DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The battle between Cadillacs raged on as dawn broke today, marking the three-quarter mark of the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Meanwhile, Verizon IndyCar Series veteran Sebastien Bourdais continued to race for the lead in the GT Le Mans class and fifth place overall with six hours remaining in the famed sports car endurance race.
And the debut of the Acura NSX GT3 became the story of the GT Daytona class, with Verizon IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and Indy car veteran Graham Rahal facing off for the lead of that class – and 18th overall – in the No. 86 and No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acuras, respectively.
But at the front, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R shared by former NASCAR star Jeff Gordon and sports car experts Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli held a lead of 12 seconds as the clock hit 8:30 a.m. ET in cold, rainy conditions at Daytona International Speedway.
“You can sure tell the difference with the drivers who have done it before,” said Gordon, who managed the overnight rain without incident. “The Cadillac is driving so well. That helped a lot. That is one of the toughest things I have ever done. Sometimes it rains harder, then lighter. You’re trying to figure out the dry line and the wet line.”
Second place was a duel between the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac shared by Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Filipe Albuquerque and the No. 90 VisitFlorida Racing Multimatic/Riley LMP2 driven by Marc Goossens, Renger Van Der Zande and Rene Rast.
Bourdais and the No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT he shares with Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand exchanged the lead with the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Patrick Pilet. The No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R also remained in the mix in GTLM class with Jan Magnussen Behind the wheel.
Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indy 500 winner, brought the No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09 to the pits with damage shortly before the 18-hour mark, dropping him to third in the Prototype Challenge class.
James French continued to hold a dominant lead in the PC class, in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA.
Another former Indy car driver, Scott Sharp, had the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi in fourth place in the Prototype class.
Twenty-five drivers in the 55-car race have some experience in Indy car racing. The field includes four Indianapolis 500 winners.
The race continues until its conclusion today at 2:30 p.m. ET.