Photo: Courtesy of IMSA

2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona: First 8 Hours Recap

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

A fast start and few cautions have made this one of the stranger Rolex 24 at Daytona races ever.

Only one full course yellow was called after the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA LMP2 machine ran out of fuel with James French behind the wheel. This all took place before the third hour ran to completion.

After the fourth hour, there was a brief 15 minute rain shower but remarkably there were no incidents.

There were several themes that played themselves out over the first eight hours. The Mazda DPi project had numerous mechanical issues ranging from electrical to gearbox to other components.

The No. 20 No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports Multimatic/Riley LMP2 machine had a few pit road speeding issues with many penalties called for speeding during serving penalties. That car as of eight hours in is last in class, 42nd overall, 26 laps off the leader and eight laps behind 19th in class.

The GTLM class has had very few problems other than the No. 25 BMW M8. Bill Auberlen had wall contact and damaged the right front of his car. The nine-car class has eight cars running together on the live timing from 19th through 26th with the Ford GT duo in first and second.

At the eight hour mark the Corvettes were running third and fourth.

In GTD, the No. 29 Montaplast Audi R8 LMS GT3 is leading by a lap over the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG.

The only major straggler is the No. 58 Porsche in GTD after an apparent suspension failure caused the car to have an off track moment before the start of the race. The car appeared after two hours elapsed.

One of the more frightening moments was a pit fire on the No. 82 Risi Competizione GTD Ferrari. That car spent a decent amount of time in the garage area and is currently 25 laps down on the GTD class leading Audi.

The most remarkable statistic? No retirements after eight hours of running.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.