Scott Dixon, driving a Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley, led Antonio Garcia's Brumos Racing Porsche Riley seven hours into the 47th running of the 24 Hours of Daytona. The Penske Racing Porsche Riley of Timo Bernhard was third, followed by Joao Barbosa in the second Brumos entry and the Doran Racing Ford Dallara driven by Matteo Bobbi. The top six cars were on the lead lap.
"It's still early," said Buddy Rice, after a stint behind the wheel of the second-place Brumos Porsche. "We have a lot of work to do. We've been in this position the last few years and had issues. So right now we just need to make it to mid-day tomorrow afternoon. We just need to make it through the night right now."
Porsches held down three of the top-five spots, showing remarkable speed on the Daytona high banks. But as the Porsches continued to stretch their legs, several potential contenders experienced difficulties in the early evening hours. An unscheduled stop during the race's sixth hour to replace a broken front splitter left the No. 01 Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley - last year's winner - in 10th, two laps down to the leaders and one position behind the SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara. The splitter was damaged when Memo Rojas hit a curb.
Last year's second-place finishing Gainsco Pontiac Riley lay six laps behind the leaders due to a lengthy stop to replace a gear cluster in the gearbox. The problems started when three-time and reigning NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was in the car. "The clutch was creaking real bad and I was trying to get the car into gear," said Johnson. "I broke the gearbox trying to get into first gear and I feel terrible for the guys."
Electrical problems left the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley unofficially out of the race, while engine crank sensor issues forced the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola to retire from the event. "Starting on Lap 2, I just came out of Turn 3 and went from first to second gear and lost all power," said Darren Turner, who was behind the wheel at the time.
In the GT class, Banner Racing's Pontiac GXP.R of Jan Magnussen led the FarnbacherLoles Porsches driven by Dirk Werner and Dominik Farnbacher, respectively.
The race has thus far featured eight different overall leaders and seven cautions for 31 laps.