TUDOR Championship: Race updates from the Petit Le Mans

The No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette driven by Eric Curran, Dane Cameron, Max Papis.

Scott R LePage

Restart:

Following a red flag period of one hour and five minutes, Saturday’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda has restarted in the seventh hour, with three hours and 22 minutes remaining in the race.

Class leaders before the restart were Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP (Prototype), Patrick Pilet in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR (GT Le Mans), Mike Guasch in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 (Prototype Challenge) and Andy Lally in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America (GT Daytona).

However, pit stops occurred just after the race went back from red to yellow flag conditions. Both the No. 5 and No. 911 cars pitted from the lead in class on separate laps.

It has jumbled the order and the new leaders are Eric Curran in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP in P, and Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R in GTLM. Guasch and Lally still lead in the pro-am classes, and Lally led the field to the restart.

Red flag:

The 18th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda has been red-flagged for rain and track conditions with four hours and 38 minutes remaining.

The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Sebastien Bourdais leads over Jordan Taylor, with the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet leading GT Le Mans and running third overall.

IMSA elected to stop the race due to a heavy rain front arriving in the area, with Race Director Beaux Barfield expecting to restart the race within the next hour or so.

"We felt it appropriate to take a pause and let this cell get past us, which I’m confident it will," Barfield told IMSA Radio. "Once we get the track regained, we are prepared to wait it out and restart this race.

The clock continues to run while under the red. 

Prototype Challenge is currently led by the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of Mike Guasch, with Andy Lally pacing GT Daytona in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America.

Hour 4:

TUDOR Championship: Hour 4 recap - Petit Le Mans

Riley Motorsports has clinched the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup in GT Daytona following the first of the three points-paying segments in Saturday’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda.

The No. 93 Dodge Viper GTS-R of Marc Goossens lead the class, ahead of Robert Renauer’s No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America, which held the top spot in GTD until having an off-course excursion just prior to the four-mark mark.

Goossens’ co-drivers Cameron Lawrence and Al Carter clinch the NAEC drivers’ title as well with their current position.

Up front, the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Sebastien Bourdais is out front, 1.782 seconds ahed of Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing entry.

Dane Cameron held the point until making a scheduled stop and driver change to Eric Curran.

Tommy Milner currently leads GT Le Mans, running third overall in his No. 3 Corvette C7.R, while the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of Andrew Palmer remains out front in Prototype Challenge.

John Pew crash:

John Pew emerges from his car after a crash in the fourth hour.

Michael Shank Racing’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda is over, following a heavy crash by John Pew in the fourth hour of the rain-soaked race.

Pew lost control of the No. 60 Ligier JS P2 Honda at the Esses to bring out the sixth full-course caution.

It marked the team’s third accident of the weekend, and second of the day, following an ironman job by the Ohio-based team, and a number of other competitors, to rebuild the car following Pew’s first crash in Thursday night practice.

Up front, Dane Cameron continues to lead in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, with Patrick Pilet taking over control of the GT Le Mans class.

Hour 3:

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship-leading Prototype entry has hit trouble in the third hour of the Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda.

The No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP has dropped outside of the top-15 overall following separate incidents for Michael Valiante and Mike Rockenfeller, both of which have brought out full-course cautions.

Valiante spun from second position in Turn 12 just past the two-hour mark and struggled to rejoin after getting stuck in the grass, prompting the fourth yellow of the race.

It was deja-vu less than 50 minutes later when Rockenfeller, now in the VisitFlorida machine, drove wide on the restart and nosed into the grass, prompting another caution for a tow out.

There was trouble for the No. 88 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09 of John Falb as well, who crashed his PC contender at the same time.

The field is currently still under caution, with track conditions appearing to worsen.

Race director Beaux Barfield went out to inspect the track midway through the hour, prior to the most recent restart.

Dane Cameron leads overall, with John Edwards (GTLM), Andrew Palmer (PC) and Townsend Bell (GTD) the class leaders with seven hours remaining on the clock.

Hour 2:

The No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette led after the second hour.

Dane Cameron has taken the lead just past the two-hour mark in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP at Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda.

It’s the second time Cameron has led, after also taking the lead just past the one-hour mark. On the first occasion, he pitted just before the second full-course caution, but Richard Westbrook regained the lead 20 minutes later.

Westbrook led Christian Fittipaldi for most of the second hour. Fittipaldi set the fastest lap of the race at 1:28.420 in the No. 5 Action Express Racing car on Lap 53 and closed on Westbrook’s No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing entry, but was unable to get past.

Things got worse for Fittipaldi just before the two-hour mark, as Fittipaldi ran wide at the exit of the esses into the gravel.

The third full-course caution flew as this happened, but was actually called due to worsening track conditions as the rain intensified.

Meanwhile, Nick Tandy continued his early-race charge in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, getting up to third overall in the GT Le Mans entry, and then second once Fittipaldi ran wide before handing off to points leader Patrick Pilet.

Pilet retains the GTLM lead following the latest pit stop sequence and change of drivers.

Johnny Mowlem led most of Prototype Challenge in the second hour, after taking over from first-hour leader Tom Kimber-Smith, with both entries due to run their Silver-rated drivers later on in the race.

On the pit stop cycle, Alex Popow moved into the lead in the No. 88 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09.

Watch LIVE onboard streaming during the Petit Le Mans

Spencer Pumpelly led GT Daytona in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America for most of the second hour, and relinquished it when he made his first pit stop at the one-hour, 37-minute mark.

Cameron Lawrence, and later Marc Goossens, retook the lead in the No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R.

It was a tough second hour for both Corvette Racing entries.

Oliver Gavin had ran wide off course into Turn 1 in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R while running fifth in class, but reversed back onto the track without any major issues.

Meanwhile the sister No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia pitted to tape the windshield banner down, and also switched out an alternator belt.

The conditions also caught out Jon Bennett, Michael Marsal and Wolf Henzler, but they recovered from each of their spins or off-course excursions to resume.

Hour 1:

Richard Westbrook leads the field at the start.

Richard Westbrook has led the entire first hour of this year’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda, having paced the field in treacherous, heavy wet conditions.

The polesitting driver edged away in the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP from the three other Corvette DPs from Action Express Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing.

Westbrook banked a gap of more than 11 seconds before the second full-course caution flew, just shy of the one-hour mark, when Earl Bamber reported a tire that went down and with left rear rim damage.

Prior to that, the GT Le Mans field carved through the Prototype Challenge runners, with Nick Tandy leading the way after being resigned to the back of the grid in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR.

Tandy got past Lucas Luhr’s No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE and Oliver Gavin’s No. 4 Corvette C7.R on Lap 16, and pulled away to a 15-second lead in class before the yellow. The GTLM field made it to the top-10 overall, from fifth through about 10th or 11th depending on a couple other prototypes.

Tom Kimber-Smith (No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09) and Cameron Lawrence (No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R) led from poles in PC and GT Daytona, respectively.

Lawrence’s teammate Ben Keating had a nightmarish start in the sister No. 33 Viper. Keating crashed out trying to avoid a stalled Chris Cumming on driver’s right at the Esses, and caused significant rear end damage. That caused the first full-course caution after a single-file start, just past the three-minute mark.

Keating also ran through the gravel at Turns 10A and B after the Riley crew repaired the car.

Additionally the No. 70 Mazda SKYACTIV Diesel Prototype pitted to change its front windshield, which was fogging up.

Both the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford and No. 88 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09 entries received drive-through penalties for starting from the pit lane, although both crews made a good effort to get their cars to the grid after pre-race issues.

The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda also made the start, courtesy of a repair to the car’s right rear suspension on the grid and rear wing assembly in the paddock.