The Racers Group is well placed going into the final stages of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with three of its Porsche GT3s running in the top five of the GT class at the 18 hour mark.
Topping the charts for TRG in second place was the #67 Monster Cable Need for Speed Porsche GT3 being driven at the 18-hour mark by Porsche factory driver Romain Dumas. The #67 team had an eventful third quarter, as the car being shared by Dumas, Bryan Sellers, Emmanuel Collard, Tim George Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly was once ahead of the entire GT field by more than a lap before a series of issues on pit lane dropped the car one lap down to the leaders.
Pumpelly, Collard and Dumas were able to work their way back onto the lead lap for a time, but a brisk pace by the GT-leading #70 Mazda left the car one lap behind with six hours to go.
“It's a really good feeling to have the guys in the pits say, 'Just pace yourself at a certain number and run there,'” said Sellers after finishing a driving stint as the class leader. “It's nice not to have to play catch-up. Unfortunately, we got really caught out by that yellow flag there with the new rules and DP cars pit first. We hit the reserve and literally, ten seconds prior to us getting to pit lane, the yellow came out. We did a whole lap on reserve, and ten seconds before we're going to pit, the yellow flag comes out. Now, we can't pit, because pits are closed under the new rule.”
One position behind the #67 machine and also one lap out of the GT lead was the #66 Marquis Jet/Resorts International/Mitchell Rubber/Total Lubricants/IPC Porsche GT3 being shared by Ted Ballou, Bryce Miller, Andy Lally and Richard Westbrook.
The #66 also led for a time during the third quarter and has been a front-runner virtually throughout the race, but Lally found himself in a one-lap hole to the leader at the end of 18 hours.
“We are hanging in there,” he said. “This TRG Porsche is running well and my teammates are doing a super job. We need to hope for the best, because this is a little bit of a toss-up here. You've got guys going off in all directions and coming on all directions. There have been some close calls out there.
“You've got to drive at 95 per cent and leave a little bit on the road for reaction time to get out of other people's way. It wouldn't be Daytona if it wasn't like this. It's just what we welcome every year. I hate it when I'm in there, because I've got the white knuckle deal going on the steering wheel. This is what makes it all worthwhile at the end of this.”
Rallying back from an on-track incident in the second quarter of the race was the #64 J Lowe Racing/TRG Globus/Adopt A Pig/CRG/Maxter/Rotax/MBA Group/F1 Air/SRS/NMT Porsche GT3 being shared by Jim Lowe, Jim Pace, Johannes van Overbeek, RJ Valentine and Tim Sugden. The #64 machine was fourth in the GT class and eight laps in arrears of the class leader.