Chip Ganassi Racing remains out front as the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona reaches the six-hour mark and the first points-scoring opportunity for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.
The No. 01 Riley-Ford DP of Joey Hand holds a narrow one-second margin over the sister entry driven by Tony Kanaan, in what’s turned into an early dominant run for the Ford EcoBoost-powered cars.
AJ Allmendinger runs in third aboard the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda, which has crucially remained on the lead lap, along with the Corvette DP entries from Action Express Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing, which complete the top-five overall.
While the race started to get into a rhythm, trouble struck a number of contenders late in the sixth hour.
The No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America of Martin Ragginger stopped on track with gearbox problems, bringing out the fourth full-course caution.
Ragginger’s co-driver, Marco Seefried, had led GT Daytona earlier in the hour but had lost sixth gear shortly after, prior to more serious issues.
The No. 57 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd has been retired after losing oil pressure. Alex Brundle brought the green prototype into the pits with smoke visible from the rear of the car after running solidly inside the top -10.
There’s also been continuing dramas for the Wayne Taylor Racing entry, which battled early race electrical issues and made a stop while under the yellow to check under the engine cover. It, however, has remained on the tail end of the lead lap.
Prototype Challenge has quickly turned into a race of attrition with the No. 54 CORE autosport Oreca FLM09 of Mark Wilkins now out front, after issues for no fewer than five of its competitors, including four that had been in the class lead.
The latest PC car to hit trouble was the No. 38 Performance Tech entry of Jerome Mee, who went behind the wall after being out front in the hands of Sean Johnston.
Corvette Racing holds 1-2 in GT Le Mans, with Jan Magnussen narrowly ahead of the sister No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin, with the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari of Oliver Beretta in third.
Following Magnus’ drama, Riley Motorsports’ Kuno Wittmer is out front in GT Daytona, with his No. 93 Dodge Viper GT3-R ahead of Jeff Segal (Scuderia Corsa) and Bryce Miller (Paul Miller Racing).
The No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3, which lost significant time early with gearbox issues, returned to action in the fifth hour.