Contact between Tristan Vautier and a GT Daytona front-runner forced JDC-Miller Motorsports to bring its No. 5 Mustang Sampling-sponsored Cadillac DPi-V.R into the garage for significant repairs during the tenth hour of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Vautier and Wright Motorsports Porsche driver Jan Heylen, who was running fourth in GTD, came together at Turn 1 with just under 15 hours left on the clock. The Pfaff Motorsports GTD-contending Porsche was also involved in the collision.
The strike resulted in Heylen and Vautier’s cars going behind the wall and led to JDC’s mechanics carrying out extensive work to the underside of their vehicle, which had been in front at several key stages of the early running.
Wright returned its Porsche to the track after a much briefer check and installed Patrick Long, who emerged outside his category’s top 10.
The incident did not result in a full course yellow period for a race that has been green since the seventh hour.
At the head of the field, Renger van der Zande leapfrogged Jimmie Johnson during a 10th-hour pit cycle to seize the lead for Chip Ganassi Racing.
The Cadillacs from Ganassi and Action Express Racing Cadillac have traded the upper hand since the fifth and most recent FCY restart during hour seven.
Kamui Kobayashi, who handed over to NASCAR legend Johnson, stretched AXR’s lead over the No. 01 Ganassi machine to around 15 seconds through the eighth and ninth hours, before van der Zande reduced the gap between the Cadillacs over the next stint.
Vautier’s co-driver Duval had been involved in the lead fight for JDC-Miller before the Frenchman incurred a drive-through for jumping the seventh-hour restart.
The GT Le Mans category has so far been controlled by Corvette Racing, with Nick Tandy fronting the class in the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R after nine and a half hours.
Tandy took the lead during a recent round of pit stops after his co-driver Tommy Milner tailed Antonio Garcia during the previous stint.
Jules Gounon is third in the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE Evo which has recovered from an early drive-through for contact with an LMP3 competitor.
Gounon has 14 seconds to make up to second position, while John Edwards is a further 13 seconds back in the best of the Team RLL BMW M8 GTEs.
Ferrari squad AF Corse has led the GTD field for at least an hour courtesy of a strong stint from Matteo Cressoni.
The Italian’s growing cushion over Paul Miller Racing’s Corey Lewis stood at approximately 40 seconds before he handed the reins of the No. 21 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 over to Simon Mann at nine and a half hours.
Aaron Telitz is third for the Vasser Sullivan Lexus squad, ahead of Pfaff Motorsports Porsche driver Zach Robichon and SunEnergy1 Racing’s Raffaele Marciello.
WIN Autosport is still at the head of LMP2 with Steven Thomas working to keep up a half-minute gap to Starworks driver Gabriel Aubry.
A similar margin separates the top-two in the LMP3 division, which has Stevan McAleer of Muelhner Motorsports America leading from Joao Barbosa from Sean Creech Motorsport.