that it means Jamie McMurray has joined AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win the Daytona 500 and the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Click here for unofficial results.

Click on the thumbnails below for larger images

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Jeff Gordon

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Jeff Gordon says he seriously considered retiring from NASCAR racing more than once in recent years, but was always convinced to stay on by team boss Rick Hendrick.

Four-time Cup series champion Gordon announced on Thursday that 2015 would be his last year of full-time racing.

"I honestly thought this was going to happen a couple of years ago, and during every off-season I can think of over the last several years Rick and I have talked about our future together and the future of Hendrick Motorsports," he said.

"When you get to this point in your career and you've done as much as we've done as a team, you're always trying to figure out when that right time to step away is. Rick kept talking me into going longer and longer and longer. And I kept saying, 'No, I think this is the year.'

"Finally about halfway through last year I said, 'No, this is it boss,' and we agreed and the timing was good for me, good for Hendrick and other opportunities that are out in front of us."

Gordon has avoided referring to his decision as "retirement" as he intends to remain active in non-racing roles within the sport. But he underlined that he did not expect to race in NASCAR's top series again after the 2015 finale at Homestead in November.

"I think the chances are pretty good that Homestead will be the last race that you see me in," Gordon said. "I don't know that for a fact. But I know that I'm not going to come back and do a part-time schedule."

While open to appearances in other NASCAR categories, he also hinted at racing elsewhere.

Jeff Gordon wins Dover NASCAR race 2014

"I want to leave myself open, as well, to be able to get in a car," he said.

"It could be a truck. It could be a prototype for Le Mans or the Rolex [Daytona 24 Hours]. It might not be any of those things. Heck, I was just out in the desert driving buggies and I maybe want to do the Baja 1000.

"I don't plan on doing any racing, but I know I'm not going to be retiring because I have a lot on my plate already that we have plans for."

Gordon enjoyed a resurgent 2014 season in which he upstaged Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to become Hendrick's leading contender for much of the campaign after several tougher years. He said that form helped convince him there was a chance to go out on a high.

"Of course you want to go out on top, but if that's not possible, I want to go out being competitive and racing at the top level all the way to the end," Gordon said. "Last year gave me the inspiration that that can happen this year."

 

 

Originally on Autosport.com

02sunset RSJRACER provides live reporting throughout the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Stay on this page and just hit your refresh button every 5-10 minutes for the crucial news and updates.

Also follow @RACERmag, @MarshallPruett, @RSJamesCreative.

Check RACER's Rolex 24 Hours Resource Guide for full details of live streaming, IMSA radio tune-in info, timing and scoring, TV coverage, entrylists, weather reports, etc.

For the inside line on what's happened at Daytona so far this month:
Pre-race notebook
RACER videos – interviews and onboard footage
Thursday notebook 
Qualifying report 
Lessons from the Roar Before the 24
Roar Before the 24 Notebook and session reports

________________________________________________________________________________

2:10pm - CHECKERED FLAG The No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Target/Ford EcoBoost Riley driven by Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray has claimed the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona. In doing so, Scott Dixon has claimed his second Rolex 24 victory and McMurray becomes the third person to win both the Daytona 500 and the 24-hour race, joining AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti.

The No. 3 Corvette C7.R won GTLM, chased to the finish by the No. 25 BMW. Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe drove the winning Chevrolet.

The No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca of Mike Guasch, Andrew Novich, Andrew Palmer and Tom Kimber-Smith won Prototype Challenge after the late-race misfortunes of the No. 54 CORE Autosport machine.

Ben Keating, Dominik Farnbacher, Al Carter, Kuno Wittmer and Cameron Lawrence took the GT Daytona victory in the No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT.

Look for a full report, video winner interviews and in-depth analysis to follow.

2:01pm - Jordan Taylor brings the No. 10 into the pits, gets out and Ricky Taylor gets in. Speculation is that Jordan was up against the 14-hour total drive time limit. In addition to the time lost - albeit under yellow - the team may face a penalty for pitting when the pits were closed.

Sebastien Bourdais is now second in the No. 5 Corvette DP as the race goes back to green with six minutes left. The yellow also closed up the gap between the GTLM first and second runners, the No. 3 Corvette and the No. 25 BMW.

1:55pm - Braun's first off may have been caused by minor contact with another car that cut a tire. He was trying to get back to the pits quickly in order to change it and get out in front of Kimber-Smith, leading to the crash.

1:50pm - With 20 minutes left, PC category leader Colin Braun in the No. 54 went off course, pulled back on, and then spun and hit the wall coming out of the Bus Stop, handing the class lead to Tom Kimber-Smith in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca. A full-course caution has been called an it's likely this race will end under yellow.

1:40pm - With 30 minutes to go, Scott Dixon in the No. 02 Riley Ford leads Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Corvette DP by 4.5sec, a margin that is remaining relatively constant. Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 leads Dirk Werner in the No. 25 BMW for the GTLM victory.

1:30pm - Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 makes its final stop after 720 laps. Scott Dixon follows the next lap. He needs less fuel than Taylor and his stop is about three seconds less and he emerges well ahead of Taylor.

1:27pm - Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 5 Corvette DP is the first of the lead-lappers to make the final stop for fuel.

1:25pm - Jordan Taylor is hounding Dixon with 45 minutes left. The Corvette has made its final stop, taking four tires in addition to fuel.

1:10 p.m. - The stage for the final showdown has been set. The leaders hit the pits just before the last hour began. All three of the Daytona Prototypes on the lead lap will need another stop, but not a full fill. The Ganassi crew put four tires on and a short fill into Scott Dixon's No. 02 to get him out in front of Jordan Taylor's No. 10 Corvette DP. The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP in the hands of Sebastien Bourdais is 21 seconds back.

The gap shown below was as Dixon crossed the line in the pits; Taylor caught him on Dixon's out lap and is in full pursuit mode. Dixon, though, is already nearly two-and-a-half hours into his stint; Taylor is fresher, but pitted three laps earlier.

The other close battle is in GTLM. Both Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette and Dirk Werner in the No. 25 BMW will need another stop to go the distance. Barring any problems, both Colin Braun/No. 54 Oreca and Dominik Farnbacher/No. 93 Viper have fairly safe margins in PC and GTD.

1:10 p.m. - Final hour standings: P: Scott Dixon/02/+23.396; PC: Colin Braun/No. 54/+1 lap; GTLM: Antonio Garcia/No. 3/+33.688; GTD: Dominik Farnbacher/No. 93/+71.982.

12:42pm - The two GTLM contenders, the No. 3 Corvette and the No. 25 BMW, have made what should be their penultimate pit stops. Unfortunately for the BMW Team RLL crew, it appeared the car got knocked into gear while up on the jackstands as the new tires were going on, starting the left one spinning before the nut was on. That caused a small delay in getting Dirk Werner out and allowed the Corvette in the hands of Antonio Garcia into the lead, now at around 26 seconds.

12.40pm - Dixon has slashed Taylor's lead in Prototypes to two seconds and is 18.5sec ahead of Bourdais.

12.11pm - Joey Hand brings 01 Ganassi car in and it's gone behind the wall. Still a chance of fifth place in class.

12:10pm - 22 hours in, 2 hours to go.
Leaders - P: Max Angelelli/No. 10/+6.1sec; PC: Colin Braun/No. 54/+1 lap; GTLM: Dirk Werner/No. 25/+6.81sec; GTD: Dominik Farnbacher/No. 93/+1 lap.

11:53am - Joey Hand, who took over from Karam in that pit stop, heads off but had to get a drive through because of too many Ganassi guys over the pit wall.

11:45am - Bourdais passes Karam on lap 659 to take third. Karam is reporting clutch problems and pits. Engine-cover off.

11:40am - Dixon pits on lap 655 and, such has been his pace…and Karam's loss of pace since the pit stop, that Dixie's got the #02 into second, 8.4sec behind Angelelli. Sebastien Bourdais, who took over the #5 from Fittipaldi, is 2.28sec behind Karam.

11:35am - Angelelli, Karam and Fittipaldi all pit on lap 653. That allows Dixon into the lead, and given that he's been harassing the #5 Action Express Corvette, staying out should allow the three-time IndyCar champion to grab third via pit stops.

11:16am - Sage Karam is continuing his aggressive but safe driving, and has pushed the No. 01 Ganassi car past Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP in the fight for second.

11:15am - The No. 4 Corvette was in the pits for a long time repairing damage incurred during the last restart. It necessitated a nose change, and dropped the car four laps down to the GTLM leader, its sister car with Jan Magnussen at the wheel.

11:10am - Leaders with three hours left: P: Max Angelelli/No. 10/+1.444sec; PC: Mark Wilkins/No. 54/+1 lap; GTLM: Jan Magnussen/No. 3/+1.397sec; GTD: Kuno Wittmer/No. 93/+1.684sec.

11:05 - GREEN. Fittipaldi makes a mistake but holds on to second in Prototypes. Meanwhile in GTLM, Farfus splits the Corvettes to grab second.

11:00am – NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson has been doing a stellar job in the no. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Riley Ford Ecoboost, which is running fourth. He has the fastest lap in the car, only two-tenths off the fastest lap in the race. He just completed a single stint in the car before handing over to Scott Dixon to finish the race, something he says he was glad to do.

“I was definitely only going to do two at the most and was happy they pulled me out after one, because Dixon’s the best on our team,” Larson said. “Now that we’re under the four-hour mark, he can go out there and finish the race for us. It’s a team race and I’m not at all upset about having a short stint.”

He credits his performance in only his second endurance sports car race to having a Rolex 24 at Daytona behind him.

“I’ve enjoyed it a lot more this year. I enjoyed it last year, but it’s hard to enjoy things when you’re being hard on yourself and you feel like you’e not doing the best job you can. This year I came in a lot more relaxed, not as nervous and have been more comfortable in the car and run a lot more competitive lap times. I’ve been having a blast this time around. Last year I didn’t want to do this race. This was my least favorite race in the world. Now I can’t wait to come back next year,” he said.

10.58 - YELLOW as a car stalls, then gets going. But it's bunched the field and offered a chance of pit stops. The top four Prototypes didn't, but have compressed so they're running nose-to-tail. The top three GTLM contenders have pitted:

10.40am - Top four Prototypes have all pitted, and Max Angelelli has taken over the #10 WTR Corvette which continues to lead by 6.7sec over Fittipaldi. Karam is third in the #01 Ganassi Ford EcoBoost, only 1.4sec ahead of Dixon who's taken over #02. Corvettes continue running 1-2 in GTLM.Fun battle in GTD as Kuno Wittmer's Viper and Shane van Gisbergen have been separated by nothing at all for past half hour. Gap is now 4.1sec, however.

10.10am - 20 hours down, 4 to go.
P: Taylor/#10/+12.34sec ; GTLM: Magnussen/#3/+13.82sec ; PC: Wilkins/#54/+2laps; Lawrence/#93/+7.16sec

9:53am - Pit stops for the leaders, and a muscular maneuver from Jordan Taylor sees WTR Chevy DP pass AX Racing Chevy DP which is now piloted by Christian Fittipaldi. The two Ganassi cars, 01 ahead of 02, are now being piloted by the young guns, Sage Karam ahead of Kyle Larson.

9:32am - Oliver Gavin moves Corvette #4 into second place in GTLM, ahead of Augusto Farfus-driven BMW Z4 GTE. Gavin is 9.3sec off teammate Magnussen.

9:10am - 19 hours down, 5 hours to go.
Under Yellow - P: Barbosa/#5/+1.1sec ; GTLM: Magnussen/#3/+5.3sec ; PC: Wilkins/#54/+1lap ; Lawrence/#93/+0.73sec

9.00am - GTD order is Lawrence (Viper #93), Lazzaro (Ferrari #63), van Gisbergen (Porsche #22).

8:58am - YELLOW. Flex-Box Porsche #44 is limping and…it's all over, and apparently it was an encounter with a rabbit that ended its run.
But the FCY is actually for an off-course trip for No.64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari of Francisco Longo.

8:54am - Pruett pits the #01 Ganassi car from the lead. Rejoins fourth. Barbosa stayed on same tires and has a lead of 4.5sec, as Taylor skates around on cold fresh tires, and Kanaan is a further 5sec back. For now, the lead group has fractured.

8:52am - Three lead Prototypes pit together and leave together, still in the same order – Barbosa (Action Express), JTaylor (Wayne Taylor) and Kanaan (Ganassi).

2015 Rolex24 Generic TuneIn 640

Taylor WTR night GLOW8:33am - Spengler went for a violent trip through the infield and took a while to adapt to his Z4's new handling traits. The end result is that Gavin is close behind despite his troubles on the restart, and the pair of them aren't far off going a lap down to Briscoe's #3 ’Vette.

8.17am - GREEN - Barbosa holds off Taylor and Kanaan at the restart but all change in GTLM as leader Gavin runs into the back of a PC car, and has to pit for repairs to the front bumper/hood. Thus Briscoe now leads in the sister Corvette, ahead of Spengler in the RLLR BMW Z4 GTE.

8.10am - Under caution. P - Barbosa/#5/0.3sec ; PC - Braun/#54/3 laps; GTLM - Gavin/#4/0.22sec; GTD - Farnbacher/#93/10.43sec

7:55am - YELLOW - Oil on track

7:50am - Falken Porsche limping. Engine failure.

7:37am - GREEN - Taylor leading Kanaan by not a couple of tenths of a second. Hand is third. The yellow allowed Barbosa to bring the #5 Action Express Corvette DP back onto the lead lap, in fourth.

7:17am - YELLOW - Bleekemolen's #33 GTD Viper off course at Turn 5 and stalled.
PC's dominant leader, the CORE autosport #54 has a puncture and has to limp to the pits. Will get a penalty for entering pits under yellow but unlikely to alter the result.

7:10am - Hour 17 leaders
P: Joey Hand/No. 01/+0.78sec; PC: Colin Braun/No. 54/+5 laps; GTLM: Antonio Garcia/No. 3/22.6sec; GTD: Jeff Segal/No. 63/27.28sec

6:55am - Rene Rast runs off course and stops the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 in the tires. However, he keeps the car going and rejoins so no yellow.

6:40am - Joey Hand (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Ricky Taylor (Wayne Taylor Racing) still hammering around, rarely more than one second apart. The #02 Ganassi entry now has Tony Kanaan at the wheel. and is about 45sec down but is out of sequence with the P leaders.In GTLM, Garcia leads Spengler by 3.5sec with Henzler a further eight seconds behind.
James Gue is leading PC by five laps.
GTD is led by Jeff Segal's #63 Ferrari ahead of Sebastiaan Bleekemolen's Viper.

6:15am - The No. 1 Tequila Patron ESM Honda ARX is officially retired due to a gearbox problem.

6:10am - Hour 16 leaders, two-thirds complete: P: Jamie McMurray/No. 02/+22.496; PC: James Gue/No. 54/+5 laps; GTLM: Dirk Werner/No. 25/10.651; GTD: Ben Keating/No. 33/21.580.

5:46am - Racing has resumed, and the yellow brought more pit stops that changed the running order. Both Corvettes pitted and changed brakes, relinquishing the lead, but are only a few seconds behind the new class leader, Dirk Werner in the No. 25 BMW and second place runner, No. 17 Porsche. Ben Keating is back out front of the GTD field in the No. 33 Riley Viper.

The racing continues to be close and tough. Shortly after getting out of the No. 3 Corvette, Jan Magnussen noted, “I don't remember a 24-hour race where you have to push this hard all the time.”

5:31am - Full-course caution for the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche stopped on course. This is the 13th caution period of the race.

5:20am - The last round of pit stops brought a number of driver changes and shuffled the running order. Max Angelelli now leads in the No. 10. Antonio Garcia is now in the N0. 3 Corvette and the No. 64 Ferrari si in the GTD lead at the hands of Andrea Bertolini.

5:10am - Hour 15 leaders: P: Dixon/No. 02/+8.404; PC: James Gue/No. 54/+5 laps; GTLM: Jan Magnussen/No. 3/+1.413; GTD: Ben Keating/No. 33/+2.506.

4:37am - GREEN - Dixon, Angelleli and Karam covered by a second. Magnussen has nicked the lead of GTLM in the #3 Corvette ahead of the #25 BMW Z4 GTE now driven by Dirk Werner, the #4 Corvette of Tommy Milner and the #17 Falken Porsche of Bryan Sellers.
In GTD, Ben Keating's #33 Viper is ahead of the #64 Ferrari of Bertolini and the Porsche of Shane van Gisbergen.

4:21am - YELLOW - #7 Starworks BMW-Riley driven by Brendon Hartley has stopped – engine issue according to the driver.

4:10am - Hour 14 leaders: P: Scott Dixon/No. 02/+2.5sec; PC: Mark Wilkins/No. 54/+ 5 laps; GTLM: Augusto Farfus/No.25/+25.2sec; GTD: Townsend Bell/No. 63/+0.24sec

 

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3:50am - Dixon withstood Angelelli and has now eked out a 2.6sec margin at the front, while Karam is a further 25sec adrift. In GTLM, Augusto Farfus has taken the lead in the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing BMW Z4 GTE after Magnussen spun the #3 Corvette on an out lap after a scheduled pit stop, and now that Gavin has pitted the #4 ’Vette.
Townsend Bell is holding off fellow Ferrari runner Daniel Serra at the head of GTD by 2sec.

3:30am - Leading two prototypes pit together - literally - and the Wayne Taylor Racing car leaves ahead of the Ganassi #02. However, Dixon on cold tires is impressive, and on the out lap he displaces WTR's Max Angelelli from what is effectively the lead, as Karam pits the #01 Ganassi machine.

3:20am - Jordan Taylor, who is hounding the leading No. 02 of Scott Dixon, is doing so after having been in the car for more than three hours and more than 100 laps.

3:10am - Hour 13 leaders: P: Scott Dixon/No. 02/+0.368; PC: Mark Wilkins/No. 54/+ 1 lap; GTLM: Jan Magnussen/No. 3/+1.597; GTD: Townsend Bell/No. 63/+1.534

3:03am - The MSR Ligier Honda has a new nose and is back on track. There is a fairly good battle going on for the lead between the No. 02 Ganassi Riley Ford with Scott Dixon at the wheel and JordanMazdaBMW Taylor in the No. 10 Corvette DP.

We've received word that the No. 07 Mazda SKYACTIV Diesel Prototype that has been sitting in the pits for some time is officially out due to overheating.

2:56am - On the restart, John Pew went off track in the International Horseshoe in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier Honda and hit the tire wall, damaging the Ligier. He was able to back it out and limp around to the pits, avoiding another caution.

2:48am - YELLOW, #1 HPD car. Missing part of the front fender. The No.4 Corvette comes slowly into the pits with a puncture.

2:44am - GREEN and Scott Dixon takes the lead in the #02 Ganasss Ford EcoBoost Riley. Corvettes still lead the GTLM class with Gavin ahead of Magnussen. Townsend Bell in the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari is leading GTD. PC has closed up, with Guasch now on same lap as Wilkins, 11sec behind.

2.33am - YELLOW for #1 HPD ARX-04b which has spun and stopped.

2:10am - HALFWAY - 12 hours down, 12 to goLeaders P: Jordan Taylor/No.10/+4.7sec; PC: Jon Bennett/No.54/+1 lap; GTLM: Oliver Gavin/No.4/+22.1sec; GTD: Jeff Segal/No.63/+4.8sec

2:01am - Surely there's no coming back for the works Porsches. The #912 is getting ready to depart pitlane but it's now some 17 laps down. 

1:43am - Back to green-flag racing. Leaders are P: No. 10 - Jordan Taylor; GTLM: No. 3 - Ryan Briscoe; PC: No. 54 - Jon Bennett; and GTD: No. 63 - Jeff Segal.

1:25am - Disaster has struck the Porsche North America team, with the two GTLM 911 RSRs making contact with each other and both ending up severely injured. No. 912 driver Earl Bamber reported that he was avoiding the No. 007 that had come together with Bamber's teammate and ended up sliding across the apex of the turn and hitting teammate Marc Lieb in the No. 911. Bamber limped around with a cut right front, shredding bodywork as he made his way back to the pits. Lieb ended up parked just off the racing surface. The crew is working on the 912, while the 911 is being towed back to the garage. The incident brought out that race's ninth full-course caution.

Both 911 RSRs had just passed the No. 4 Corvette before the accident and were looking strong. The incident essentially leaves three contenders in GTLM - the two Corvettes and the No. 17 Team Falken Tire 991 RSR.

UPDATE: Video of the incident indicates that Bamber's view may not have been quite accurate. See it here.

1:10am - Hour 11 leaders: P: Jordan Taylor/No. 10/+4.544; PC: Jon Bennett/No. 54/+2 laps; GTLM: Ryan Briscoe/No. 3/+12.790; GTD: Marcos Gomes/No. 64/+28.526

12:47am - Overall lead change as Kyle Larson and Ricky Taylor pitted, and Taylor overtook Ganassi's inexperienced road racer on cold tires.

 

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12:39am - Problems for two GT teams. Risi Competizione's GTLM Ferrari F458 has been in and out of the pits with electrical issues. Now moving behind the pit wall. The No. 81 GB Autosport Porsche 911 GT America GTD entry pulled off at Turn 3--behind the barrier--after spewing water from its front-mounted radiator system.  

12:10am - Hour 10 leaders: Kyle Larson/No. 02/+5.304; PC: Jon Bennett/No. 54/+3 laps; GTLM: Ryan Briscoe/No. 03/+0.019; GTD: Marcos Gomes/No. 64/+4.517

11.53pm - Kyle Larson - new leader!

11.50pm - GTLM battle still raging - Kaffer's Ferrari ahead of the two Corvettes and Henzler's Falken Tire Porsche.

11.31pm - After another brief yellow for a stalled PC car, back to GREEN. P - Taylor leading Negri, PC - Braun leading Popow, GTLM - Henzler leading Pilet, GTD - Van Gisbergen leads Skeen

11:11pm - RESTART. Pit stops during the yellow jostled the order in the GT classes. Patrick Pilet in the No. 911 Porsche is back in front of GTLM. Shane van Gisbergen in the No. 22 Porsche now leads GTD.

The cause of the yellow, the No. 5 Action Express Corvette, was pulled into the garage where a fuel connector was found to be loose. The car is now back out, three laps down.

11:10pm - Hour 9 leaders (under yellow) P: Taylor/No. 10/+0.808; PC: Braun/No. 54/+4.238; GTLM: Pilet/No. 911/+1/594; GTD: van Gisbergen/No. 22/+15.131.

10:53pm - Full course caution due to the defending Rolex 24 champion car stopped on course. The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP has rolled to a stop with Joao Barbosa at the wheel. The report is no fuel pressure.

10:51pm - Colin Braun has staged a mighty comeback in the No. 54 to take the PC lead after falling well behind due to a cut tire. He has chased down and passed Alex Popow in the No. 8

10.49pm - In traffic, Pilet loses P1 in GTLM to Garcia's Corvette

10:40pm - Kanaan has got the #02 Ganassi in third and his deficit to leader Taylor is under half a minute. That's despite almost eight minutes behind the wall, and 14 pit stops to the leader's 12, and 10 for second place car, AX_Racing's Barbosa.
Perhaps an even more stirring comeback is that of Porsche #912. Remember it lost seven laps at the start of the race due to alternator trouble? It's now only one lap behind its sister car, which leads GTLM ahead of the two Corvettes.

10:29pm - Two more retirements have been logged in addition to the No. 0 DeltaWing and the No.2 Honda HPD ARX. The No.70 Mazda went to the garage with oil pump failure. The No. 57 Krohn Racing Ligier Judd has also retired.

“The car felt really good out there today and it's a credit to everybody on the team,” said driver Alex Brundle. “We were making progress towards the leaders. Then we had some kind of engine issue on the banking which has yet to be properly defined by the team. I lost power. There was a lot of smoke and, unfortunately, that was it. All I could do was get the car back. Now it seems like the guys have assessed it and it is terminal. We're out of the race, which is a shame because the car felt excellent and we had excellent pace to end the race so soon."

10:10pm - Eight hours down - P: R.Taylor/No. 10/+5.75; PC: Popow/No. 8/+1lap; GTLM: Jan Magnussen/No. 3/+0.438; GTD: Farnbacher/No. 93/+17.60sec

9:48 - Bourdais cedes lead to Taylor after overshooting a chicane. Magnussen barely holding off Tandy's Porsche. Second Corvette is a further 3.5sec down. Dominik Farnbacher leads GTD in the R24 Viper DarkRiley Motorsports Dodge SRT Viper GT3-R (LEFT).

10:00pm - The No. 01 Ganassi Riley Ford slid back in the order when it made an extra pit stop to check what appeared to be a cooling issue; as it turns out there was no issue, but they lost several positions in the process.

9:39 - GREEN, and Bourdais and Ricky Taylor go at it hard. Michael Valiante hangs back a little, McMurry is a further 4sec down, while the #01 Ganassi car is trying to pick its way through slower cars following a pit stop where Charlie Kimball took over from Joey Hand.

9:19pm - Full Course Yellow - #007 Aston Martin of Brandon Davis crashes into Ferrari #51 of Francois Perrodo. Perrodo had spun following a hit from the #81 Porsche, and rejoined right onto the racing line as Davis arrived.

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9:10pm - Seven hours down - P: Joey Hand/No. 01/+4.729; PC: Mark Wilkins/No. 54/+1lap; GTLM: Jan Magnussen/No. 3/+1.09; GTD: Ben Keating/No. 33/+3.1sec

9:14pm - Poor Kanaan has to pit #02 Ganassi car again, having incurred damage avoiding the PC get-together

9:05pm - Beretta's Ferrari #62 has taken the lead of GTLM from Magnussen's #3 Corvette but they're all over each other and anything could happen....

9:00pm - Bit of a mess at Turn 1 after a couple of PCs get in too hot. Rubbing and racing further down the field as they avoid, but Hand, Bourdais, Taylor and McMurry (taking over the #60 Shank car from Allmendinger) are your top 5. Kanaan is sixth, having only lost a lap.

8:55pm - AJ Allmendinger has set the fastest lap in the race so far in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier Honda, which runs in fourth. Still, though, he says that he’s not wringing the car’s neck just yet.

“You’ve got to get after it for sure,” he said shortly after getting out of the car and handing it over to Matt McMurry. “You’re not just out riding around. If you do that, for how competitive it is now, you're going to be off the pace a little bit.  I’ve definitely got a little bit in reserve if we had to go for the win right now. I’m not sure how hard the Ganassi boys are pushing. It looks like they’re pushing pretty hard. I’m sure everybody’s got a little bit left in the tank, but I’m confident right now that the car is pretty good and if we had to go harder right now, I could do it.”

8:52pm - #51 Ferrari loses a wheel from front-left. Thankfully, still only at FCY speed.

8:42pm - Major trouble for #02 Ganassi due to fluid loss, and taken behind the wall for a new front-splitter after Kanaan noted loss of front downforce.

8.35pm - Following pit stops, Sebastien Bourdais' Action Express Corvette DP has moved behind Hand.

8:23pm - YELLOW for the spun and stalled No. 7 Starworks Motorsport Riley-BMW DP driven by tor Greaves.

8:21pm - The Krohn Racing team confirmed the No. 57 Ligier-Judd is done for the event with motor issues.

8:15pm - This is quite troubling, Jordan...

 

8:10pm - Hour 6 Leaders: P: Joey Hand/No. 01/+2.769; PC: Mark Wilkins/No. 54/+31.171; GTLM: Jan Magnussen/No. 3/+1.930; GTD: Kuno Wittmer/No. 93/+2.727

8:00 - GREEN! Joey Hand sends the #01 Ganassi Ford EcoBoost Riley back into the lead, nearest pursuer being its sister car, now piloted by 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan. Bourdais is third in the Action Express #5 Corvette DP.
It's a team 1-2 in GTLM, too, as Corvette Racing duo Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin put the big yellow birds at the front.

7:44 - Full Course Yellow as Magnus Racing's No. 44 Porsche grinds to a halt with Andy Lally at the wheel. Previous gearbox issues may have recurred.

7:20pm - Sage Karam has handed the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Riley Ford over to Joey Hand after putting it in the lead with an audacious move on a restart and then setting the fastest lap of the race.

“That was  a great stint,” he said. “The restart there was one of the craziest things in my career. We had those GTLM cars in front and Jamie [McMurray] in front of me, my teammate in the 02. We all got kind of checked up and I saw a gap on the outside and I took it. It got kind of sketchy there, but we managed to get through and just got the lead in Turn 1, kept my head down and just put in consistent laps.”

Of course, the 2013 Indy Lights champ has good reason to make a statement with his driving, as he's searching for a full-time gig for 2015 – ideally, he says, in one of Ganassi's Indy cars.

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Rolex24 Mazda7.15pm - The fifth hour of the Rolex 24 has been completed. The leaders are:
P: Hand/No.01/+8.5sec; PC: Mark Wilkins/No.54/+1 lap; GTLM: Ryan Briscoe/No.3/+3.9sec; GTD: Lazzaro/No.63/+10.1sec

6:45pm - IndyCar ace Simon Pagenaud leading GTLM in the No. 4 Corvette, 4sec ahead of Wolf Henzler in the Falken Tire Porsche. Meanwhile, P3 overall changes hands as McMurray passes reigning TUDOR champion Christian Fittipaldi in the Action Express Corvette DP.

6:30pm - The No. 10 Corvette DP currently in second place with Max Angelelli at the wheel experienced traction control problems through practice and qualifying. The issue was fixed before the race, says Jordan Taylor, fresh out of the car, and the car is working great.

“We’ve got a top three car,” he says. “Us and Ganassi are pretty close. Having said, that, we had problems all week, and the guys were working overnight and finally fixed it. It’s the best we’ve had all weekend.”

He also says that the driving hasn’t always been smooth sailing, and some of the drivers have caused him some hairy moments: “Right now there’s a bunch of guys that don’t what they’re doing. I was down to first gear in the Bus Stop a couple of times. It’s shocking.”

6:29pm - Official statement from DeltaWing on its DNF: "The Claro/TracFone DeltaWing Racing Cars team came out of the box swinging at the start of today’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, setting the early speed pace and battling among the leaders before transmission issues ended the day in the second hour."Rolex24 GTDbattle

6:21pm - The sun has set at Daytona International Speedway, and teams are settling in for what is going to be a long, cold night. It will be 13 hours and 21 minutes between sunset and sunrise. During that time, temperatures could drop into the high 30s. Track temperatures have already dropped nearly 30 degrees from race start. Cold track and cold tires could trip up several drivers.

It will be interesting to see if some teams choose to double-stint tires simply to keep warm ones on the car and reduce the risk of trouble on the out lap. There is otherwise little incentive to double stint, because the teams can change tires during refueling, which takes far longer. In addition to perhaps preventing spins leaving the pits, leaving warm tires on the car could pay dividends on the first laps that will make up for any time lost as the tires lose quickness at the end of the second stint.

6.15pm - The fourth hour of the Rolex 24 has been completed and pit stops starting - The leaders are: P: Karam/No.01/+10.4sec; PC: Gue/No.54/+6.8sec; GTLM: Antonio Garcia/No.3/+13.9sec; GTD: Lazzaro/No.63/+1.1sec

6.03pm - Sage Karam leads Taylor by 4sec now. Closest lead battle now is in GTD, with #49 AF Corse Ferrari of Rui Aguas hanging on less than a second ahead of Anthony Lazzaro's similar 458 Italia, run by Scuderia Corsa.

5:57pm - Amazingly fun four-way battle in GTLM between Milner's Corvette, Pilet's Porsche, Fisichella's Ferrari and Garcia's Corvette – quartet covered by less than one second – spoilt somewhat by Fisichella spinning, but without contact.

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5:43pm - RSR Racing's PC leader Bruno Junqueira has pulled in and been taken behind the pit wall. No obvious damage so presumed mechanical issue. That leaves James Gue in the lead of PC in the No.54 CORE autosport entry.

5:31pm - GREEN but flurry of pitstops under caution. Order is now as follows:
P is Karam #01, Taylor #10, McMurray #02, Fittipaldi #5, Pew #60.
PC is Junqueira #11, Goikhberg #85, Gue #54, Johnston #38, Drissi #16
GTLM is Pilet #911, #62 Fisichella, Milner #4, Luhr #24, #Sellers #17
GTD is Lazzaro #63, Bleekemolen #33, Davis #22, Aguas #49, Nielsen #007

5:17pm - Full course caution as No. 19 Porsche driven by Jim Michaelian grinds to a halt on course.

5:15pm – The third hour of the Rolex 24 has been completed. The leaders are:
P: Jamie McMurray/No.02/+8.6sec; PC: Bruno Junqueira/+1 34sec; GTLM: Antonio Garcia/No.3/+19sec; GTD: Jeroen Bleekemolen/No.33/+38sec

4:55pm - Jamie McMurray has taken the wheel of the leading Ganassi Ford EcoBoost DP No.02. He leads Valiante's SDR Corvette DP by 4.5 sec with 85 laps completed. He in turn is 4.5sec ahead of Jordan Taylor's WTR Corvette DP.

4:45pm - It appears the DeltaWing team has packed up its equipment and the car is done.

4:15pm - As the second hour fo the Rolex 24 at Daytona included, the leaderboard was shuffling as drivers in all classes pitted. Tom Long in the No. 07 Mazda SKYACTIV Prototype unexpectedly led theRolex24Race Mazda Shadows race thanks to fuel mileage in the Diesel. Unfortunately, he pulled into the pits smoking a short time later and the rear bodywork is off. As the second hour began, the No. 25 BMW experienced a cut left-rear tire after contact with the No. 911 Porsche driven by Nick Tandy and the No. 98 Aston Martin spun in Turn 1 and limped slowly for a while before pulling off track.

4:15pm – The second hour of the Rolex 24 has been completed. The leaders are:
P: Tom Long/No.07/+2.6sec; PC: Stephen Simpson/+1 Lap; GTLM: Pierre Kaffer/No.62/+8.8sec; GTD: Jeroen Bleekemolen/No.33/+7.5sec

4:06pm -- The No. 2 HPD ARX-04b has retired from the event.

3:53pm - The No. 2 Patron ESM Honda HPD ARX with Johannes van Overbeek on board has slowed to a crawl and is in the pits.

3:49pm - The green flag comes back out at the beginning of lap 47. Ozz Negri moves the Shank No. 60 Ligier Honda past Scott Pruett in the No. 01 Ganassi Riley Ford.

3:36pm - Full course yellow at lap 44; Damien Faulkner's No. 81 Porsche of GB Autosport spun entering Turn 1 and is damaged on track.

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The No. 0 DeltaWing is experiencing a problem and is off track.

3:29pm - Dixon retains the P lead at the restart ahead of Pruett, Barbosa, Negri and Pla. Corvettes of Gavin and Magnussen lead GTLM ahead of the Falken Tire Porsche of Henzler who's passed Tandy's Porsche. Mowlem's BAR1 Motorsports entry heads PC ahead of Kimber-Smith's PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entry. GTD lead is currently held by Konrad Motorsport with Christopher Zoechling at the wheel.

3:10pm - The first hour of the Rolex 24 has been completed under caution. The leaders are:
P: Scott Dixon/No.02/+0.875sec; PC: Johnny Mowlem/No.16/+15.160; GTLM: Oliver Gavin/No. 4/+0.690; GTD: Daniel Serra/No. 64/+2.086

3:03pm - The first caution of the 2015 Rolex 24 is out, for the GTD No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 stopped on the tri-oval between NASCAR Turns 2 and 4. Satoshi Hoshino, taking over from Markus Winkelhock, spun in the Bus Stop chicane on the out lap and lost drive, apparently from a gearbox problem.

3:01pm - Nick Tandy had a major moment in the GTLM-class No. 911 Porsche as he attacked the Corvettes for the lead, going down onto the apron in the tri-oval and nearly having it go all wrong.

2:59 - The GTLM contenders are cycling through their pitstops. As expected, most are not changing drivers at this point. The lone exception is the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, in which Gimmi Bruni led in the early going before fading back to fourth. Francois Perrodo is no in the car.

2:51 - The No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP is in the pits with the nose off.

2:50 - Gavin's Corvette grabs lead from Bruni, with Tandy pushing them hard in the No. 911 Porsche.

2:44pm - Dixon sets fastest lap on his 19th tour - a 1min41.092 pulls him away from Negri by almost four seconds, but a couple of laps in traffic drags it back to 2sec.

2:35pm - The 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona is underway, and the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Rolex 24 Race VettesSabates Riley Ford Ecoboost took the lead at the start with Scott Dixon at the wheel, while the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier Honda slotted into second. The GTLM polesitting Corvette led the class in the opening laps, but has given way to the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari with Gianmaria Bruni in the opening stint. The No. 54 CORE Autosport Oreca leads PC and GTD is led by the No. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia.

The only incident so far is a spin by Shane Lewis in the NO. 66 RG Racing Riley BMW. Lewis spun in the Bus Stop and was clipped by the No. 62 Ferrari, causing some damage to the diffuser.

2:31pm - Colin Braun leading PC by 1.35sec from Johnny Mowlem

2:27pm - Scott Dixon sets fastest lap of the race and his Ganassi Ford Ecoboost DP has a 2sec lead over polesitter Ozz Negri in the Michael Shank Racing Ligier-Honda JS P2.

Andy Meyrick up to fourth in DeltaWing. Back in GTLM, battle royal between Bruni's Ferrari and Gavin's polesitting Corvette for lead of class.

2:24pm - GTLM Porsche #912 had an alternator fault and rejoins 7 laps down, in the hands of Frederic Makowiecki

2:10pm - GREEN! Scott Dixon grabs the lead at the start from Negri, Pruett, Barbosa, Meyrick, Pla.

Johnny Mowlem leads PC in No. 16. GTLM led by Bruni's Ferrari, with Bertolini heading GTD in another Ferrari.

1:50 p.m. - The grid is being cleared and the teams are ready to go. Overnight rain has given way to sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-60s. Daytona International Speedway was freshly scrubbed with the rain, so the starting drivers will be facing a green track. The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier Honda is on the pole. The race goes green at 2:10 p.m. Eastern.

 

 
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63FerrariPits2 RSJ2Enjoy this gallery of images by Marshall Pruett and Richard S. James from the second half of the 53rd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images.

Click here to view the Gallery 1 from the race's first half.

{igallery id=7331|cid=254|pid=9|type=category|children=0|addlinks=0|tags=|limit=0}

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4Corvette dawn RSJWith six hours to go, three classes are battling as if there were six minutes left in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The 18-hour mark came as the race was under its 16th caution. Four cars in Prototype, three in GTLM and four in GTD all have a clear opportunity to win their respective classes. Still others have enough time to pull themselves into contention. Even Prototype Challenge has tightened up from the middle of the night, now a two-lap closer battle than it was, although the No. 54 CORE Autosport Oreca is in control.

In Prototype, it remains a battle between the two Ganassi Riley Fords, the No. 10 WTR Corvette DP and the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP. Joao Barbosa leads in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP after the team pulled itself up from a lap down. Jordan Taylor is second in the No. 10, ahead of Tony Kanaan in the No. 02 and Scott Pruett, who just replaced Joey Hand, in fourth. The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier Honda had been in contention until a minor crash by John Pew and the ensuing nose replacement dropped it five laps down.

Until 15 minutes before the three-quarter mark, the No. 17 Falken Porsche 911 RSR was in the hunt for the GTLM win, but it is now behind the wall with an engine problem. That leaves the two Corvette C7.Rs and the No. 25 BMW Z4 GTE. Right now the No. 4 is in control with Ollie Gavin at the wheel, but this race has ebbed and flowed throughout the night, with different cars seeming to hold an advantage every stint. Briscoe in the No. 3 Corvette and Bruno Spengler in the BMW are in a fight for second.

Although the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Viper went out in the last hour, the No. 93 Viper leads GTD at the hands of Dominik Farnbacher. However, this one is a four-way fight that could go any way. Cooper MacNeil runs second in the No. 22 Porsche 911 GT America, ahead of Jeff Segal in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari and Francisco Longo in the No. 64 Scuderia Corsa sister car.

As the race enters the morning, times will likely drop as the track warms up in the sun and ambient temperatures remain cool.

Click here for the results at the 18-hour mark.

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Video: The Champions Issue

The Champions Issue is on sale now. Click here for more information.

FROM THE RACER CHANNEL ON YOUTUBE

 

Robin Miller's IndyCar "fireside chats"

 

TUDOR United SportsCar Championship: Interviews and insights from Marshall Pruett.

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