HERITAGE VS. UPSTARTS – The GT battle has been fascinating with Magnus Racing taking on Brumos Racing, with Porsche Supercup champion Rene Rast (Magnus) showing the U.S. world his pace while Marc Lieb has kept the eternally active Brumos squad right on his heels. They've both clicked off laps under 1:49. Magnus, which has less than five years of experience in sports car racing, cast themselves in the guise of a “Star Wars” themed poster (LEFT) to describe them taking on the sports car establishment, thanks to the creativity of team principal and co-driver John Potter.
SHANK'S DEBUTANTES – Michael Shank hedged his bets with the veteran lineup of Ozz Negri, John Pew, Justin Wilson and AJ Allmendinger in his team's new third-gen Ford Riley, with its sister second-gen grandfathered car featuring Michael McDowell alongside debutantes Felipe Nasr, Gustavo Yacaman and Jorge Goncalvez. Put simply, the fact you haven't heard anything from them is remarkable – because with all three of them making their Rolex 24 and sports car debuts, and with Yacaman having a history of contact in his Indy Lights career, they've done outstanding to this point to keep the car not only on track but only a lap off the lead in fourth place.
Nasr, the young Brazilian who won the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge winner and British Formula 3 championship, described his experience to this point.
“It's been just unbelievable, and I was not expecting that at all,” Nasr said in typically ebullient Brazilian form. “I've overtaken more cars than I ever have.”
The car pitted before the race even started, but resumed without losing a lap after doing a proper systems check.
INTERLOPER UPDATE – Wilson's been the lead dog among the IndyCar contingent to this point, but he hasn't been the only non-regular figuring in the equation. Once again Graham Rahal is in a better position for Ganassi than Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, who went to the pits with a gear selection problem (coincidentally, that also affects the CGR NASCAR drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray). Doran's Ford Dallara has soldiered on with Paul Tracy continuing to pound around for laps.
The ALMS teams that have taken over the GT class have had less of a successful go to this point. Risi's No. 63 Ferrari and Flying Lizard's No. 45 Porsche have flirted with the top 10, while Extreme Speed's Ferrari fought through air jack and brake changes, Risi's other Ferrari retired to engine failure, and NGT and Paul Miller Porsches have been non-factors.