Acura, Porsche Battle for GTP Class Lead During First Six Hours of Rolex 24
The opening hour plus of the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona started off with the pole sitting Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06 controlling the field with Tom Blomqvist behind the wheel. Blomqvist held the point even through the first round of pit stops as the other Acura fielded by Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport over took the second place position over Sebastien Bourdais' Cadillac.
Further down the GTP field, disaster struck for the No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8 of Nick Yelloly as his car suffered a hybrid system issue. The car would return during the fourth hour of the race well behind the front runners. Over the course of the next five hours, the GTP class lead would bounce between both the Acura machines as well as both Porsches fielded by Penske Racing. With three full course yellows during the first quarter of the race, the field has been kept relatively close with neither manufacturer gaining the advantage over the other. Late in the first six hours, the No. 7 Penske Racing Porsche 963 went behind the wall due to an electrical system issue.
The LMP2 class was led early by Ben Keating, who started on the pole in his No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca. However, over the course of the first six hours, the No. 52 would fade back giving the top spots to the No. 11 of TDS Racing, No. 55 of Proton Competition and the No. 35 of TDS Racing.
(Photo courtesy of PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports)
In the LMP3 class, two cars have shared a back and forth battle for the class lead. Andretti Autosport's No. 36 and Sean Creech Motorsports No. 33 have exchanged the lead multiple times over the course of the first six hours. Multiple Rolex 24 Hours winner Riley Motorsport was forced to retire early on the contest due to an engine failure of its Ligier JS P320-Nissan.
The GTD Pro class has been dominated over the course of the first six hours by three different manufacturers. While the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 led the field early on, Corvette Racing and the Heart of Racing Aston Martin have kept up the pace and battled amongst each other for the top spot.
(Photo courtesy of Richard Prince/Corvette Racing)
In the GTD class, Team Korthoff Motorsports has held the point for a majority of the opening six hours. However, the Heart of Racing Aston Martin and the SunEnergy Mercedes AMG have kept the pace to the Team Korthoff team, exchanging the top spot numerous times amongst the three teams.