Trends becoming obvious as night falls on Rolex 24 at Daytona

The two Ganassi BMW Rileys are fast, the No. 2 Starworks Ford is also strong and the Corvettes are still competitive. Ferrari, Camaro and Audi are beating the Porsches in GT. The GX class is not ready for a 24 hour event.

Nighttime has enveloped the Daytona International Speedway and several trends seem to be emerging three hours into the 51st Rolex 24. One trend is obvious. The two Ganassi BMW Rileys are fast. The pole sitting No. 01 car has led most of the first three hours of the race and the No. 02 entry has run steadily in the top-four. The additional rpms Grand-Am granted the BMW motor over the offseason seem to have made the car faster – at least at Daytona. This speed combined with the resources available at Ganassi will make these two cars difficult to beat if they don’t encounter any major problems.

The lead Starworks entry, the No. 2 Ford Riley, also looks strong. The Ford engines may not be as fast as they were last year. But with a lineup consisting of Ryan Dalziel, Sebastien Bourdais, Allan McNish, and Alex Popow, the Starworks car looks capable of challenging for the win. The rest of the Fords do not look as strong. Only one other Ford was running in the top-10 after three hours.

#2 Starworks with Alex Popow Ford Riley: Sébastien Bourdais, Ryan Dalziel, Allan McNish, Alex Popow
#2 Starworks with Alex Popow Ford Riley: Sébastien Bourdais, Ryan Dalziel, Allan McNish, Alex Popow

Photo by: Jackie Buys

The Chevy-powered Corvette DPs do not appear to be as slow as some thought they might be. After three hours, there were five Vettes in the top-eight. At one point, Wayne Taylor Racing driver Max Angelelli was matching Scott Pruett’s lap times in the leading Ganassi car. Angelelli said he could not match Pruett’s pace on the straights, however. Were the Chevy teams sandbagging in practice and qualifying? That is not clear. But it is clear that the Chevys are still competitive in the DP class.

The six Ferrari 458s and four Audi R8s have added diversity to the GT class field and have kept the race from being a Porsche parade. Halfway through the fourth hour, Ferrari, Camaro, Audi and Porsche held down the top-four respective spots in GT.

Finally, the six-car GX class may not yet be ready for a 24-hour race. All three Mazda 6s have been off of the track for extended periods of time and it seems unlikely any of them will make it to the halfway point, let alone the finish line. The other three cars in the class – all Porsche Caymans – are well off the pace of their GT brethren.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Allan McNish , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Sébastien Bourdais , Max Angelelli , Alex Popow
Teams Wayne Taylor Racing
Article type Breaking news
Tags audi, bmw, camaro, corvette, daytona, ferrari, ford, grandam, porsche, rolex24