Rolex 24, Hour 7: Lengthy caution plays into strategy

A 16-minute caution period for the LMP2 No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier marked the seventh hour of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The car had sat in the Turn 7 runoff for several minutes, allowing some cars to anticipate the yellow and pit before the caution was called, including the No. 24 BMW M Team RLL M Hybrid V8, both Cadillacs and the leading No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963.

Josef Newgarden took over the No. 7 from Matt Campbell, and maintained the lead after the restart that came five minutes before the seventh hour ended, pursued by Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac Racing V-Series.R And Renger van der Zande in the No. 01 Cadillac.

Campbell felt that as it cooled down, it might be better for the No. 7 Porsche.


“I think it’s come to us a little bit,” Campbell explained. “We need to see in early morning where we stack up as the weather condition changes and see track evolution, but for sure it’s come to us a little bit more maybe compared to others. But in saying that, you know being out in front having the clean air, I think it maybe looks a little bit better than it actually is, because you can manage the car, manage traffic a lot easier. I think that really helped us in those first few stints for myself. So I feel like we’re not necessarily standing out in these conditions, but it’s just helping with our restarts.”

The LMP2 No. 99 AO Racing ORECA has found it way to the front with Alex Quinn at the wheel, leading Jakub Smiechowski in the No. 51 Inter Europol with PR1 Mathiasen Motorsport ORECA and Ben Keating, running his first stints in the No. 2 United Autosports ORECA after doing a stint in the No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963.

The buffer that the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW (pictured, top) had to its GTD PRO pursuers has disappeared, but Sheldon van der Linde still maintains the lead with Daniel Serra in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 behind. Aaron Telitz has the GTD polesitting Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F back in the lead, with Korthoff Preston Racing’s Maxi Goetz pursuing int eh No. 32 Mercedes AMG.

A couple of the GTD PRO cars have had issues and made multiple trips behind the wall. The No. 75 SunEnergy1 Mercedes AMG and the No. 60 Iron Lynx Racing Lamborghini Huracán.

Another factoid, courtesy of Michelin: Each Michelin Pilot Sport race slick carries an embedded RFID tag. Tires are scanned and tracked when mounted and are read by the Michelin RFID scanners located at pit exit.

Class leaders after seven hours:

GTP: Josef Newgarden, No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963

LMP2: Alex Quinn, No. 99 AO Racing ORECA 07

GTD PRO: Sheldon van der Linde, No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3

GTD: Aaron Telitz, No 12 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F


Story originally appeared on Racer