Eight hours in, and in a sharp contrast to last year, not only have none of the GTP contenders had to have any meaningful repair, but all but one are still on the lead lap. Only the No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963 has fallen a lap down.
Pipo Derani took the lead from Josef Newgarden early in the eighth hour and has kept the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac Racing V-Series.R as Newgarden tumbled down the order to fifth. But Derani still has a Porsche chasing him, now the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 with Kevin Estre at the wheel. Filipe Albuquerque has been moving up in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06, and has it up to third.
The GTD PRO and GTD cars continue to be intermixed, the top two in GTD PRO followed by the top two in GTD, then back to GTD PRO. Sheldon van der Linde leads GTD PRO in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 with Davide Rigon in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296.
Aaron Telitz is at the front of the GTD field in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F, with Philip Ellis following in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes AMG. The No. 32 Korthoff Preston Mercedes AMG that had been battling at the front is currently in third, Mikael Grenier having taken over from Maxi Goetz.
“It’s still too early to say if you’re battling for a win, but I guess the package we have is good,” said Goetz. “My teams are fully committed and also the teammates. Now, Mik is doing his first stint so he gets also taste now, and then I think we already for the second half of the race.”
Goetz added that he is more used to races where the GT3 cars are the quickest rather than the slowest, so he finds himself looking backwards as much as forward.
Class leaders after eight hours
GTP: Pipo Derani, No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac Racing V-Series.R
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 GT