The 2023 IMSA SportsCar Championship season started 3 hours ago with the 24h of Daytona and under a beautiful sun that illuminates the Florida track, the first 180′ of the race have already given the first emotions.
From the start there was no shortage of overtaking and some controversial contacts, but the first important twist came after less than an hour of racing, when the #25 BMW driven by Nick Yelloly parked in the escape route and raised the white flag.
The M Hybrid V8 was taken over by Team RLL technicians who brought it back to the garage and disassembled it at the rear to try and solve an alleged problem with the hybrid system.
Moments later the #7 Porsche also slowed down dramatically and Felipe Nasr covered half a lap at a crawl before being able to restart thanks to a reset of his 963 LMDh, clearly finishing at the bottom of the GTP category standings.
Two neutralizations so far with Full Course Yellow and Safety Car. The first was due to a contact that sent the Oreca #8 of Tower Motorsport out at the start, which lost a lot of time in the pits before being able to come back, obviously as a tail light.
#60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb Agajanian Acura ARX-06: Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud
Photo by: Bob Meyer
The second occurred at the stroke of the second hour, when Robert Megennis spun in turn 1 going to a stop against the external barriers with his Lamborghini #42. The NTE Sport driver was able to restart and regain the pits, while several of them chose to bring forward the scheduled pit stop and the standings came out quite shuffled, also because some cars found themselves with the pit lane closed and therefore forced to stop at the red light.
In all the chaos of the various stops, several penalties were finally imposed for infractions committed in the pit lane. The Ferraris of AF Corse (#21) and Risi Competizione (#62), the Lamborghinis #83 and #19 of Iron Lynx, the BMW LMDh #24, the LMP3 #36 and the Aston Martin #64 paid for a Drive-Through by TGM-TF. The #80 AO Racing Porsche instead had to serve 10″, as did the #38 LMP3, while the #87 was given 10″.
The restart from the last neutralization saw the #01 Cadillac of Chip Ganassi Racing take the lead, pressed by the #60 Acura of Meyer Shank Racing-Curb Agajanian which until then had been comfortably in control of the situation between the GTPs.
Third was the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura, closely followed by the #6 Porsche of Team Penske and the #31 Cadillac of Action Express Racing. The latter two had contact during the first hour, when Pipo Derani touched the rear of Nick Tandy’s 963 in turn 1, sending him wide; no action was taken by the judges for the episode.
The LMDh classification sees the #02 Cadillac of Chip Ganassi Racing in sixth place, behind which is the #7 Porsche 963 of Team Penske and the only surviving BMW of Team RLL, even if the #24 never had a a big step compared to the rivals right from the start.
#52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07: Ben Keating, Paul-Loup Chatin, Alex Quinn, Nicolas Lapierre
Photo by: Art Fleischmann
The FCY of the third hour nullified the large advantage that the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca #52 had deservedly built starting with the excellent Ben Keating. Now only a handful of seconds separate it from the #55 of Proton Competition on which Francsco Pizzi got on, while the #11 and #35 of TDS Racing are chasing in third and fourth place.
Top 5 for the 07-Gibson #04 of Crowdstrike Racing by APR, chased by the #18 of Era Motorsport, while the #88 of AF Corse, which was on the podium in the early stages, slipped to seventh.
The #51 of Rick Ware Racing and the #20 of High Class Racing complete the list, while the #8 of Tower Motorsport is back in the race, but remains behind the general group.
After a start from the rear, in Class LMP3 the AWA Duqueine #13 took the lead and wide ahead of the #85 JDC Miller Motorsports and the Ligier #33 of Sean Creech Motorsport.
The #74 of Riley had to stop in the pits, so the #43 of MRS GT-Racing gains fourth place, with the #36 of Andretti Autosport and the #17 of AWA Duqueine behind. FastMD Racing’s Duqueine #87 is further away after problems at the start.
#3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD: Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor, Tommy Milner
Photo by: Bob Meyer
In GTD the Mercedes had started very strong, but they found themselves again in battle with their rivals. Among the PROs now first we have the #3 Corvette which is being attacked by Vasser Sullivan’s #14 Lexus and Heart Of Racing’s #23 Aston Martin Vantage.
The Mercedes #79 of WeatherTech Racing-Proton is further behind, the Lamborghini #63 of Iron Lynx is fifth, while the Ferrari #62 of Risi Competizione is sixth, suffering like the BMW #95 of Turner Motorsport and the Porsche #9 of Pfaff Motorsport who follow it.
The Porsche #53 of MDK Motorsports and the Aston Martin #64 of TGM-TF Sport close the category standings.
Finally, in GTD the Mercedes-AMG #32 of Team Korthoff Motorsports leads, also here with a Lexus (#12 of Vasser Sullivan) to aspire to the primacy. Third was the Mercedes #57 of Winward Racing, which had come off the back end after having changed the chassis after the crash in Free Practice.
In fourth place went the McLaren #70 of Inception Racing, pulling behind the Aston Martin #44 of Magnus Racing, the Aston Martin #27 of Heart Of Racing, the Acura #93 of Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR and the Mercedes #75 of Sun Energy 1.
In the Top10 we also find the Acura NSX #66 of Gradient Racing and the Lamborghini #78 of US Racetronics. Ferrari #47 of Cetilar Racing ended up out, behind the other 296 prepared by AF Corse (#21) and Triarsi Competizione (#023).
IMSA – 24h di Daytona: Live Timing