With one hour remaining of the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona, all eyes were on the GT‘s with every other manufacturer now ganging up on the dominant Ford’s in the LM class. Back at the front, the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Milota crew continued to lead.
The hour saw a surprising bodywork failure from the #93 Acura NSX GT3 which brought out another caution.
The period started with all focus on the #63 Scuderia Corsa. After leading for a large portion, Sam Bird’s car locked its rear wheels stopping on the inside of turn six. A caution was called as the former contender was dragged back to the pits.
In the Prototype class, the #90 VisitFlorida Racing briefly took the lead as it was the only one of the three contenders not to pit during the caution at the top of the hour. Though a slow stop for Ryan Taylor’s #10, saw him fall to third behind the #5 Mustang Sampling Racing.
The #5 took the advantage, just two laps into going green. Felipe Albuquerque took this as an opportunity to build a gap over the #10, before Ryan Taylor responded. Rast was forced to make an extra pit stop putting the #90 finally out of contention, while the #10 and #5 diced in traffic.
After a race of excessive trouble, Starworks Motorsport officially retired their cars, while the #38 Performance Tech Motorsport extended its lead to 24 laps, as the only unaffected PC car.
GTLM was once again the category to watch, as Corvette Racing took the lead in the pits, despite falling back during the last hour. With Antonio Garcia in the #3, it would prove to be a challenge for the three chasing Ford Chip Ganassi Racing cars.
In the end though, Dirk Mueller’s #66 was the first to overthrow the Corvette as the #62 Ferrari machine looked to be the Ford’s only real remaining challenger.
GTD could still fall to any one of five teams, though it was the #33 Riley Motorsport Team AMG who started the hour on top. They had been slightly off the pace earlier in the race, but as their rivals fell around them it would be the #29 and the #28 who provided the strongest challenge, eventually passing the #33 with an hour remaining.
The #28 Alegra Motorsports car had been at the back of the leading group when the lights went green, but after overtaking three cars in as many laps, they begun to display their joker. Just entering the 24 hour race, it was all or nothing as Michael Christensen pushed the car into second behind Connor De Phillippi.
The hour ended under caution as the bonnet was ripped off the #93 Michael Shank Racing car.
Top 3 after 23 Hours
10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta – Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor ,Max Angelelli, Jeff Gordon
5 Mustang Sampling Racing – Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque, Christian Fittipaldi
90 VisitFlorida Racing – Marc Goossens, Renger van der Zande, Rene Rast
38 Performance Tech Motorsports – James French, Patricio O’Ward, Kyle Masson, Nicholas Boulle
26 BAR1 Motorsports – Tom Papadopoulos, Johnny Mowlem, Adam Merzon, Trent Hindman, David Cheng
20 BAR1 Motorsports – Don Yount, Buddy Rice, Mark Kvamme, Chapman Ducote,Gustavo Yacaman
66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – Dirk Mueller, Joey Hand, Sebastien Bourdais
62 Risi Competizione – Toni Vilander, Giancarlo Fisichella, James Calado
911 Porsche GT Team – Patrick Pilet, Dirk Werner, Frederic Makowiecki
29 Montaplast by Land-Motorsports – Connor De Phillippi, Jules Gounon, Jeffrey Schmidt, Christopher Mies
28 Alegra Motorsports – Michael Christensen, Carlos de Quesada, Michael de Quesada, Daniel Morad, Jesse Lazare
33 Riley Motorsports – Team AMG – Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Mario Fernbacher, Adam Christodoulou