TUSC: Rolex 24 Race Updates Hours 13-On

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UPDATE (12:42 p.m. ET): With 90 minutes to go in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Jordan Taylor is the meat in an Action Express Racing sandwich.

Taylor and the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP is in hot pursuit of IndyCar’s Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP and trying to also stave off third-place John Martin in AXR’s sister car, the No. 9.

The GTLM battle has taken an important turn, as the No. 4 Chevy Corvette was forced to go to the garage for gearbox repairs, abandoning second in class. The No. 911 Porsche North America machine of Nick Tandy remains out front, but BMW Team RLL’s No. 55 Z4 GTE, with driver Joey Hand, is your new class runner-up.

GTD remains very close, with the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia still on top after Townsend Bell battled for the lead with Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8.

Pumpelly had to go to pit road shortly afterwards for fuel, however, and currently sits third behind the No. 555 (now driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi) and the No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America of Jan Heylen.

The PC category remains led by the No. 54 CORE Autosport ORECA FLM09, now in the hands of Colin Braun.

A note: GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing owner Bob Stallings, along with drivers Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Darren Law, have issued their own statements on yesterday’s crash that involved team member Memo Gidely.

UPDATE (11:11 a.m. ET): Three Corvette DPs still run in the top three positions, and overall leader Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing entry avoided a major calamity when he took to the Turn 1 grass to evade a spinning GT car. Action Express’ pair will chase him down for the final three hours as, past the 21-hour mark, the race is under full course caution.

Other class leaders include the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR (GTLM), No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 (PC) and No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 (GTD).

Less than three hours remain in this year’s running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Of note, Indy Lights champion Sage Karam made an appearance in the media center to describe his first Rolex 24.

“It’s the first time I’d ever been in for more than an hour at the time,” said the driver who’s nicknamed “SK$.” “It’s the first time I’ve ever had to share a car. But I love the sports car experience. You’re passing like 10 cars per lap; it’s definitely not boring.”

UPDATE (8:51 a.m. ET): We’ve also just received a medical update from IMSA regarding GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing’s Memo Gidley and Risi Competizione’s Matteo Malucelli.

IMSA confirmed an earlier report from the GAINSCO team that Gidley had undergone surgery overnight on his left arm and left leg at nearby Halifax Health Medical Center. But now we also know that Gidley has an “unstable fracture” in his back that will require additional surgery before he can be released from the hospital.

As for Malucelli, a further update regarding his condition will be provided later today but IMSA reports that he “continues to rest comfortably” at Halifax, where he was kept overnight for evaluations.

UPDATE (8:44 a.m. ET): As the sun rises over Daytona International Speedway and reveals an array of battered race cars still soldiering on through the 3.56-mile road course, you can’t help but think that these cars were all once spotless yesterday afternoon. It’s a reminder of how grueling the Rolex 24 (and endurance racing altogether) is.

We’re now within six hours of the finish in Daytona, and in the Prototype category, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP has become the closest challenger to Action Express Racing, which has their No. 9 Corvette DP on top.

AXR’s No. 5 Corvette DP, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ No. 02, and the No. 6 Muscle Milk Oreca/Nissan P2 car are one lap down to the leader, but they’re still very much in striking distance.

The No. 5, with Joao Barbosa at the controls, got tagged with a stop-and-hold penalty for avoidable contact around 7:30 a.m. ET this morning. Shortly after that, Scott Dixon in the No. 02 was forced to pit for a flat right rear tire.

In GTLM, the two-car Porsche North America and Corvette Racing squads that have been battling for the class lead remain on top but each team has suffered as well. Porsche’s No. 912 has been forced to go behind the wall, while the No. 3 Corvette retired overnight with overheating issues.

CORE Autosport’s No. 54 and 8Star’s No. 25 continue to duel for the PC lead, and in GTD, the Level 5 Motorsports No. 555 continues to set the pace.

4:30 a.m. ET: The prototype (P) class battle is shaping up as a seven-car fight, six of which are Daytona Prototypes and the lone interloper the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing ORECA 03 Nissan, a P2 car.

The lead had shifted between the Wayne Taylor, Action Express and Spirit of Daytona Corvette DPs, along with the Ford EcoBoost Rileys from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (No. 02) and Michael Shank Racing.

Corvette and Porsche exchanged the lead in GTLM after SRT Viper had issues and BMW has struggled with its straight line speed.

8Star and CORE have battled for the PC lead in the all-spec ORECA FLM09 class. Ferrari has held the lead in GTD for most of the race with either Level 5 or Scuderia Corsa, in the 458 Italia GT3s.

See the Hours 1-12 recap for the rest of the news.

Or, if you want another stream, check out the Magnus Racing webcast for off-the-wall coverage.

MRTI: Chris Griffis Test Sunday times and notebook

Thompson (90, Exclusive) and Hoogenboom (78, BN) in Pro Mazda. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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The two-day Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test concluded on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Combined times after the two days of running are below, with Nico Jamin (Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires) and Oliver Askew (Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires) remaining on top from Saturday to Sunday, and Darren Keane (Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda) supplanting Andres Gutierrez at the head of that field.

Previous notebooks are linked here (Friday, Saturday), with additional Sunday notes to follow.

COMBINED TIMES

INDY LIGHTS (Best Session)Full Results

Jamin. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

1. 5-Nico Jamin, Belardi Auto Racing, 1:15.7173 (Session 2)
2. 98-Colton Herta, Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing, 1:15.7808 (Session 8)
3. 23-Victor Franzoni, Juncos Racing, 1:15.7953 (Session 8)
4. 3-Pato O’Ward, Team Pelfrey, 1:16.0900 (Session 5)
5. 4-Rinus Veekay, Belardi Auto Racing, 1:16.1419 (Session 5)
6. 31-Carlos Cunha, Juncos Racing, 1:16.1585 (Session 8)
7. 31-Nicolas Dapero, Juncos Racing, 1:16.2491 (Session 4)
8. 48-Ryan Norman, Andretti Autosport, 1:16.3285 (Session 4)
9. 27-Anthony Martin, Andretti Autosport, 1:16.5185 (Session 4)
10. 2-TJ Fischer, Team Pelfrey, 1:16.8124 (Session 5)
11. 21-Heamin Choi, Juncos Racing, 1:18.1931 (Session 5)

PRO MAZDA (Best Session); Full Results 

Askew. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

1. 8-Oliver Askew, Cape Motorsports, 1:19.8142 (Session 5)
2. 79-David Malukas, BN Racing, 1:19.9394 (Session 5)
3. 90-Parker Thompson, Exclusive Autosport, 1:19.9815 (Session 5)
4. 1-Carlos Cunha, Juncos Racing, 1:20.0236 (Session 2)
5. 3-Robert Megennis, Juncos Racing, 1:20.1268 (Session 4)
6. 81-Kaylen Frederick, Team Pelfrey, 1:20.1928 (Session 5)
7. 18-Calvin Ming, Pabst Racing, 1:20.2141 (Session 5)
8. 2-Sting Ray Robb, Juncos Racing, 1:20.6289 (Session 5)
9. 91-Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport, 1:20.7001 (Session 2)
10. 80-Kris Wright, Team Pelfrey, 1:20.9930 (Session 4)
11. 82-Aaron Telitz, Team Pelfrey, 1:21.2144 (Session 8)
12. 78-Leonard Hoogenboom, BN Racing, 1:21.3713 (Session 8)

USF2000 (Best Session); Full Results

Keane ended head of queue in USF2000. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

1. 36-Darren Keane, Newman Wachs Racing, 1:25.1424 (Session 5)
2. 22-Andres Gutierrez, Pabst Racing, 1:25.5618 (Session 3)
3. 27-Callan O’Keefe, BN Racing, 1:25.6295 (Session 2)
4. 21-Hunter McElrea, Pabst Racing, 1:25.7021 (Session 5)
5. 31-Rasmus Lindh, Team BENIK, 1:25.7791 (Session 5)
6. 81-Jacob Loomis, Team Pelfrey, 1:25.8514 (Session 5)
7. 90-Parker Thompson, Exclusive Autosport, 1:25.8743 (Session 2)
8. 23-Lucas Kohl, Pabst Racing, 1:25.9792 (Session 6)
9. 37-David Osborne, Newman Wachs Racing, 1:25.9996 (Session 8)
10. 20-Aaron Telitz, RJB Motorsports, 1:26.0042 (Session 6)
11. 80-Michael D’Orlando, Team Pelfrey, 1:26.2295 (Session 8)
12. 37-Jake Craig, Newman Wachs Racing, 1:26.2452 (Session 4)
13. 25-Elliott Finlayson, BN Racing, 1:26.3668 (Session 8)
14. 32-Jaden Conwright, Team BENIK, 1:26.4557 (Session 2)
15. 38-Max Peichel, Newman Wachs Racing, 1:26.5058 (Session 2)
16. 33-Myles Rowe, John Cummiskey Racing, 1:26.6004 (Session 8)
17. 90-Justin Gordon, Exclusive Autosport, 1:26.6460 (Session 5)
18. 82-David Osborne, Team Pelfrey, 1:26.6824 (Session 2)
19. 34-Sabre Cook, John Cummiskey Racing, 1:26.9362 (Session 6)
20. 38-Oscar DeLuzuriaga, Newman Wachs Racing, 1:27.7455 (Session 8)
21. 92-Justin Gordon, Exclusive Autosport, 1:27.7750 (Session 3)
22. 24-Zoey Edenholm, BN Racing, 1:28.5449 (Session 8)
23. 93-Jayson Clunie, Exclusive Autosport, No Time

NOTES

Old USF2000 teammates Jamin and Telitz share a high-five. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
  • Several drivers pulled double duty between series, namely Parker Thompson (Exclusive Autosport in Pro Mazda and USF2000), Carlos Cunha (Juncos Racing in Indy Lights and Pro Mazda) and Aaron Telitz (Team Pelfrey in Pro Mazda, RJB Motorsports in USF2000). Telitz (above) added a run in Pro Mazda in Team Pelfrey’s No. 82 car; the Wisconsinite has done a lot of the series’ testing for the new Pro Mazda Tatuus PM-18, and had hoped to run all three series. We’ll have more meanwhile on Thompson and Exclusive’s double in the days to come; the Michael Duncalfe-led team out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was one of three new Pro Mazda teams adding those cars to USF2000 efforts (Pabst Racing, BN Racing) this week.
  • There were a handful of drivers that changed cars or teams for Sunday’s second day of the test, primarily in USF2000. While Keane ran both days at Newman Wachs, the Brian Halahan-managed team ran David Osborne and Oscar DeLuzuriaga in the Nos. 37 and 38 cars, taking over from Jake Craig and Max Peichel. Osborne switched from Team Pelfrey, where he ran Saturday, and where Jacob Loomis ran Sunday. Justin Gordon ran a second Exclusive Autosport chassis, switching to the No. 90 on Sunday after running the No. 92 Saturday.
  • The PM-18 best lap set by Askew is more than three seconds faster than the series’ official track record (Pato O’Ward in 2016, at 1:22.8800, 105.941 mph). Askew’s best time of 1:19.8142 averages 110.010 mph around the 2.439-mile circuit. Neither the Indy Lights nor USF2000 cars eclipsed the existing lap records in those categories.
  • Drivers largely extolled the PM-18’s outright pace and potential with the horsepower upgrade, in what is a significant step forward for the series. “Following prototype testing of the new PM-18, I believed that we had a special race car and this weekend’s testing confirms that,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Based on team and driver comments, this is a fantastic race car and I am very pleased with what Tatuus, Elite Engines and my team have assembled. It fits perfectly in between the USF-17 and the IL-15 in terms of lap times and, more importantly, it takes what a driver learns in the first step and introduces higher HP, higher grip and higher aero. This will be a great training car for years to come, and seeing our program now with three excellent and well-designed cars is very satisfying to me.”
  • Keane, one of the few veterans (relatively speaking) within USF2000 was plugged in this weekend as the only driver outside Pabst Racing to threaten the top of the timesheets. “It’s a good boost in confidence for me heading into next year. I am really happy with how everything is going with the team. They are a great group of guys and it’s just really good to see us improving and being where we want to be,” he said.
  • Rinus Veekay hailed the Indy Lights Dallara IL-15 Mazda this weekend in his first test there, although the talented Dutch teenager may well focus on Pro Mazda next season and shoot to win that championship, and continue his battle with Askew established in USF2000. “The car is very nice, quick,” noted VeeKay. “You can really feel the downforce and it was a pleasure to drive.”
Veekay. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

The MRTI is done with official running for the year, but the $200,000 MRTI Scholarship Shootout remains in December at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the former Firebird Raceway, outside Phoenix. The winner of that will get a ticket into USF2000 for the 2018 season.

Full MRTI spring training will take place at Homestead-Miami Speedway in February 2018, with undoubtedly a bevy of driver and team announcements to come over the following months.