DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It’s coming down to it at Daytona and it’s looking like Action Express Racing will have to take the battle to the Porsches by themselves.
The Chip Ganassi Racing team was forced to retire from the race in the 14th hour after the car died on Renger van der Zande. Electronics were to blame.
Both BMWs also ran into trouble. Dries Vanthoor stalled the No. 24 and brought out a yellow. The No. 25 had an eight-lap stint in the garage as well.
The issues more or less have narrowed the contenders for the win to just three teams despite six being on the lead lap. Jack Aitken spent hours with Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Mathieu Jaminet giving chase. Matt Campbell was not too far behind the both of them.
Jaminet was able to eventually take the lead away and drove into the distance. However, trouble was not far away.
At the end of six hours, Aitken was once again in front with the No. 7 Porsche of Matt Campbell giving chase, 1.432 seconds back. Jaminet in the second Porsche was third, but was in the process of serving a stop and 10-second penalty for violating energy parameters. It was the third such penalty of the race for the team.
The LMP2 class saw an exciting battle for the lead between CrowdStrike Racing by APR’s Malthe Jakobsen and Era Motorsport’s Connor Zilisch. The two drivers battled hard for the lead with Zilisch setting picks that allowed him to keep the advantage.
The battle only ended when the two drivers pitted at the same time. Zilisch got out of the No. 18 in favor of Ryan Dalziel while Jakobsen remained in his car. Jakobsen won the race off pit road to take the class lead. Despite that, Zilisch was very happy with his stint.
Jakobsen led at the 18-hour mark by 5.070 seconds over Dalziel. Inter Europol Competition with PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Pietro Fittipaldi was third, then Riley Motorsports’ Josh Burdon and United Autosports’ Nico Pino.
In GTD Pro, the No. 3 Corvette was very quick and seemed to command the race from the front. Their main rival was the Risi Competizione Ferrari driven by Davide Rigon. The Risi team then made a error on a pit stop. The fire extinguisher man was not in his proper position, which led to a drive-through penalty that dropped the No. 62 back.
As the race continued on, the No. 3 Corvette…