Kamui Kobayashi is back in the lead in the No 48 Action Express Cadillac. Front and rear bodywork was changed during a yellow when Jimmie Johnson was in the car, and he said the undamaged body made a huge difference in lap times. Alex Lynn is second in the No. 02 CGR Cadillac, in which Kevin Magnussen set a new fast lap of 1m34.000s right before handing it over.
“It was good to get some some laps get into nice rhythm,” said Magnussen after his first stint. “There’s a lot of traffic this year compared to last year; it’s super busy so it was really fun. I was having a good time and the car was great. We were in a good spot and able to be consistent and fast and get the fuel saving done that we needed and stay out of trouble, so a good start.”
The penalties continue to pile up, seriously hampering the chances of many teams that might be contenders for class wins in the 60th Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier was leading LMP3 when it received a penalty for incident responsibility in contact with the No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW M4 while Seb Priaulx was at the wheel. That car is now in third, a lap down from the LMP3 leaders.
More serious were the penalties handed out to the No. 97 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG in the hands of Jules Gounon and the No. 14 VasserSullivan Lexus RC F GT3 driven by Ben Barnicoat in GTD Pro, and the No. 19 TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 (Giacomo Altoe) and the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (John Potter) having been handed 3m30s stops for improper final wave-by on the last caution. The No. 97 Mercedes-AMG and the No. 14 Lexus were one-two in GTD Pro when the penalties were announced.
As a result, the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari with Daniel Serra at the wheel is back in front of GTD Pro, with Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 2 KCMG Porsche 911 GT3R in second and Mathieu Jaminet in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche third.
Winward Racing is back in front in GTD, with Lucas Auer at the wheel of the No. 57 Mercedes-AMG, with Scott Andrews in the No. 32 Gilbert-Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG in second. Jan Heylen briefly led GTD in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche before handing the car over to Ralph Hardwick.
For now, LMP3 is a two car fight. Michael Cooper is leading in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier, with Jon Bennett in the No. 54 CORE Autosport Ligier in second.
Leaders after eight hours:
DPi: Kamui Kobayashi, No. 48 Action Express Racing Cadillac
LMP2: Rui Pinto de Andrade, Tower Motorsport ORECA
LMP3: Michael Cooper, No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier
GTD Pro: Daniel Serra, No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3
GTD: Lucas Auer, No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
News and Notes:
Electrical issues were the cause behind the problems for the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier LMP3. The car that had been in contention for a win is now six laps down.
By the Numbers: There are four IndyCar Series champions in the field, accounting for 12 titles. Drivers on the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac – Scott Dixon, Sebastien Bourdais and Alex Palou – account for all but one of those, the one earned by Simon Pagenaud on the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura. There are four Indianapolis 500 winners – Helio Castroneves, Dixon, Bourdais and Alexander Rossi – in the field. And, of course, one seven-time NASCAR Cup champion in Jimmie Johnson.