With the wet conditions adding around a dozen seconds to the laptimes of the Prototype, Mazda’s Oliver Jarvis retained the lead at the drop of the green but immediately came under pressure from IMSA debutant Kevin Magnussen.
The Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac wrested the lead at the end of Lap 1. The pair were pursued by Tristan Vautier in the JDC-Miller MotorSports Caddy, with Nasr not wasting time to move ahead of the Acuras to claim fourth place in the Whelen Engineering #31 AXR Caddy.
At the first restart, Vautier went around the outside of Jarvis at Turn 1 to make it a Cadillac 1-2, while Filipe Albuquerque moved the Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 up ahead of Nasr to take fourth and start applying pressure to Jarvis who lost momentum and fell to seventh.
Then the yellow flew again for a GTD shunt, and all the DPi runners pitted for slicks except leader Magnussen. They would rejoin in the order Vautier, Cameron, Ricky Taylor (who had taken over from Albuquerque in the WTR car, Nasr, Jimmie Johnson and Harry Tincknell who was now in the Mazda. However, the RT24-P regained one spot when Cameron stopped his Meyer Shank Racing Acura for a second time.
Following the second restart, Nasr went around the outside of Taylor at the Horseshoe turn, to make it Cadillac 1-2-3, while later around the lap Tincknell would blast past Taylor for fourth. A lap later, Vautier took advantage of being on slicks and Magnussen being on wets on a drying track and the Frenchman moved to the front pursued by Nasr, who took the lead on Lap 20 with 50mins to go. Magnussen would then pit and hand off the Ganassi car to Renger van der Zande.
The Brazilian eased away from Vautier, the gap out to 3.7sec by Lap 28, and the JDC-Miller Cadillac started coming under pressure from Tincknell.
With 34min to go, the final pitstop sequence started, with Nasr handing off to Derani, and Mazda jumping Tincknell ahead of Loic Duval who had taken over the JDC-Miller Cadillac. With 20mins to go, Duval was filling the Mazda’s mirrors until Tincknell seemed to find another level.
Duval, in fact, had to cede third to the Meyer Shank Acura now piloted by Olivier Pla, but Duval moved back ahead as they closed on the Mazda once more as it fell 4.5sec behind leader Derani. However, this three-car battle for second rather dissipated over the final 10mins.
Taylor had a fairly lonely run to fifth at the end, keeping well ahead of Kamui Kobayashi who had taken over the #48 Cadillac from the impressive Johnson and set the fastest lap of the race.
At the start, Steven Thomas pushed WIN Autosport’s Oreca to the front ahead of Roberto Lacorte in the Cetilar Racing Dallara and Dennis Andersen’s High Class Racing Oreca, but on the first restart, Thomas fell to third, Andersen fell to fourth, while Lacorte took the lead ahead of DragonSpeed’s #82 driven by Eric Lux.
Following the pitstops Lacorte’s teammate Antonio Fuoco took over and lead the class ahead of Mikkel Jensen in the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports entry, with Gabriel Aubry third in the Tower Motorsports by Starworks Oreca.
Then, with 11mins to go, Aubry had to relinquish third to Ferdinand Habsburg in the High Class car, and a minute later Jensen squeezed past Fuoco to put PR1 Mathiasen in front. Fuoco then pitted the Cetilar Dallara with a mystery problem, handing second to High Class and third to Tower Motorsports.
Rasmus Lindh (Performance Tech Motorsports) and Moritz Kranz (Muehlner Motorsports America) led from the start, while Jon Bennett’s CORE autosport machine took advantage of spins for the other three class starters to move into third. The first restart saw Kranz demote Lindh.
Following the first round of stops Joao Barbosa had the Sean Creech Motorsports car in the lead ahead of Muehlner’ car, now steered by Laurents Hoerr. The latter would retake the class lead following Barbosa’s second stop, and that would promote Ryan Norman’s Forty7 Motorsports entry into second and George Kurtz in the CORE car into third.
GT Le Mans
Alexander Sims in his first Corvette outing took the lead from class polesitter Marco Wittmann of BMW soon after the start, while Alessandro Pier Guidi moved the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 into third ahead of the second BMW of Timo Glock, Jordan Taylor’s Corvette and Cooper MacNeil in the WeatherTech Racing Proton Porsche 911 RSR.
After taking over the Ferrari from Pier Guidi, James Calado spun it coming out of the pits and fell to the back of the class. By delaying his second stop, MacNeil’s partner Kevin Estre held the class lead through the middle of the race, stopping only with 17mins remaining.
That left Tandy and Nicky Catsburg running 1-2 in the Corvette C8.Rs up front through to the checkered flag, 12sec apart, but Estre was still third thanks to Augusto Farfus having to make an extra stop in the #24 BMW due to a tire vibration.
Rolf Ineichen was the early leader in the Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracan, ahead of Russell Ward’s Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, but it was bad news for another Lambo team, Madison Snow pitting the Paul Miller Racing machine and staying there.
Zacharie Robichon’s Pfaff Motorsports Porsche ran third ahead of Robby Foley in the Turner Motorsport BMW M6 and Ian James’ Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage. On the first restart, Team Hardpoint’s Porsche driven by Christina Nielsen fell off the track and slid across the wet grass into a tire wall, causing a second yellow.
Bill Auberlen carried on Foley’s good work in the Turner BMW to take the lead as the track continued to dry but remained damp off line, and he was leading in the closing stages, albeit under pressure from Laurens Vanthoor who’d taken over the Pfaff Porsche from Robichon.
The BMW eventually finished 4.4sec clear, while Mirko Bortolotti brought the Grasser Lambo into a podium-finishing position ahead of the #14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F, which had been shared by Oliver Gavin and Aaron Telitz.