Petit Le Mans: Mazda grabs lead as darkness sets in
Mazda Team Joest leads Motul Petit Le Mans with three hours to go, with the #77 Mazda RT24-P in the hands of Tristan Nunez leading ahead of Acura and Cadillac.
Nunez cycled to the front as the Cadillacs seem to be losing pace, with the dominant Action Express Cadillac DPi-VRs falling out of the podium positions as pitstop cycle through. Helio Castroneves was in second in the #7 Acura at the hour mark, with Renger van der Zande in third in the #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-VR.
This was despite a scare for the Dutchman when he attempted to overtake Misha Goikhberg's JDC-Miller Cadillac at turn 6, shooting into a closing gap on the inside and facing backwards. Van der Zande was able to continue unscatched.
In LMP2, history was made in a less positive manner as the #52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA 07-Gibson has joined the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA in retirement, making it the first time in IMSA history that a class has failed to see any cars make the finish.
Ford continues to lead in its final factory appearance, with Richard Westbrook having taken over the #67 Ford GT from Scott Dixon, leading ahead of the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE, currently being driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi.
The #25 BMW M8 GTE of Connor de Phillippi is not far behind, while the championship leading #912 Porsche 911 RSR in the hands of Laurens Vanthoor is hanging on in fourth ahead of the #911 of Patrick Pilet.
Bill Auberlen has taken over the GTD-leading #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 and leads ahead of Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen in the #33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the #29 Montaplast by Land Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, now in the hands of Ricardo Feller.
The newly crowned champions Meyer Shank Racing has had to retire their #86 Acura NSX GT3 Evo after a piece of debris pierced the NSX's radiator, causing irrepairable damage.