Ben Keating the first victim of the soaked track.
BRASELTON, Georgia – Well, that didn’t take long: About four minutes for the first caution flag in the 10-hour Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta, where – like on Friday – precipitation that is somewhere between light rain and drizzle has drenched the track and saturated the ground.
The first victim of the soaked pavement: Ben Keating, driver and owner of the No. 33 GT Daytona ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper GT3-R, who hydroplaned and spun into the tire wall hard, damaging the rear of the car. Keating was able to drive back to the pits, but work continues on the car.
Meanwhile, polesitter and points letter Richard Westbrook in the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Chevrolet Corvette DP is leading, with Christian Fittipaldi a close second in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP.
The No. 01 Ford Ecoboost Chip Ganassi Racing driven by Joey Hand had to start from the pits after having alternator problems in the warm-up, then had to serve a penalty for that after the first restart. The No. 11 Prototype Challenge car of Chris Cumming stopped on track and then visited the pits, and the No. 8 PC car also made an early pit stop, as did the No. 70 Mazda Prototype of Tristan Nunez for a fogged windshield. The No. 38 PC car has not made a full lap.
The two Porsche North America GT Le Mans cars, Nos. 911 and 912, both started from the rear – 911 was too low in inspection, and 912 went to a backup after crashing during qualifying, despite the fact that driver Earl Bamber set fast time in GTLM. The 912 has already made a pit stop.
Also, the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Honda Ligier, which crashed hard in Thursday practice, crashed in warmup this morning. As they did Thursday, the Road Atlanta-based DeltaWing team pitched in to help the var get back on track. Ozz Negri is presently seventh in class.
It will be a long day at Road Atlanta unless the weather improves, and the forecast is for more of the same at least until later in the afternoon.