MSA Wire: Cadillac DPis Running Strong Through First Four Hours of 55th Rolex 24

Cadillac DPis Running Strong Through First Four Hours of 55th Rolex 24

Jan. 28, 2017

Steven Cole Smith

IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The sun has gone down, and so has the temperature – the cool but sunny conditions Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., when the 55th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona took the green flag, are long gone. Four hours into the twice-around-the-clock endurance race, teams are watching the sky – and the weather radar – wondering if the rain the has remained just north of Daytona International Speedway will drift south. The temperature, currently 53 degrees, will drop to the mid-40s by the middle of the night.

Rain would make a long night even longer, as there has already been some attrition among the field of 55 cars. The leaders have covered 125 laps on the 3.56-mile infield roar course, and there are 10 cars that are more than 20 laps behind, including some promising entries like the No. 73 Park Place Porsche 911 GT3 R, sidelined when the No. 26 BAR1 Prototype Challenge car ran off into the grass, and slid into the Porsche when it got back on the pavement.

Also a surprise is the No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3, which has retired from the race due to a crash by driver Scott Pruett, who spun and hit the wall. “I felt like I got a little nudge from behind,” he said, possibly from a Corvette. “It’s just frustrating. It’s not how you want to get things going.”

The drivers of the three Cadillac DPi-V.R Prototypes seem to be having the most fun of anyone, absolutely dominating the first quarter of the race, swapping the lead between the No. 5 and 31 Action Express cars, and the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Cadillac, that car driven twice by four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon.

Gordon led the race during a caution period, but he admits he has some work to do to perfect his restarts. “These are crazier than NASCAR!” he said. “But I had a great time… it’s amazing. There’s an incredible crowd out here, so many cool cars, it’s a phenomenal race. And that’s why I want to be here and be a part of it.”

At the four-hour mark the No. 10 Cadillac was out front, followed by the No. 31 and No. 5, with the first non-Cadillac in fourth place, the No. 90 Visit Florida Multimatic/Riley P2 car. In Prototype Challenge, the No. 38 Performance Tech entry was leading.

In GT Le Mans, the No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT was out front, followed by the No. 3 Corvette Racing C7.R. And in GT Daytona, the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 was leading GT Daytona ahead of the No. 50 WeatherTech Mercedes AMG GT3.

We’ll have another report eight hours into the race. Presently, the race is airing on FS2, and radio coverage can also be found at IMSA.com.

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