Pat Jennings, Grand-Am correspondent
Three-time Formula 1 world champion Jackie Stewart dropped the green flag Saturday afternoon on the 50th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. The pole sitting Starworks Motorsports’ Ryan Dalziel led the 59-car field to the start under clear and sunny skies, with temperatures approaching 70 degrees.
After one hour, Alex Gurney (Gainsco Bob Stallings Racing) led Oswaldo Negri, Jr. (Michael Shank Racing), Scott Dixon (Ganassi Racing), Enzo Potolicchio (Starworks), and Scott Pruett (Ganassi) in the overall standings.
This is the first race for the third generation of Daytona Prototypes, which feature sleeker bodywork and smaller greenhouses, and two of those new cars – both Corvettes – had already experienced engine problems in the early going. The Sun Trust Racing entry was in the garage and had lost almost 20 laps to the leaders. While the No. 5 Action Express car had experienced problems with its engine control unit, which the team was able to repair on the pit lane.
In the GT class, Marco Holzer, driving the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche, held a narrow lead over the Brumos Porsche, the Flying Lizard Porsche, the Stevenson Motorsport Camaro, and the Magnus Racing Porsche.
Fourteen Daytona Prototypes and 45 GT cars started the race. The Daytona Prototype field features five Corvettes, seven Rileys, one Dallara, and one Lola. Six of those cars are powered by Ford engines, five by Chevrolet, and three by BMW. The GT ranks feature 23 Porsches, 5 Ferrari 458s, seven Mazda RX-8s, three Camaro GT.Rs, two Audi R8 Grand-Ams, two BMW M3s, one Dodge Viper, one Mustang, and one Corvette.
Motorsport.com will feature additional updates throughout the race.