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AX Racing 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

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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).

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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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Sage LEAD Ganassi 01

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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Rolex24Race AMR
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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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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Sebastien Ogier, VW, Monte Carlo WRC 2015

Sebastien Ogier cruised to a second consecutive Monte Carlo Rally victory as Volkswagen locked out the podium at the opening round of the 2015 World Rally Championship.

Once freed from a phenomenal battle with returning nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb on Friday when the Citroen man hit a wall, Ogier was in cruise control ahead of teammates Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen.

The double champion led by 1m45s at the start of Saturday and though Latvala cut that by over a minute on the penultimate day, Ogier pushed his margin back out to 58sec by the end of the rally.

Latvala did at least trump his Polo WRC teammate on the powerstage with the third-best time, gaining a point as Ogier was restricted to fourth.

Mikkelsen held on to third overall despite a late surge from Mads Ostberg. Though Citroen teammates Loeb and Kris Meeke hit higher peaks with multiple stage wins between them, the Norwegian was flawless en route to fourth overall.

Ostberg might have challenged Mikkelsen harder were it not for an engine problem on Saturday afternoon and a repeat of the issue on the powerstage.

Behind the leading DS 3 WRC, a terrific battle between the two Hyundai drivers was settled on the very last stage in favor of Thierry Neuville. Dani Sordo held a slender lead at the start of the final day and extended it slightly on SS13, before Neuville cut it back to just 0.2sec heading into the last run and did just enough to overhaul his teammate on the final six miles of the event.

Elfyn Evans recovered from the suspension issues that ruined his battle for fourth with the two i20 WRCs on Saturday to consolidate seventh on Sunday, with the M-Sport driver's solid final trio of stages fine reward for his team's job in rebuilding his Ford Fiesta WRC overnight.

Loeb's recovery from his Friday afternoon error was completed on SS14 when he passed Martin Prokop to bag eighth, while 10th-placed Meeke was fastest on both of Sunday's Col St Jean-St Laurent runs, taking the maximum three-point bonus on the powerstage with Loeb just 0.2sec slower.

Robert Kubica's recovery from various delays on Thursday and Friday was less successful.

He won Saturday morning's stage and was a regular frontrunner for the remainder of the rally but then crashed after the finish on SS14 when his RK Ford Fiesta WRC lost its brakes over the finish and plowed into a wall, destroying the right-hand side of his car.

LEADING FINISHERS AFTER SS15:

PosDriverTeamCarGap
1 Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen -
2 Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 58.0s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Volkswagen 2m 12.3s
4 Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 2m 43.6s
5 Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 3m 12.1s
6 Daniel Sordo Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 3m 12.9s
7 Elfyn Evans M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 5m 23.7s
8 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 8m 34.7s
9 Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford 9m 54.8s
10 Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 10m 55.6s

LEADING POWERSTAGE RESULTS:

PosDriverTeamCarGap
1 Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen -
2 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 0.2s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 1.9s
4 Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 2.7s
5 Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Volkswagen 4.4s

 

Originally on Autosport.com

Porsche ClashWatch the sad demise of the works Porsche North America cars in the 2015 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Video from TRG-AMR, whose 007 Aston Martin was caught up in the fracas.

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10CorvetteDP wheel RSJHalfway through the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona, it’s a four-way battle up front between the Wayne Taylor Racing crew, the pair of Ganassi cars and the polesitting No. 60 Michael Shank Racing entry currently piloted by AJ Allmendinger. Those four are on the lead lap, with the No. 10 Corvette DP leading with Jordan Taylor at the wheel. The No. 02 is second, with NASCAR racer Kyle Larson acquitting himself nicely in only his second sports car endurance race. Scott Pruett, aiming to become the winningest driver in Rolex 24 history, is sitting third in the No. 01. However, there are still three other cars that are within a couple of laps and certainly have a shot with half a day of racing left to go.

The GTLM field has been decimated, including an accident that effectively took out both factory Porsche 911 RSRs. It’s down to the two Corvette C7.Rs, the Falken Porsche and the No. 25 BMW Team RLL Z4 GTE. Ollie Gavin in the No. 4 leads Ryan Briscoe in the No. 3 Corvette, followed by Patrick Long in the Porsche and Bruno Spengler in the BMW. All four are on the same lap.

The No. 54 CORE Autosport entry leads Protoype Challenge, a lap clear of the No. 85 JDC/Miller Motorsports car. Jon Bennett was in the No. 54 at the halfway mark.

It’s a Ferrari, Porsche, Dodge and Audi battle in GTD, with the four marques filling out the top four. The No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia leads at halfway with Jeff Segal at the wheel, but six cars are on the same lap and the lead changes regularly with every round of pit stops. The No. 48 Audi R8 LMS, the No. 33 Dodge Viper SRT, the No. 22 Porsche 911 America, the No. 93 Viper, the No. 73 Porsche and the No. 64 Ferrari are all still in solid contention.

Nine caution periods have interrupted the race, most recently for the incident involving the two GTLM Porsches. Four cars are officially retired – the No. 57 Krohn Racing Ligier Judd, the No. 70 Mazda SKYACTIV Diesel, the No. 2 HPD ARX and the No. 0 DeltaWing.

Two milestones have occurred in this event. One, the race was, for the first time in its history, led by a diesel engine when the No. 07 Mazda took the lead in the early going, thanks largely in part to its fuel economy. The other milestone is the youngest driver to lead the Rolex 24 at Daytona is now Chris McMurry, 17, who led the race in the No. 60 MSR Ligier Honda.

Click here for results at the 12-hour mark.

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No1Sunset RSJAfter six hours, the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Riley Ford Ecoboost of Scott Pruett, Joey Hand, Charlie Kimball and Sage Karam is in the overall lead. Karam put the car into the lead with an audacious move on a restart and proceeded to set the fastest lap, although that has now been lowered by AJ Allmendinger in the No. 60 Ligier Honda, in third, the first race lap under 1:40. The No. 02 Ganassi Riley Ford sits in second. The Ganassi cars have been in control since the start, although the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing entry has looked strong as well and sits in fifth.

The GT Le Mans battle has raged since the green flag, with Corvette, Porsche and Ferrari all taking a turn at the front. After six hours, the Corvette C7.Rs are running one-two, with Jan Magnussen leading in the No. 3 he’s sharing with Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe. The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 Italia is running third, followed by the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR. The top six are covered by 12 seconds.

The first six hours have not been kind to the Prototype Challenge cars, and many have experienced problems and are strung out through the field. The No. 54 CORE Autosport has run trouble free and leads, with Mark Wilkins currently at the wheel. The No. 8 Starworks entry is second and the No, 85JDC/Miller Motorsports Oreca is third.

The GTD cars have caused the majority of the yellows so far, but there are still six cars on the same lap, led by the No. 93 Riley Motorsports Viper of Jeroen Bleekemolen, Sebastian Bleekemolen, Marc Goossens, Al Carter and Ben Keating. The No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia has been strong throughout the first six hours, leading several times and sitting second after six hours.

There have been four yellows. The first came at 3:17 p.m. Eastern, about an hour into the race, when the No. 45 Audi stopped on track after a spin and a gearbox issue. Shortly afterward, the second yellow came when the No. 81 Porsche spun in T1, scattering course marker debris. The third came at 5:16 p.m. with the No. 19 Porsche stopped on course, and the final one was shortly before the six hour mark, cause by the No. 44 Porsche stopped on track.

There have been two official retirements – the No. 0 DeltaWing (transmission) and the No. 2 Patron ESM Honda HPD ARX.

Rolex 24 Turner BMW 4536 900 506 80 cEnjoy this gallery of images by Marshall Pruett and Richard S. James from the first half of the 53rd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Click on the thumbnails to view larger images.

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Image745aCatch up on all the videos from The RACER Channel in the lead up to the start of the Rolex 24 at Daytona:

Ferrari onboard with Scuderia Corsa’s Anthony Lazarro

Scuderia Corsa driver Anthony Lazarro takes The RACER Channel along for a ride during practice for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in his Ferrari F458 GTD entry.

Scott Pruett’s 30th anniversary Rolex 24 Hours

Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Pruett celebrates the 30th anniversary of his first start at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and tells The RACER Channel's Marshall Pruett about his maiden run in 1985 and how far the event has come since he was in his 20s.

Who let Hinch on the mic?

Mazda Racing driver James Hinchcliffe should be kept far, far away from microphones and video cameras. Just ask his teammates after the Canadian Verizon IndyCar Series driver wreaks havoc on a media session ahead of the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona...

Filipe Albuquerque on upcoming Audi WEC season

Audi Sport factory LMP1-H driver Filipe Albuquerque catches up with The RACER Channel's Marshall Pruett to discuss the upcoming WEC season.


Image741Simon Pagenaud on competing for Corvette Racing

Team Penske IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud tells The RACER Channel's Marshall Pruett about the Corvette C7.R he'll race this weekend at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Porsche’s new 919 Hybrid for WEC LMP1

Porsche factory driver Nick Tandy tells The RACER Channel's Marshall Pruett about his recent test with the 919 Hybrid WEC LMP1-H, and whether he'd welcome an invitation to step up from Porsche's GT program to race their incredible prototype.

Indy 500 champ Ryan Hunter-Reay at Rolex 24 Hours

2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay tells The RACER Channel's Marshall Pruett about his team and chances for this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona. .

Onboard the DeltaWing in night practice for Rolex 24

Ride along on the roof of the DeltaWing as the unique Prototype partakes in night practice for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.


Image740Onboard for Ozz Negri’s pole-winning lap at Daytona

Go for a wild ride as Ozz Negri runs to pole position for the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona in his Ligier JS P2-Honda, and wait until he gets to the Bus Stop chicane and has a major moment...

Rolex 24 Hours’ GTLM polesitter Oliver Gavin

Corvette Racing's Oliver Gavin tells The RACER Channel's Marshall Pruett about his run to the GTLM pole for the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Ozz Negri on winning the Rolex 24 pole for Michael Shank Racing

Rolex 24 at Daytona polesitter Ozz Negri tells The RACER Channel's Marshall Pruett about his performance in the No. 60 Ligier JS P2-Honda, and how the Michael Shank Racing entry earned the first pole for a P2 car at the legendary event.

V8 Supercar superstar Shane van Gisbergen at the Rolex 24 Hours

V8 Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen is back for his second run at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and catches up with The RACER Channel's Marshall Pruett to discuss his ride, his impressive run the second in the 2014 V8 championship, and whether he can topple 6-time champ Jamie Whincup in 2015.


No.70Day15ThuMazda’s John Doonan on 2015 P2 prototype campaign

Mazda Motorsports boss John Doonan tells The RACER Channel what the Prototype team has planned for its second season of TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition, its goals, and its efforts to bring its message to the masses through sports car racing.

HPD ARX-04b tech talk with Allen Miller

Honda Performance Development Prototype Race Team Leader Allen Miller walks The RACER Channel through the details behind its newest P2 car, the ARX-04b.

Ganassi’s new pairing – Joey Hand and Scott Pruett

Sacramento natives Scott Pruett and Joey Hand discuss their new role as teammates for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, representing an all-American team and manufacturer in Ford, and whether they embrace having the odds stacked against them in 2015.

Porsche’s Earl Bamber on full-time promotion

The RACER Channel's Marshall Pruett speaks with Porsche North America's newest driver Earl Bamber – the New Zealander will join the factory 911 RSR program for the full TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2015.

MSR’s Rolex 24 stars AJ Allmendinger and Matt McMurry

IndyCar, NASCAR, and Rolex 24 winner AJ Allmendinger attempts to mentor promising 17-year-old sports car driver Matt McMurry, but we soon learn the teenager is the more mature of the two Michael Shank Racing teammates...

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Related Stories

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It's RACER's final look at some of the topics following qualifying leading up to today's 53rd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

TURBO TIME

The first three grid positions the Rolex 24 at Daytona were earned by Prototypes using twin-turbocharged V6 engines. The pole went to Honda's production-based motor, the next two positions were taken by Ford's similar production-based unit, and the DeltaWing's Mazda-based 4-cylinder turbo managed to capture fifth. I must admit that it's nice to see (and hear) something other than deafening V8s sit on the Daytona pole for the last decade plus...

A DANE ON STANDBY

Factory Porsche driver Michael Christiansen isn't expected to drive in today's race, but he's ready to fill in for team veteran Jorg Bergmeister who has been sick this week. The Dane turned laps in both Porsche North America 911 RSR GTLM entries during final warm-up, and will be suited and booted in case his German teammate falls ill.

THE RZA, THE GZA

RG Racing qualified 11th in its first TUDOR Championship appearance. Shane Lewis put the tiny Ohio-based team directly behind the VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP and ahead of Tequila Patron ESM's new HPD ARX-04b P2 coupe... How incredibly awesome.

DION RISING

After a successful run with the Flying Lizard Motorsport team, Dion von Moltke found a new home this season with Paul Miller Racing, and says the small, veteran outfit has been a revelation.

"I'm really enjoying working with the Paul Miller team; they were extremely successful last year, and I walked in and I realized why they have been," he noted. "They're really true to themselves. What I've really enjoyed is they know why they've become more and more successful throughout the years and they know what they did right last year and they're not getting ahead of themselves. They're focusing on what they did right and continuing to do that, which is really important.

"They're such a close-knit team. Flying Lizard is such a big team. They do everything great, and they're actually very similar, but it took me quite a few races just to remember everyone's name. I got everyone's name down on this team before the first race. It's little differences like that. And I've been able to go put to the shop and really get to hang out with the guys and work with the guys, which makes difference If you guys have the connection and the chemistry...it's important for the season, but it's vital for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. If you have the chemistry, it's really important."

The 24-year-old will spend the season with factory Audi driver Christopher Haase as his teammate, and has a prime opportunity to learn from and work with one of the sport's elite young GT pros.

"It's really nice," he continued. "There's only been two other times in my career that I've had another pro in the car with me. That was for my first season ever, and then half a season my first season in Daytona Prototypes with Memo Gidley. It's been really nice. Chris and I get along great. We got along last year we got to know each other. We had some good battles on track last year, so it's been a nice kind of competitive environment, so we can play off one another. You won't really get a feeling for how it's going to be until we get past Sebring and into the normal races.

In recent years, DvM has often been the faster driver paired with gentleman drivers, which make the seat alongside Haase a nice upgrade.

"It will push us both to be better which is important, and you'll become a better driver throughout the season because of that," he said. "You don't mentally think about being lazy with the other guy in the car, because you're coaching, but you're more concentrated on coaching him up, because if you get half a second off of him, it's better than half a tenth off of you. It's going to be a really nice situation and one I'm looking forward to. It's going to be a challenge but we're going to go out there and try to do what's best for the team and try to work together, but it's always going to be a little bit competitive between us."

GO GO GABBY

DeltaWing driver Gabby Chaves is waiting to learn if he's earned a ride with a certain IndyCar team that is in need of fresh talent. The news could come in the next few days.

"Really, what we want to focus on is finding a full-time deal," said Chaves, who starts fifth today. "The scholarship that comes from winning the championship makes it a little bit more personalized instead of having to be a full deal. They're a little bit more flexible where you can do the Indy 500 and two more races and still get the scholarship. Although that's a lot better, it's still, for drivers like me, it's a little bit hard to manage, because if you offer them this amount of scholarship, it's probably enough to do the 500, but it's not enough to do two more races.

"So for drivers like me that rely on sponsorship, it's hard for me to sell three races to my sponsor instead of a full season deal. What I'm trying to do is I'm really focusing on trying to put a full season deal together. We've had some very positive conversations to the point where we just need to get a few boxes checked off and we're good to go. So we're just at the last stage, everything is in place and it's just taking care of the minor details that we're working on and hopefully things can continue to progress and hopefully sooner rather than later we can have something ready to go."

BUMPING INTO HUGUES

Like last year's WEC race at COTA where I stumbled upon the informal GT steering committee meeting and noted a Ford-affiliated representative in attendance, I happened to wander out of the media center to get a bottle of water and came across a certain TUDOR Championship team owner by the name of Wayne Taylor with an invite to compete at Le Mans this year sitting with the delightful Hugues de Chaunac and two other representatives from ORECA... With a new P2 coupe set to break cover in the next few weeks, WTR could have some interesting options to explore with the ORECA 05.

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Geoff Carter and Scot Elkins by PruettFAREWELLKINS

I spoke briefly with outgoing IMSA technical boss Scot Elkins (above, right, with Geoff Carter) whose tenure comes to an end today. He said once the race starts, he plans on handing in his official gear and moving on to overseeing the upcoming Mazda Road to Indy test at Homestead where he'll serve as race director for the USF2000 and Pro Mazda series. Thanks for all of your help and willingness to bring sports car fans inside the technical changes and developments since the TUDOR Championship was formed, Scot.

RILEY LE MANS

Bill Riley told me his plans to compete at Le Mans this year with his ex-works Dodge Viper GTS-Rs has gone forward to the point of filing an official entry. We broke the news of his intent to return to Le Sarthe a few weeks ago, and since then, he says the funding has come together to get in line and hope the ACO grants his wish.

"We submitted an entry for Le Mans, so now we're in a position like everyone else where we're hoping and waiting to get in," he confirmed.

TO FALKEN OR NOT TO FALKEN...

Patrick Long has won a lot of races with Michelin tires mounted to the various Porsches he's driven, and this weekend, he's had the chance to sample the latest and greatest from Falken as part of the Walker Racing-led Team Falken Tire GTLM program. Here's what "Plongey" has to say about the experience:

"In one given season I will drive up to five different tire manufacturers' products on the 911. My teammates Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers were the first to say, hey, don't be shy, our tire guys are really confident and they can handle constructive feedback. It wasn't so much about bringing a playbook from any of my past experiences with Michelin, but more or less just giving them a clean slate, black and white sort of approach to what I felt for the first time in never being in these tires. Wolf and Bryan said they've grown up under this tire so sometimes they don't feel things as sudden as they hoped we would, but they've done a kick ass job to push these guys to where they are at today. That is Walker, that's Falken, and that's Wolf and Bryan. There wasn't a ton for me to say other than: Here is my initial feeling, black and white. I pitted after my first five laps – it was my call, just to give them a raw first impression and then to go back out there and learn the driving style and get up to speed for the month of January.

Long has also enjoyed stepping out from the Porsche factory environment to see how one of its customer programs operates.

"The Walker organization is really good to work with," he noted. "As you know, there are a ton of racers there who have been around for longer than I have been alive. I'm there to learn as much from them as they are from me. It was a seamless transition. I was really made to feel like I have been racing with that team for years. Part of that is because there are some good friends in both the Falken and the Walker organization that I have worked with, and that always helps. It's cool to be involved."

BEHIND THE MUSTANG DEAL

Defending Rolex 24 and TUDOR Championship Prototype champions Action Express Racing unveiled a new primary sponsor this week—Mustang Sampling—for their No. 5 Corvette DP. (If you were wondering, yes, the good folks at GM Racing had a laugh at their championship-winning Corvette DP car carrying big 'Mustang' logos on the sidepods...)

AXR team owner Bob Johnson gave RACER the tale on how the natural gas sampling and inspection company joined the program:

"It's a great story and a great new addition to the whole operation for Action Express," he said. "Being champions, we got a lot of attention, a lot of calls, a lot of people inquiring and wanted to become part of the program. Interestingly enough, we had a Corvette Club group--we do a lot with Corvette Clubs all over--that came to the shop in Denver, North Carolina, and our Roger Bear were showing them around, and one of the individuals that was in that group was really interested in what he was seeing and learning more about the team. He said to Roger, 'You know a good friend of mine who I think would be very interested in getting associated with you guys.'

"It ended up being the people from Mustang Sampling, and actually, it didn't take long. We put it together very quickly. They're already so excited, they just want to get more and more involved. It's fantastic for the series."

Johnson said the new relationship was constructed with an eye toward a longer commitment.

"It's not signed as a multi-year deal, however, they have an option for several more years," he explained. "It's something they asked for, and we're happy to give them the option. We're hoping it will be, and they're saying it's long term."


RHR Rolex 24 AXR CorvetteRILEY RESOURCE SHIFT (By Richard S. James)

While it was won and done for the factory SRT Motorsports Viper GTS team in GTLM, the Riley Motorsports GTD team has benefitted from an influx of talent from the GTLM program, both on the driver side and on the other side of the wall.

The team and its Viper GT3-R program had its ups and downs in 2014, with disaster at Sebring when its lone car burned to the ground tempered by victories at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and Circuit of the Americas. The team enters Daytona on much stronger footing than 2014 with a new sponsor in TI Automotive, new drivers and a second car for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races.

"We got the benefit of a trickle-down effect from SRT leaving," says team principal Ben Keating, who drove the car with Jeroen Bleekemolen at most races last year and will drive the second car in the endurance races in 2015. "We got Dominik [Farnbacher], Kuno [Wittmer] and Marc Goossens driving the cars. TI Automotive coming on board gave us the ability to run both cars. Everyone that was in that SRT championship team has trickled down into our program. From a GT Daytona standpoint, I feel we've got the absolute best engineering, the absolute best people over the wall, the absolute best drivers. We've got really good reliability in the cars. I'm pretty excited to be back at Daytona and try again."

Bleekemolen just missed putting the No. 33 Viper on the GTD pole, falling 0.15sec short. It's a testament to some changes in the team dynamic with the new personnel.

"We had a really good team last year, really good engineering. But with Riley running three cars and, frankly, the GT Daytona taking a second seat to the factory program, I didn't realize how big a difference there was. To have three phenomenal engineers, two phenomenal data guys to pore over everything after every session to figure out why we had this handling problem. It's just unbelievable. It's really hard to gauge the difference in attention to detail with some of the best engineers in the business. SRT had the best people they could put together, and these guys have trickled down here. If I had realized how big a difference it was, I would have complained more last year," Keating laughs.

Goossens has had to adjust to the differences between the GTLM car and the GTD car, and they are considerable.

"The aero package on the GTLM is way bigger, so you're carrying through the corners a lot faster, and you can get on the gas faster because of the traction control, which makes the car not oversteer on power," he says. "There are quite a lot of differences, and then there's the tires. Really, to be honest, there isn't much comparison other than we still have the pedals to change the gears, and the shape of the car is similar."

That doesn't mean that Goossens thinks that competing in GTD is the lesser proposition. He certainly does lament the downforce he had with the GTLM car (and the LMP and open-wheelers he drove before that), but the regulations are the regulations, and in the end it's what happens on track that matters.

"Look at the size of the field; there are quite a few big names in there," Goossens says. "The competition is tough."

BITCHIN' BALANCE OF PERFORMANCE

Displeasure among DP teams was expectedly heavy after qualifying. The Michael Shank Racing Ligier-Honda P2 swept all four sessions with ease, added fast time in Friday's warm-up (for an amazing 5-0 run during the event), and it left the once-dominant Daytona prototypes feeling a bit under represented on the time sheets.

"It is what it is," said Wayne Taylor, whose No. 10 Corvette DP qualified seventh. "We saw how fast the P2 coupe was in Austin and at Petit Le Mans, and then they went fast at the roar, and nothing has been done since the Roar to slow them down, so here we are with the Shank car going as fast as they've shown. There's not much we can do about it – it's not up to us at this point."

For those who grew tired of watching P2s lose almost every round last year, you could say balance is being restored – at least at the first round, but with this race holding so much importance, that view is not a universal one.

The Corvette DPs were the cars, mind you, that owned last year's Rolex 24. Fast forward to the debut of new P2 coupes, and while the tide has been turned, it's fair to say the DP contingent isn't of the mind that the other style of Prototype deserves to hold an advantage...

Other than the Ligier-Judd P2 receiving a 40-kilo weight break between the Roar and the Rolex 24, the rest of the Prototypes have gone unchanged.

2015Roar24 MarshallPruett Fri19 0421 CHAINZ

Ganassi Racing team manager Mike O'Gara has affectionately dubbed his teenage driver Sage Karam "1 Chainz" in honor of the gold cross he wears beneath his driving suit. The 2013 Indy Lights champion says he hopes to have everything in place to race Ganassi's fourth IndyCar entry in the next two to three weeks.

On another interesting Ganassi note, No. 01 Ford EcoBoost DP teammates Joey Hand and Scott Pruett aren't just from the same town – they're also a perfect match inside the team's car. Drivers spend hours crafting perfect seat insets to contour their backs, but Hand slots into the car using Pruett's seat without an insert of his own. Cool.

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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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