DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) The Latest at the Rolex 24 at Daytona
12:15 a.m. (all times local)
Scott Pruett’s final Rolex 24 at Daytona isn’t going the way he had hoped.
The 3GT Racing team was 11th in the GT Daytona class when Pruett finished his first stint in the Lexus on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. Pruett has a record-tying five titles in the sports car race at Daytona International Speedway.
He drove a triple stint to start his race, and was due to get back in the car around 5 a.m. If the team is still running at the end of the race, Pruett said he’d like to close his 50-year career behind the wheel.
He’s retiring after this race as the winningest driver in American sports car competition with a record 60 victories. His five Rolex 24 wins are tied for most with Hurley Haywood, and Pruett also won five titles when the series ran as Grand-AM and two championships under IMSA.
Pruett turns 58 in March. He will continue to work with Lexus, the manufacturer he teamed with to help develop and promote the Lexus IS F performance sedan and Lexus LFA supercar in 2008.
Continental Tire says the failures in the Rolex 24 at Daytona have been caused by teams who ”are pushing the envelope with low pressure and aggressive camber.”
The tire company has seen at least high-profile tire issues through the first nine hours of the twice-round-the-clock endurance race. Defending race-winning team Wayne Taylor Racing had two punctured tires, while United Autosports had one problem on the entry prepared for Fernando Alonso.
Both cars were damaged trying after the tire problems.
Continental Tire representatives say the teams that have had issues are not working within manufacturer parameters. Continental also noted the tires are the same ones that have been used for the past five years without issue.
Wayne Taylor Racing headed to the garage just short of the nine-hour mark at the Rolex 24 at Daytona because of damage to the race car from a tire puncture.
Renger van der Zande was behind the wheel when the tire exploded on the Cadillac. The car was damaged as van der Zande tried to get it to pit road.
It was the second tire puncture for the Wayne Taylor team, and Jordan Taylor had to save the car earlier in the race when it failed. The second issue caused too much damage to repair on pit road.
Wayne Taylor Racing is the defending winner of the Rolex. The team won the first five races of last season and the IMSA championship. Ricky Taylor left the team at the end of the year to join Roger Penske’s new sports car effort, and van der Zande was named his replacement.
The Dutch driver won the pole to give Wayne Taylor Racing high hopes of repeating. The car was running third before it headed to the garage.
Fernando Alonso’s team fell three laps off the pace after a tire problem caused extensive damage to the car during the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Phil Hanson was driving the Ligier LMP2 as he closed in on the eight-hour mark of the endurance race at Daytona International Speedway. A tire suddenly exploded on the United Autosports entry, and Hanson had to limp the Ligier to pit road for repairs.
As the team worked to fix the damage and remove the shredded tire, Alonso replaced Hanson behind the wheel.
The team was three laps behind leader Filipe Albuquerque of Action Express Racing when Alonso pulled off pit road. The team was 11th overall
The two Ford entries from Chip Ganassi Racing have taken control of the GT Le Mans class in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Ganassi is seeking an eighth Rolex victory this year and was the grand marshal for the race that began Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. His two cars had put the rest of the GTLM class at least one lap off the pace seven hours into the endurance race.
Sebastien Bourdais was out front in the No. 66 Ford GT he is co-driving with Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller. The car won its class last year for Ganassi’s seventh victory. The team owner has six overall wins from when he entered cars in the prototype division.
The entry shared by Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon was running second in class behind its sister car. The Ganassi organization is seeking its 200th victory in major auto racing.
Mike Conway in a Cadillac for Action Express Racing had the overall lead six hours into the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The Cadillac teams seem to have the advantage and have led most of the race at Daytona International Speedway. Helio Castroneves in an Acura was running second overall, but a pair of Cadillacs were right behind the Team Penske driver.
Cadillac teams had three of the top four spots six hours into the twice-round-the-clock endurance race.
Sebastien Bourdais was leading the GT Le Mans class for Chip Ganassi Racing in a Ford.
In the GT Daytona class, Kelvin van der Linde was leading in an Audi for Montasplant by Land Motorsport.
Ricky Taylor did his scheduled stint in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and declared himself fit to complete the endurance race.
Taylor was diagnosed with the flu earlier this week and spent much of the preparations for the twice-round-the-clock endurance race in quarantine and away from the Team Penske organization. He was treated with Tamiflu.
Taylor said he was determined to do his part in the debut of Team Penske’s new Acura sports car program and did not want to force teammates Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal to carry a heavier load.
After a little over two hours behind the wheel, he said he felt strong enough for the Penske driver rotation to stay on schedule.
Fernando Alonso finished his first stint in a major sports car race wondering how his United Autosports team can overcome a speed deficiency.
The two-time Formula One champion hinted that rain at Daytona International Speedway could be the equalizer.
Alonso’s team includes his McLaren F1 understudy Lando Norris and IMSA regular Phil Hansen. If storms roll over the Rolex 24 at Daytona as expected, Alonso believes driver experience in the rain could help United Autosports.
The Ligier LMP2 was seventh and still on the lead lap after Alonso’s stint in the car.
Helio Castroneves says a broken latch on his Acura led Team Penske to fall a lap off the pace in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Castroneves started Saturday’s race second and found he was too aggressive at the beginning. After reminding himself he had 23 more hours to get the Penske organization to the end, he calmed down for the rest of his stint.
He turned the car over to Ricky Taylor and Taylor struggled to get the door closed as he headed to the track. The team discovered it was a broken latch and Taylor had to come to pit road for a repair.
The Penske team dropped to sixth after the stop.
Taylor has been battling the flu all week and Castroneves said they aren’t sure how much Taylor will contribute during the endurance race. Castroneves and Graham Rahal are prepared to pick up slack if Taylor is ill.
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Source: Fox Sports