JDC-Miller Motorsports’ No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R held the race lead as the Rolex 24 at Daytona moved into its second half.
2013 FIA World Endurance champion Loic Duval was 15 seconds ahead of Ryan Briscoe in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R at half distance.
The No. 5 Cadillac DPi hadn’t featured in the lead battle until the transition from Saturday to Sunday in the 11th hour of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener.
It was fourth heading into the third Full Course Caution of the race, triggered at the start of Hour 11 after the No. 19 GEAR Racing by Grasser Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo stopped on the back straight, but the No. 5 car moved up to second in behind the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P with Olivier Pla at the helm.
However, Tristan Nunez picked up a drive-through penalty for the race-leading Mazda after the American passed cars under yellow flags.
This set up Duval to assume the lead while the No. 55 Mazda driven by Jonathan Bomarito moved up to second and the WTR Cadillac to third with Briscoe at the wheel.
Bomarito briefly took the lead himself with a move on Duval a few minutes’ after the caution restart, but Duval repaid the favor and went on to create some space at the head on the field with a string of quick laps.
An entertaining battle near the end of the eleventh hour saw the top five shuffle around, with Pipo Derani working his Action Express Cadillac past Briscoe and Bomarito before the WTR driver moved back into second.
At the close of the first 12 hours, a total of six DPi cars – three Cadillacs, two Mazdas and an Acura – were still on the lead lap.
BMW Fronts Intriguing GTLM Contest
In GT Le Mans, BMW Team RLL controlled the latter stages of the opening half following a spell of early dominance from the Porsche GT Team.
Porsche ran first and second in the opening four hours but the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE of John Edwards, Jesse Krohn, Chaz Mostert and Augusto Farfus provided a stern challenge as the race approached quarter distance.
Defending Rolex 24 winner Farfus put the BMW into the lead by overtaking Porsche’s Mathieu Jaminet in the 10th hour.
Risi Competizione’s Ferrari 488 GTE Evo picked up the pace after struggling with a power deficit and two punctures early on to the point of mounting a challenge to the BMW.
James Calado latched onto the tail of Edwards for several laps but couldn’t find a way of seizing the lead despite applying pressure.
The Risi Ferrari continues to be a fixture in the top five with the car running fourth behind the BMW and the two Porsches at the midway point.
The No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R has also been involved in the podium rotation. Its sister No. 4 car is still being worked on in its garage after an oil leak was found in Hour 10.
Paul Miller Racing’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo led the GT Daytona class at halfway with Bryan Sellers taking control of the class after the third caution of the race.
Sellers was sixth at the restart but made up multiple positions and took the lead in the middle of Hour 11 with a pass on the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Zacharie Robichon.
Other cars still involved in the lead battle include the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari, WRT Speedstar Audi and GRT Magnus Lamborghini.
The LMP2 class was led at 12 hours by PR1/Mathisen Motorsport’s Oreca 07 Gibson with Nick Boulle taking the pole-sitting car into the second half of the race.
DragonSpeed’s Oreca led the race for a couple of hours shortly after quarter distance after Ben Hanley overtook Boulle’s co-driver Simon Trummer on-track, but the positions switched back in the pits during the third caution.