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Multi-Car Crash Causes Caution on Four Hours; Taylor Leads

Collision among GT pack causes lengthy FCY at Road Atlanta; Taylor leads overall…

Image: IMSA

A multi-car accident in the GT pack caused the sixth caution period of Motul Petit Le Mans as the field approached a restart shortly after the four-hour mark.

The No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R from the GT Le Mans class and half a dozen cars from GT Daytona were involved in the collision on the run down to Turn 10.

Jordan Taylor was in the Corvette Racing car and was pictured walking away from the incident after striking the back of Brendan Iribe’s McLaren 720S GT3. All drivers were reported to be OK as the cleanup commenced.

Vasser Sullivan’s No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos from Winward Racing and Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports, the Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo and Turner Motorsport’s BMW M6 GT3 were also impacted.

The incident occurred as the field was preparing to take a restart at the start of the fourth hour, which marked the first points distribution checkpoint for the Michelin Endurance Cup.

Ricky Taylor led the race overall to claim the maximum of five points for Acura DPi outfit Wayne Taylor Racing.

The maximum score put Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Alexander Rossi in prime position to seal the MEC title, with Mazda’s Oliver Jarvis, Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito needing to be in the lead at eight hours and the finish to reverse the order.

Mazda’s No. 55 DPi entry lost three laps due to a spark plug issue when Jarvis was leading the race. The Brit has since gained a lap back through a caution period.

That episode after three hours promoted the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R of Tristan Vautier into the lead, but the Frenchman shuffled back to fourth a few minutes later during a round of pit stops in the DPi category.

Helio Castroneves emerged as the leader in Meyer Shank Racing’s Acura, but the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner dropped to second behind Taylor when he got caught behind a GT Daytona car through the Esses and took avoiding action across the grass.

Taylor led through to the three-hour, 45-minute mark when the fifth caution period of the day occurred after an off for the No. 7 Duqueine LMP3 at the top of the Esses.

He was preparing to take the restart ahead of Vautier’s teammate Loic Duval, Action Express Racing’s Mike Conway and Meyer Shank Racing’s Juan Pablo Montoya when the GT collision unfolded.

Tommy Milner scored five MEC points for the No. 4 Corvette Racing crew as the class leader on four hours.

The Corvettes had been involved in an entertaining battle with the two BMW M8 GTEs through the opening four hours of the race.

WeatherTech Racing’s Porsche 911 RSR-19s both remain on the lead lap, with the No. 97 recovering from an early puncture that set Frederic Makowiecki off the lead lap.

Patrick Long led the GTD category on four hours in a strategic move to gain MEC points for the Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

A potential major title implication occurred in the second hour when Paul Miller Racing’s Lamborghini sustained right-front damage after contact with the No. 7 Duqueine.

The incident on four hours also impacted the runs of several potential podium contenders including Grasser Racing Team and Vasser Sullivan.

Crucially, the points-leading Pfaff Motorsports Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor, Zacharie Robichon and Lars Kern was not involved and remains on course for the title.

PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports led the LMP2 class after four hours, in front of the Tower Motorsport Oreca 07 Gibson.

The LMP3 class had Garett Grist at the head of the field for the Jr III Racing team, with Felipe Fraga in second for Riley Motorsports. Those were the only two LMP3 cars ahead of the GTLM field when the sixth caution period occurred.

Correction: the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R collided with the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3, not the No. 19 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo as stated in an earlier version of this article.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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