After two thirds of the scheduled day-long event, it is the #01 Chip Ganassi Cadillac that leads the way at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
The American marque was able to power past the Porsche late in the night, and was able to bring the #02 team-mate up to second place as well. It was over an hour later when Tom Blomqvist pulled into second place with his #60.
The #6 Porsche rode around in third after losing those positions, and then had a quick trip through the grass that necessitated some change of bodywork.
A few hours before, just as the 12 hour milestone passed, one of the front-running Acuras had a costly problem with a bit of routine maintenance.
The crews for the dual Acura prototypes of Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing both had to scramble to flush their car’s oil systems, which included taking off the engine cover and rear wing.
The #10 Acura lost the most time in the process, however, because a busted oil filler forced the car behind the wall for a couple minutes to replace the broken part. The prototype ended up two laps down from a comfortable third place position.
After the initial chaos in the Acura pits, the race settled down into a rhythm that allowed the dark hours to pass with ease.
There was one caution period for the #64 TF Sport Aston Martin which collided with the barriers just where the cars get back onto the banking of the oval after the infield section.
The ensuing pit stops mixed up the order a bit, and in the 15th hour a fight for the lead materialized among Porsche and Cadillac.
Sebastien Bourdais put his #01 into the top spot with little effort, and leads the #60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura and the #02 Cadillac in third position.
Unfortunately the third Cadillac had troubles around the same moment as the others were fighting for the lead, and the #31 Whelen Engineering car drove straight to the garage after suffering gearbox troubles caused by a GT collision. The team returned to the track after a lightning-quick 30-minute rear end change.
In LMP2, it is the #04 Crowdstrike Racing entry that currently sits at the top of the class charts. The #35 TDS Racing Oreca runs behind in second position a few seconds behind.
Ben Keating received a stop / go penalty for getting service in a closed pit, which dropped the #52 entry down to fifth in class.
LMP3 was particularly quiet during the overnight hours, and the #33 Sean Creech Motorsport prototype remains in the lead.
The top GTD drivers achieved what they had been threatening all race, and a few of them moved ahead of their GTD PRO counterparts.
With the only difference in regulations between the two classes being driver rating requirements, it was always a possibility that what is technically the fifth class would finish ahead of the fourth class.
That fate is not sealed yet, of course, but the #27 Aston Martin and the #57 Mercedes AMG are currently ahead of all other GT cars.
The #79 Mercedes is hot on their heels, and leads the GTD PRO category ahead of the #14 Lexus that has been near the front for the entirety of the event.
With a third of the race still remaining, drivers and crews alike are looking forward to the coming sunrise to give them an extra boost of energy to make it to the finish.
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