Rolex 24 at Daytona: (More Than) Halfway Home


Well, it’s happened again.  Every year at the 24, I tell myself that I’m going to stay awake for the entire 24 hours.  Every year, I fail to make that happen.  This year, I knew I’d be up against the wall, though, as my recent move out west necessitated a visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles early this morning.  The earlier I wake up the morning of the 24, the earlier I fall asleep the night of the 24.

My first visit to the 24 saw me catch a cat-nap in the back seat of my Crown Victoria.  My second visit, I fell asleep drinking luke-warm coffee in the media center.  My third visit, I nodded off with my feet propped up on a plastic chair in the photography room.  This time, however, I counted sheep from the warm comfort of my office desk chair at home.  Unfortunately, this means my report is now late…  I’m sorry, Hoons.

A darkness has fallen over the race track, and everything settles into a nighttime rhythm.  The cars are breathing cooler air, and the sun is no longer in the drivers’ eyes.  Pounding out laps during the overnight hours is the important part of the race, as time probably won’t be made up, but it can certainly be lost with a tired mistake, or a hurried overtaking maneuver.  Keeping your nose clean overnight is critical for a victory.  As they say, “to finish first, you must first finish”.

At about 8:30 The race incurred another full course yellow period when James Sofronas spun the GMG GTD Audi R8.  The resulting shuffle had race leader Angelelli (at the time) who dropped to fourth.  About an hour of easy running later, the 009 Aston Martin came to a halt in the infield section, bringing out another caution period.

During the Ten O’Clock hour, the leading GTLM 91 Viper lost about 10 laps in the pits due to a power steering line failure.  This moved the team car #93 Viper of Bomarito into the lead, until he suffered some contact and needed a lengthy pit stop to repair that.  Both Vipers lost time to the Porsche team, who moved into a 1-2 position in GTLM just after 11PM.


Sebastian Saavedra ran his car off course, bringing out another yellow flag period.  Patrick Long’s #912 leads from the restart, but suffers a stop and hold penalty for “too many men over the wall” during their pit stop.  This moved the car back to fourth in class.

Just before midnight saw Nick Tandy in the #911 Porsche leading from Antonio Garcia’s Corvette in GTLM.  The battle was HOT for quite a while, within much less than a second.  The battle for overall lead stretches out, with the Action Express car well over 7 seconds ahead, but the second and third placed cars (Negri’s MSR Prototype and Dixon’s Ganassi Prototype respectively) was down to two tenths.

At 1:20 AM, James Kovacic spun his BAR1 LMPC car in the infield at the international horseshoe.  The car caught fire, and Kovacic was able to get out without further issue.  The fire was put out by the safety crew, and a full course yellow period started as a result.  


After spending a lot of time toward the front, both Corvette GTLM cars are having issues.  The #3 car suffering cooling issues, has gone behind the wall twice to attempt to fix the issue.

Memo Gidley, involved in that massive wreck during the first six hours, has been reported to have undergone surgery.  Both his left leg and left arm have received surgical care.  He has also been reported to be conscious and speaking.

Leaders at the 13 hour mark – 

 Prototype – #5 Action Express Racing Daytona Prototype – Christian Fittipaldi (1st overall)

GT Le Mans – #912 Porsche 911 RSR – Jorg Bergmeister (8th overall)

Prototype Challenge – #54 CORE autosport Oreca FLM09 – Colin Braun (12th overall)

GT Daytona – #555 Level 5 Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia – Townsend Bell (19th overall)

For updates, follow me on twitter @bcbrownell and @bavariandrive.

I promise I’ll try to stay awake for the 18 hour update just after 8 AM EST.

Photos provided by

Bradley C. Brownell is an Editor with, but he also contributes to his own site “BavarianDrive“. Head over there for more of his work.

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