Dane Cameron led the opening hour of Motul Petit Le Mans from his Acura Team Penske teammate Ricky Taylor, as two of the DPi entries encountered trouble in the early stages.
Cameron took full advantage of his pole position earned during qualifying on Friday to lead away at the green flag in the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 prototype, before going on to establish a 10-second lead over Taylor in the No. 7 machine after 60 minutes of racing.
The initial gap between the leading Penske cars came down just over 20 minutes into the 10-hour contest when a Full Course Yellow was called to facilitate the retrieval of Gabriel Aubry’s JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R which nosed into the Turn 1 tire barriers.
Aubry managed to limp the damaged Cadillac back to the pits, while the first sets of pit stops for all four classes took place under caution conditions.
Cameron held his lead over Taylor in the pits before going on to restore and extend his clearance at the head of the field.
Action Express Racing Cadillac driver Felipe Nasr spent the opening hour in third position but was coming under increasing pressure from Mazda Motorsports’ Tristan Nunez.
Fellow Mazda man Harry Tincknell initially ran fourth behind Nasr in the opening stages before the British driver went off in the heavy braking zone at Turn 10A.
Tincknell brought his Mazda RT24-P into the pits and behind the wall, where Multimatic mechanics carried out a front brake change that cost the No. 55 machine six laps.
The early incidents for Mazda and JDC-Miller reduced the number of DPi cars on the lead lap to six with nine hours remaining.
In GT Le Mans, pole-sitter Antonio Garcia dropped from first to fourth on the opening lap as the two Team RLL BMW M8 GTEs rose to first and second in the class.
Connor de Phillippi led the opening stint from his teammate John Edwards, while Porsche factory driver Laurens Vanthoor ran third ahead of Corvette Racing’s Garcia.
The order then shifted during the first round of stops under FCY conditions as Garcia moved back into the lead, ahead of Vanthoor and Tommy Milner in the other Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
Edwards and early leader de Phillippi emerged in fourth and sixth respectively, with Nick Tandy’s Porsche sandwiched in between.
GT Daytona was led initially by Scuderia Corsa Ferrari driver Jeff Westphal, who replaced pole-sitter Shinya Michini as the category front-runner on lap one.
However, an early green flag pit stop for Paul Miller Racing’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo enabled Madison Snow to rise to the head of the field once the rest of the cars came in during the FCY.
Snow led at the restart from Michimi in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo and Lars Kern in the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, while Scuderia Corsa’s Ferrari had dropped to fourth after Westphall stepped out for Cooper MacNeil.