Action Express Racing holds the overall lead with less than two hours remaining in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. (Photo: John Dagys)

Action Express Racing holds the overall lead with less than two hours remaining in the . (Photo: John Dagys)

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12:25 p.m. ET – Rolex 24 Hour 22 Update: Bourdais Leads

Sebastien Bourdais recaptured the overall lead at the end of the 22nd hour in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, as the Rolex 24 at Daytona heads into the final two hours.

Bourdais and teammate John Martin in the sister No. 9 Corvette emerged ahead of Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP on the most recent round of pit stops.

Other class leaders include the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR (GT Le Mans), No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 (PC) and No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 (GT Daytona).

The latter of those leaders is a new one. Spencer Pumpelly engaged in a tooth-and-nail fight for the GTD class lead with Townsend Bell in the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.

Pumpelly’s Audi appeared to have the edge through the infield, and the Atlanta driver powered past heading back onto the banking, NASCAR 1 and 2, at the beginning of the 22nd hour.

Just afterwards, Pumpelly needed an emergency stop for a splash of fuel just before the start of the 23rd hour.

The story changed in GTLM as the second-placed No. 4 Corvette C7.R went to the garage to replace its gearbox. That dropped it off the podium, promoting the No. 55 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE to second and the No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R up to third.

With less than two hours to go, Nick Tandy’s No. 911 Porsche leads Bill Auberlen’s No. 55 BMW by one lap.

The latest caution occurred when Kyle Marcelli, driving the No. 7 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09, lost an engine on the backstraight and pulled off track.

The young Canadian emerged under his own power while safety crews extinguished the fire at the back of the car. He was also evaluated and released from the infield care center.

11:30 a.m. ET — Three Hours Remain

Wayne Taylor Racing could be a few hours from making history in the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. (Photo: John Dagys)

Wayne Taylor Racing could be a few hours from making history in the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. (Photo: John Dagys)

With just three hours to go, history could be in the making for Wayne Taylor Racing, which continues to lead the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Jordan Taylor remains out front, despite an unscheduled pit stop to clean the Corvette DP’s radiator after avoiding a spinning GT car in the 20th hour.

It handed the lead briefly to the No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of John Martin, but a cycling of pit stops put Taylor back on top and in control again.

The field is currently under the safety car, the 13th of the race, for the No. 87 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of Gaston Kearby, who suffered a puncture and left debris on track.

It came just moments after restarting following cleanup from accident by the No. 18 Muehlner Motorsport Porsche of Brad Blum, who made contact with Sam Bird’s No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09.

The No. 911 Porsche North America 911 RSR of Richard Lietz leads GTLM, in what’s been a hotly contested battle with the No. 4 Corvette Racing C7.R, which runs second in the hands of Oliver Gavin.

Trouble hit the third-placed No. 56 BMW Team RLL entry of Graham Rahal, who lost 10 laps due to a wheel bearing failure. It promoted the team’s sister No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE of Bill Auberlen to a podium position in class.

CORE autosport continues to lead PC, with Jon Bennett now holding a one-lap advantage over Kyle Marcelli’s No. 7 Starworks Motorsport entry in second. The 8Star Motorsports entry has slipped a further lap back to third.

GTD sees a three-horse race to the finish. Townsend Bell holds point in the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia but is closely in pursuit from the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS of Spencer Pumpelly and Jan Heylen’s Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America, which are both on the lead lap.

8:40 a.m. ET – Update on Memo Gidley and Matteo Malucelli

Statement

Memo Gidley, driver of the No. 99 GAINSCO / Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP, underwent surgical procedures on both his left arm and left leg at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach, Fla. Gidley also has an unstable fracture in his back which will require additional surgery before he can be released from the hospital. He continues to be evaluated.

Matteo Malucelli, driver of the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 Italia, remained at Halifax Health overnight for further evaluation. He continues to rest comfortably. An update on his condition will be provided later today.

8:10 a.m. ET – Rolex 24 18 Hour Update

The No. 9 Corvette DP of Burt Frisselle holds a narrow 15-second gap over Ricky Taylor’s Wayne Taylor Racing DP, who is in second.

The WTR Corvette DP had been out front through the early morning hours until making a pit stop just prior to the completion of the 18th hour.

AXR’s sister entry of Christian Fittipaldi has inherited third overall due to a puncture for the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford, which dropped it off the lead lap.

Ganassi’s misfortunes has promoted the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Oreca 03 Nissan of Lucas Luhr to fourth overall, the best of the P2 cars and the only one yet to hit any trouble.

Porsche still remains in control of GTLM, although reduced to just one of its 911 RSRs following internal engine issues for the No. 912 car of Michael Christensen in the 18th hour.

Christensen was running second at the time, right on the tail of class leader Patrick Pilet in the No. 991 car, who remains out front.

The No. 4 Corvette Racing C7.R of Robin Liddell now runs second in class, with the No. 56 BMW Team RLL Z4 GTE of John Edwards promoted to third.

The PC class has seen a back-and-forth battle between CORE autosport and 8Star Motorsports, with Mark Wilkins now out front in the No. 54 CORE Oreca FLM09.

An overnight charge by the No. 7 Starworks Motorsport entry has put the car back on the lead lap and also in contention for the class win.

Level 5 Motorsports continues to hold control of GTD, with the No. 555 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 of Jeff Segal enjoying a one-minute lead over the No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America of Madison Snow.

Trouble hit the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari of Alessando Balzan, which suffered a puncture and spin while running in second. The car is now in the garage and dropping down the running order.

5:30 a.m. ET – Rolex 24 Hour 15 Update

The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing DP holds the top spot as the field works through the 15-hour mark. (Photo: John Dagys)

The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing DP holds the top spot as the field works through the 15-hour mark. (Photo: John Dagys)

As the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona has crossed into the second half of the race, there hasn’t been too much that’s transpired over the last three hours.

Six Daytona Prototypes – four Corvette DPs and two Ford EcoBoost Rileys – and the P2-spec Muscle Milk Pickett Racing ORECA 03 Nissan have ran in the top seven positions. At the 15-hour mark, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP led overall in the hands of Max Angelelli.

Sebastien Bourdais (No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP) and Kyle Larson (No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost Riley) ran second and third.

Other class leaders include the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR (GTLM), No. 25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 (PC), and No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 (GTD).

The No. 912, driven by Patrick Long, took the lead just before the 15-hour mark when he passed teammate Nick Tandy in the No. 911.

Of note, the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R retired due to engine overheating; further issues for the DeltaWing saw that car return to the garage with a loss of drive; and the No. 08 RSR Racing PC car was caught up in an accident.

There have been 11 full course cautions in the first 15 hours.

2:45 a.m. ET –  Rolex 24 Hour 12 Update

The No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing entry driven by Scott Dixon leads overall at the halfway mark. (Photo: Getty Images)

The No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing entry driven by Scott Dixon leads overall at the halfway mark. (Photo: Getty Images)

A further update has been issued on GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing’s Memo Gidley, who was involved in the third hour accident with Risi Competizione’s Matteo Malucelli at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

According to the team, Gidley underwent surgery on his left arm and left leg, and he is currently under observation and further evaluation at Halifax Health.

Up front, Scott Dixon assumed the lead in the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost Riley. Dixon took the lead from Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP just before the twelfth hour, and holds the lead just past the halfway mark.

Dixon has completed 327 laps and leads Burt Frisselle in the Millennium-backed No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP by 0.267 of a second.

Other class leaders include the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR (GTLM), No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 (PC), and No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 (GTD).

Several big name cars had issued. The No. 01 CGR Ford EcoBoost Riley suffered major right front damage past the 10-hour mark after completing 270 laps, and lost more than 30 laps to the overall lead. The car’s suspension was bent, the splitter needed to be replaced, and the starter needed to get sorted. Sage Karam took over from Scott Pruett just prior to half distance.

Before the halfway mark, the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R pitted with smoke billowing from the engine bay, and the hood removed. That dropped that car outside the top five in GTLM.

Meanwhile BAR1 Motorsports’ James Kovacic was evaluated and released after a small fire sprouted from the No. 87 ORECA FLM09. The young Australian was running third in the PC class at the time of the incident.

12:30 a.m. ET – Rolex 24 Hour 10 Update

Joao Barbosa led overall and in P at the 10-hour mark of this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP. (Photo: John Dagys)

Joao Barbosa led overall and in P at the 10-hour mark of this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP. (Photo: John Dagys)

Joao Barbosa led overall and in P at the 10-hour mark of this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP.

Other class leaders included Nick Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR (GTLM), Michael Marsal in the No. 25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 (PC) and Jeff Segal in the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 (GTD).

Most of the leaders were engaged in the latest round of pit stops as the clock ticked over the 10-hour threshold.

Unfortunately, the last couple hours have not been kind to the GTLM-pacesetting SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-Rs.

The No. 91 went to the garage with a power steering pressure line in the ninth hour, and is now 10 laps behind the class leader after repairs. Meanwhile the sister No. 93 lost five laps with front end damage in the tenth hour.

The second factory GTLM Porsche also had issues; Patrick Long’s No. 912 911 RSR was issued a stop-and-hold plus 10 for too many men over the wall. A drive-through penalty was assessed for not serving the penalty in a timely manner.

Another car that fell out of the running in the last cycle was the No. 78 Starworks Motorsport DP, which ran as high as second overall with a lineup that included Brendon Hartley, E.J. Viso, Sebastian Saavedra, Alex Popow and Scott Mayer.

The Dinan-powered Riley suffered terminal mechanical failure on  in the tenth hour, and caused a yellow when it stopped on track.

10:35 p.m. ET – Rolex 24 Hour 8 Update

The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP has rebounded from an earlier incident in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. (Photo: John Dagys)

The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP has rebounded from an earlier incident in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. (Photo: John Dagys)

Rebounding from an accident less than one hour ago, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP is back out front in the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Jordan Taylor holds a narrow 3.6-second advantage over the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Sebastien Bourdais with eight hours now in the books.

The Frenchman took over the lead in the seventh hour when Taylor’s co-driver Max Angelelli was involved in an accident with the No. 32 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS of James Sofronas, which brought out the race’s fifth full course caution.

However, Taylor regained the lead on Lap 198. The No. 9 Action Express entry of Brian Frisselle, meanwhile, runs in third overall.

GTLM is now paced by the No. 911 Porsche North America entry of Nick Tandy, who enjoys a five-second advantage over Jan Magnussen’s No. 3 Corvette C7.R in second. The No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R, which led at the six-hour mark, now runs in third, but also on the same lap.

The PC class is paced by the No. 54 CORE autosport Oreca FLM09 of James Gue, who runs in 18th overall, behind the majority of the GTLM contenders.

Lorenzo Case has put the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 atop the leaderboard in GTD following a pit stop for the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari, which had led in the hands of Bill Sweedler.

The No. 8 Starworks Motorsport PC entry lost more than 15 laps in the seventh hour with steering rack issues. It was running fifth in class at the time.

An additional yellow came out in the eighth hour for the No. 009 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3, which stopped on track.

8:45 p.m. ET — Rolex 24 Hour 6 Update

The Chip Ganassi Racing stable has come out strong as the sun has gone down at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. (Photo: John Dagys)

The Chip Ganassi Racing stable has come out strong as the sun has gone down at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. (Photo: John Dagys)

Chip Ganassi Racing led the way as the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona hit the six-hour mark and the crucial first point-scoring segment of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.

The No. 01 Riley-Ford of Memo Rojas was out front just as the field returned to green following a caution for debris on the 3.56-mile oval/road course. An additional yellow slowed the field for the No. 09 RSR Racing PC car of Duncan Ende, who became stranded on circuit.

Rojas pitted upon the resumption of green flag racing, handing the top spot to the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP of Max Angelelli, but not before the crucial six-hour mark, which paid the first batch of points to the NAEC.

Other class leaders with one-quarter of the race complete was the No. 93 SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R of Rob Bell (GTLM), Enzo Potolicchio’s 8Star Motorsports Oreca FLM09 (PC) and the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS of Rene Rast (GTD).

The sixth hour saw the contending No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan of Gustavo Yacaman hit alternator failure, which has since returned to action following a lengthy trip to the garage.

Daytona Prototypes occupy the top-8 positions overall, with the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Oreca 03 Nissan the only P2 car yet to run into trouble.

There has still been no word on the conditions of Memo Gidley and Matteo Malucelli, who were involved in a massive accident in the fourth hour that resulted in a one-hour red flag period.

7:00 p.m. ET – Rolex 24 Hour 4 Update: Race Resumes

After a lengthy red flag, the Rolex 24 at Daytona is back under green flag conditions. (Photo: John Dagys)

After a lengthy red flag, the Rolex 24 at Daytona is back under green flag conditions. (Photo: John Dagys)

The Rolex 24 at Daytona has resumed past the four-hour mark, following a red flag of more than an hour for the Memo Gidley/Matteo Malucelli accident just prior to the third hour. No update, as yet, has been provided on either driver’s condition beyond the initial news of their transfer to Halifax Medical Center.

Christian Fittipaldi leads overall in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, ahead of Tony Kanaan in the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost Riley and Wayne Taylor in his own No. 10 Corvette DP, after taking over from his two sons Jordan and Ricky and longtime co-driver Max Angelelli.

Other class leaders past the four-hour mark included SRT Motorsports (GTLM, No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R), CORE autosport (PC, No. 54 ORECA FLM09) and Scuderia Corsa (GTD, No. 64 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3).

Kanaan took over from Scott Dixon on the No. 02′s third pit stop, on Lap 75. When Dixon was in the car, his fuel saving ability and consistency after running just behind the trio of Corvettes paid dividends in the second hour of the race.

The 2013 IndyCar Series champion led overall at that point in the No. 02. Dixon was able to stretch his stint one lap further than the Corvettes on both of the first two pit stop cycles.

Less fortunate in this stint of the race was the sister No. 01 car. Scott Pruett collided with a crewmember, who was trying to remove a piece of equipment from the car after the left rear tire wasn’t fully tightened. Pruett was assessed a stop-and-hold plus 20-second penalty for the infraction and fell outside the top 10.

The Nos. 5, 10 and 99 Corvette DPs ran second through fourth with OAK Racing’s No. 42 Morgan Nissan up to fifth at the two-hour mark, driven by Roman Rusinov.

SRT continued its lead in the GTLM class for most of the second hour before Nick Tandy ascended to the point in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR. Behind them, the battle for third involved Ferrari, the second Viper and both Corvette Racing C7.Rs.

RSR Racing led in PC with Alex Tagliani in the No. 08 ORECA FLM09; the sister No. 09, unfortunately, lost time behind the wall with a broken cylinder head. PR1/Mathiasen’s No. 52 and BAR1 Motorsports’ No. 87 were second and third in the spec class after two hours.

GTD changed most frequently, with the lead shifting between Porsche 911 GT Americas and Ferrari 458 Italia GT3s depending on the pit stop sequence. Kuba Giermaziak, in the MOMO-sponsored No. 30 NGT Motorsport Porsche, led at the two-hour mark over GB Autosport’s No. 81 Porsche and the No. 72 SMP/ESM Racing Ferrari.

The No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b and No. 0 DeltaWing DWC13 both went behind the wall during this period with gearbox issues. The DeltaWing has since returned to the race.

5:25 p.m. ET — Scary incident brings out red flag

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JANUARY 25: The #99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP driven by Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Memo Gidley and Darren Law has been involved in a scary incident, bringing out the Red Flag. (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JANUARY 25: The #99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP driven by Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Memo Gidley and Darren Law has been involved in a scary incident, bringing out the Red Flag. (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

A massive accident has occurred just prior to the three-hour mark of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, between Memo Gidley in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP and Matteo Malucelli in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia, just at the kink.

The race is now red flagged, with all cars stopped on exit of the first hairpin. Crews are at the scene of the accident to tend to the drivers; no official condition has been identified or declared regarding the drivers as yet.

At the time of the accident, Christian Fittipaldi (No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP), Dominik Farnbacher (No. 91 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R), Chris Cumming (No. 08 RSR Racing ORECA FLM09) and Maurizio Mediani (No. 72 SMP/ESM Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) were class leaders in P, GTLM, PC and GTD.

5:00 p.m. ET — It’s been a busy first couple of hours in the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona. Get caught up with all the action with our FOX Sports Hour 2 update.

Former IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti was unable to compete in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona due to injuries sustained last season, but that did not keep him from supporting his Chip Ganassi Racing teammates.

3:30 p.m. ET – The first hour is in the books at the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona, opening round of the .

Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP led a group of four prototypes who opted to pit under the first yellow flag, to lead at the one-hour mark.

The field takes the green flag for the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona. Photo Credit: Michael L. Levitt LAT Photo USA

The field takes the green flag for the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona. Photo Credit: Michael L. Levitt
LAT Photo USA

However, Barbosa was due to serve a drive-through penalty just past the one-hour mark for a pit lane infraction.

That would promote Brendon Hartley, in the No. 78 Starworks Motorsport Dinan Riley DP, to the overall lead. The New Zealander started 64th overall after the car’s qualifying time was disallowed, and he was into the top 10 overall just after 45 minutes.

Other class leaders at the one-hour mark included the No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R (Jonathan Bomarito driving, GTLM), the No. 7 Starworks ORECA FLM09 (Pierre Kaffer, PC) and the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America (Kevin Estre, GTD).

As the Park Place car was last to pit in the first pit stop cycle, the No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America driven by Jan Heylen took over the GTD class lead when Estre pitted.

One spin occurred on the first lap, involving PC class polesitter Jon Bennett in the No. 54 CORE autosport entry after contact from another car. After a brief delay, Bennett resumed at the back of the field.

Several cars – the No. 50 Highway to Help Dinan-powered Riley and No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 Italia – needed early pit stops and fell a lap behind within the first 10 minutes of the race.

The first yellow flag flew for Charlie Putman, in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports Audi R8 in GTD, after hard contact in Turn 1; Putman emerged from the car under his own power.

It was an unfortunate incident for one of the fastest cars all week, with Putman’s co-driver and 2013 GT class race winner Oliver Jarvis unable even to turn a lap in his defense.

The yellow flew just 10 minutes into the race; at the time, the overall leaders had not yet caught the tail end of the field for lapped traffic.

Nearly 20 cars took the opportunity to pit during the first yellow period, which lasted for a little more than 10 minutes before the restart. Past the one-hour mark, those cars were due to stop again.

Ferrari ascended to the lead of GTD in the hands of Mika Salo in the No. 72 SMP/ESM Racing entry, with the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 also following suit driven by Toni Vilander. Paul Miller Racing’s polesitting No. 48 Audi R8, driven by Christopher Haase, dropped back to third in class.

NASCAR star Jamie McMurray and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan are just two of the big names competing in the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images

NASCAR star Jamie McMurray and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan are just two of the big names competing in the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images

1:00 p.m. ET – Level 5 Motorsports has drafted in an impressive list of NASCAR spotters to help guide its two-car Ferrari GTD effort to victory lane on Sunday. Jeff Gordon’s spotter Eddie D’Hondt, Tim Fedewa (Kevin Harvick), Tyler Green (Aric Almirola) and Billy O’Dea (Austin Dillon) will be rotating in four-hour shifts atop the Sprint Tower. Outside of oval tracks, spotters are typically not used in sports car racing.

***Riley Technologies will be seeking its 10th consecutive overall win on Sunday, although will face stiff competition from Coyote Cars, which claimed three of the four top starting positions with its Corvette-bodied DPs. The pole-sitting GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP, however, is Riley-chassied.

***Despite the new-for-2014 rules allowing refueling while the engine is running, Corvette Racing will shut off their V8 power plants during pit stops on the grounds of safety. Under the new regulations, refueling will be allowed during tire changes.

***ACO President Pierre Fillon will have the honor of waving the starting flag for the first-ever TUDOR Championship race. GRAND-AM founder and IMSA chairman Jim France served as the starter for last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, showcasing the two sanctioning body’s strong ties to each other.

***Snow Racing’s No. 58 Porsche 911 GT America is the only car in the 29-car GTD class field with a three-driver lineup. Jan Heylen, Madison Snow and Marco Seefried will be behind the wheel for the entirety of the race.

***IndyCar Series race director Beaux Barfield is giving NGT Motorsport a helping hand with race strategy this weekend for its No. 30 MOMO Porsche 911 GT America of Henrique Cisneros, Kuba Giermaziak, Christina Nielsen and Nicki Thiim. It marks Barfield’s return to sports car racing, having served as ALMS race director from 2008-2011, although the Rolex 24 will mark his debut in a strategist role.

***David Donohue, who was part of Napleton Racing’s GX-class winning lineup in 2013, is one of several class winners not back to defend their title. Edoardo Mortara, who was part of the Alex Job Racing Audi R8 that won in GT, is not in the GT Daytona class field. Meanwhile Juan Pablo Montoya and Charlie Kimball, part of the overall winners from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will focus solely on their IndyCar efforts this year.

***The PC and GTD categories will require at least two Bronze or Silver-rated drivers in each lineup to complete a minimum of 4 hours and 20 minutes of drive time in the race for the entry to be classified. The same requirement is in place to score driver points. Prototype and GT Le Mans drivers, meanwhile, must complete only 45 minutes for points.

***Three drivers: Scott Tucker, Alex Popow and Paul Dalla Lana will be pulling double-duty between two cars in the race. Tucker is scheduled to pilot both Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari GTD entries, while Popow will share seat time in both the No. 78 Starworks Motorsport Riley-Dinan DP and the team’s No. 7 Oreca FLM09 in PC. Dalla Lana, meanwhile, will pilot both his season-long No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 in GTD and the No. 97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 in GTLM.

***Popow is aiming to score points in both Starworks entries as he’s yet to decide on his 2014 championship focus. The Venezuelan driver is still working to secure sponsorship for the remainder of the year but is hopeful of finalizing plans in the coming weeks.

***With 13 podium finishes int he last 19 years, including four GT class victories, TRG is one of the most successful teams in Rolex 24 history. The Kevin Buckler-led squad fields a modest two-car Aston Martin Vantage V8 effort this year. Remarkably, a total of 64 cars have been entered under the TRG banner over the last 14 years.

***The competition in the GTD class has been exceptionally competitive, with the top-19 cars in qualifying separated by less than 1 second, including the top-6 by just 1 tenth. With six manufacturers represented in the class, it proves the success of IMSA’s Balance of Performance process.

***The DeltaWing has been given a five-liter increase in fuel capacity, boosting the Prototype contender to 53 liters. That compares to the gasoline-powered P2 cars’ 72 liters and DPs’ 76 liters for the season-opener.

***DragonSpeed is giving a helping hand to SMP/ESM Racing this weekend, providing trackside support and mechanics for the Franco-Russian GTD outfit. The Elton Julian-owned team will campaign the same Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 in the Pirelli World Challenge this year for Mike Hedlund.

***8Star Motorsports will be assisting OAK Racing throughout the TUDOR Championship season with equipment and space at its Pompano Beach, Fla. shop. The French squad, which won last year’s LMP2 championship, fields a Morgan-Nissan in the Prototype class.