2018 Rolex 24 At Daytona: Hour 19 Update – Conway Drops Back Due to Overheating


Credit: Michael Levitt/LAT Images

Whelen Engineering‘s bid for victory in the 2018 Rolex 24 At Daytona sprung a leak as Mike Conway lost three laps while the car was refilled with water in the 19th hour.

The #31 Cadillac suffered the same issued that afflicted their Action Express Racing team-mates, the #5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac as overheating meant the car had to stop and be refilled with water.

Unlike the #5 entry, Conway’s stop was under green flag running and therefore lost a lot of time to the leader.

The hour began with the green flag waving and the two Action Express Racing cars were both on the lead lap and only separated by the fourth place #54 CORE Autosports ORECA of Colin Braun.

Although Christian Fittipaldi made the perfect restart, Braun was feeling racy and stayed with the leader before diving down the inside of Fittipaldi at the International Horseshoe to get a lap back.

The move brought Conway onto the back of Fittipaldi, but despite being separated by less than a second for a number of laps, he was unable to find a way by.

Conway soon started to haemorrhage time to Fittipaldi and was diagnosed with a similar overheating problem that was affecting the sister car.

This meant that Conway had to pit in order to have water pumped into the car but unfortunately was forced to stop under green conditions.

The team lost three laps rectifying the problem, as Fittipaldi, his overheating problems seemingly cured, was left with a comfortable lead.

Braun’s pass of Fittipaldi had put him on the same lap of the third place #32 United Autosports Ligier of Will Owen and in his quest to catch up, pulled away from the leaders, setting the fastest prototype times taking up to two seconds a lap out of Owen.

Third place was gained when clutch problems the prevented the #32 from leaving its pit-stop.

The #32 eventually got away with Paul Di Resta behind the wheel but minus a clutch, in fifth behind Ho-Ping Tung in the #78 Jackie Chan DCR JOTA ORECA.

More problems struck the #23 United Autosports Ligier which has Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso as its drivers, it went behind the wall for a period of time.

The caution period had wiped out the Ford Chip Ganassi cars huge lead in GTLM and had allowed the #3 Corvette of Mike Rockenfeller right onto the back of the #67 Ford of Ryan Briscoe at the restart.

The caution period wiped out the comfortable lead Ford enjoyed at the head of GTLM but the top three positions remained the same. Credit: Jake Galstad/LAT Images

Yet he was unable to find a way by and there was no chance throughout, with Dirk Mueller in the #66 leading Briscoe and Rockenfeller.

Adam Christodoulou in the #33 Mercedes Team Riley, lead GTD due to the pitstops but the momentum is with the #11 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini of Mirko Bortolotti.

The lime green Lambo had started last due to a qualifying infringement, but halfway through the hour he got the better of Madison Snow in the #48 Paul Miller Motorsports Lamborghini to take the lead of the category..

Trent Hindman in the #86 Michael Shank Acura lies in third place.

The #29 Monaplast Land Audi of Christopher Mies had finally been able to get back onto the lead lap in 6th place, but soon dropped off it after receiving a pit penalty for improper pass of the safety car.

The #51 Spirit of Racing Ferrari challenge suffered a major setback when Paul Dalla Lana went off at the bus stop chicane and made heavy contact with the tyre barriers.