Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

Taylor Leads First Hour at Petit Le Mans

Ricky Taylor leads under yellow at Petit Le Mans…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

We’re under the second full course caution of the race as the 17th Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda crosses over the one-hour mark of the 10-hour enduro.

Leaders are Ricky Taylor (Prototype, overall), Duncan Ende (Prototype Challenge), Nick Tandy (GT Le Mans) and Jan Heylen (GT Daytona).

Taylor assumed the overall lead 58 minutes into the race once Katherine Legge pitted the race-leading DeltaWing coupe.

The DeltaWing was able to run longer on the first stint and held the lead just prior to this caution, caused when the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America got stuck in the gravel at the outside of Turn 10.

In the first hour, three championships have been unofficially clinched. By starting, the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP has taken the Prototype Team’s championship and Joao Barbosa, who completed his 45 minutes of minimum drive time, the Driver’s championship. Teammate and polesitter Christian Fittipaldi is in now to do his 45 minutes.

Additionally, AIM Autosport has secured the GT Daytona Team’s Championship in the four-race Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup; Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler and Conrad Grunewald drive the No. 555 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 this race.

As for the rest of the first hour, the first caution flew after 13 minutes when Eric Lux spun exiting Turn 7 in the No. 25 8Star Motorsports Oreca FLM09. He recovered but it cost the team several laps, as they seek their third straight class win.

Both the No. 56 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE (false start) and No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 (passed before a restart) were issued drive through penalties. The RLL lost a lap while the Turner car, crucially, didn’t.

Pit stops began on Lap 32 with Ricky Taylor, the leader, pitting the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP at 45 minutes into the race. The sister Corvette DPs from Action Express Racing were in a lap later, followed by the rest of the Prototype class cars.

Problems struck the No. 42 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda just before the one-hour mark. Alex Brundle made it from 47th on the overall grid up to sixth, but on his first pit stop the team took the engine cover off the car. Brundle resumed but lost three laps, effectively halting his charge.

Ende, the PC leader, and the majority of the GT field pitted at the one-hour mark. The race was due to go back to green shortly after that.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony

Click to comment

More in WeatherTech Championship