Rolex 24: 60th edition of IMSA’s Daytona classic is underway

The Rolex 24 at Daytona has begun in uncharacteristically frigid temperature conditions, with a total of 61 cars and 235 drivers spread across five classes.

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The Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 brought the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship field to the green at 1.40pm local time with temperatures at 46degF and a 20mph wind making it feel even colder.

Filipe Albuquerque had the Konica Minolta-sponsored #10 up front for less than a lap before he was demoted to third by new leader Tristan Vautier in the JDC Miller Motorsport Cadillac DPi-V.R and Kamui Kobayashi’s Action Express Racing Ally Cadillac. On the seventh lap, the former Formula 1 racer moved ahead of Vautier.

Tom Blomqvist ran fourth in the Meyer ShanK Racing Acura ahead of the two Ganassi Cadillacs of Sebastien Bourdais and Earl Bamber, with Pipo Derani seventh in the Whelen Engineering AXR Caddy. However, Blomqvist fell to the back of the class in the opening five laps.

The LMP2 field, whose front row comprised the two PR1 Mathiasen Motorsport Orecas, saw John Falb in the G-Drive Racing by APR #69 car vault ahead of Ben Keating and Steven Thomas, but he was adjudged to have jumped the start. Falb’s teammate Francois Heriau ran behind the PR1 Mathiasen duo. Fifth place was being held by DragonSpeed, Eric Lux starting the race in the car he shares with Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward and Devlin DeFrancesco.

Nine LMP3 cars started the race, Jarett Andretti retaining his pole-winning advantage to lead CR Crews and Efrin Castro in the Muehlner Motorsports entries.

The GTD Pro class, IMSA’s 2022 replacement for the GT Le Mans, is being led by Marco Mapelli in the TR3 Rcing Lamborghini Huracan, with Vasser Sullivan Racing’s new boy Ben Barnicoat holding second in the #14 Lexus RC F ahead of the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R driven by Mathieu Jaminet, Ross Gunn in the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage and Austin Cindric in the #15 WeatherTech Proton Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3.

However, both Barnicoat and Jaminet moved ahead of Mapelli on Lap 8, with Cindric also deposing Gunn.

The GTD leader Jon Miller in the Crucial Motorsports McLaren 720S ran ahead of all the GTD Pro cars, with Frederik Schandorff running second for Inception Racing and therefore making it a McLaren 1-2.

Russell Ward and Daniel Morad put the Winward and Alegra Mercedes AMGs in third and fourth ahead of the pro-am Lexus of Frankie Montecalvo.

NBC Sports has complete race coverage which began on NBC network at 1.30pm ET. Stints will follow on USA network (4.00-7.00pm Saturday; 10.00pm Saturday - 3.00am Sunday; 6am - 12 noon Sunday) before returning to NBC for the conclusion from noon-2.00pm Sunday.

Peacock, IMSA’s livestream home, has flag-to-flag coverage of all 24 hours in the U.S.

The international livestream is available in most countries outside the U.S. at IMSA.com/TVLive. IMSA Radio also has complete coverage beginning at 12.30pm Saturday.

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