Acura’s Louis Deletraz led the 54-car subject to the inexperienced across the undulating 2.54-mile highway course in Georgia however Sebastien Bourdais took little time in taking the lead, sweeping his Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac across the Wayne Taylor Racing ARX-06 exterior at Flip 1 and shortly pulling clear.
However the race shortly went underneath warning as Ari Balogh crashed the #8 Tower Motorsports LMP2 automotive that he shares with IndyCar star Scott McLaughlin within the third minute of the race. A second yellow was required quickly after to retrieve a indifferent tyre following a GTD conflict.
There was additionally early drama in GTP as Porsche’s title contender Nick Tandy was given a drive-through penalty for not retaining in his lane on the very messy begin, dropping him to ninth.
Bourdais and WTR third driver Deletraz stayed out as the opposite GTP vehicles pitted for gasoline solely after half-hour. Factors chief Pipo Derani’s Motion Categorical Cadillac was the primary of the pitters however acquired frolicked to dry on the second restart and fell from third to sixth.
Simply after the primary hour, Deletraz handed Bourdais for the lead and the Frenchman acquired embroiled in a battle with the Meyer Shank Racing Acura of Tom Blomqvist. Deletraz then made his first pitstop after 70 minutes.
An enormous crash on the strategy to the downhill chicane put the race underneath warning once more, as Tandy was taken out following a conflict between the #20 Excessive Class Racing LMP2 automotive of Dennis Andersen and the #023 Triarsi Ferrari GTD of Charles Scardina, a crash that additionally took out the #70 Inception McLaren GTD entry of Brendan Iribe.
The timing of the yellow harm Bourdais, who fell again to sixth at this level.
The following main drama troubled Blomqvist within the final IMSA outing with Acura for his MSR workforce earlier than it begins a sabbatical from the collection in 2024, who was proper on Deletraz’s tail for the lead when he was despatched into the pits for suspension repairs after being hit by the #1 BMW GTD on the exit of the chicane. The contact despatched Corey Lewis into the tyrewall and triggered a fourth full course yellow.
“One of many GTs hit me from behind, gave me an enormous tankslapper and hit him again once more, and bent the toe hyperlink,” sighed Blomqvist. “It was an excellent sluggish pace.”
Extra insanity occurred underneath warning at pit out, as Alexander Sims (in for Derani) was rear-ended by the #25 BMW of Sheldon van der Linde as they occurred upon a pink gentle on the finish of the pit lane.
The chaos performed into Bourdais’s fingers this time and he hit the entrance from the JDC Miller Porsche of Mike Rockenfeller, the surviving works PPM 963 of Matt Campbell and the #24 BMW of Marco Wittmann.
Campbell then went on a tear, surging previous Rockenfeller and Bourdais to guide, making up considerably for PPM’s earlier catastrophe with the luckless Tandy.
TDS Racing’s Steven Thomas led Ben Keating initially however PR1 Mathiasen ace Keating acquired forward and stayed there, regardless of a fast spin in direction of the tip of the opening hour. Alex Quinn took over the #52 PR1 automotive from Keating and held the lead from George Kurtz’s #04 Crowdstrike machine.
Within the minnow prototype class, Glenn van Barlo led for Andretti Autosport from the beginning however Cameron Shields quickly took up the operating for Efficiency Tech Motorsports. There was even motion earlier than the inexperienced flag when Rasmus Lindh crashed the frontrunning #85 Duqueine LMP3 automotive seconds after leaving the dummy grid, considerably damaging its rear finish.
By the early chaos, Bijoy Garg took the lead for Jr III Racing, forward of AWA’s Anthony Mantella.
Ian James led the best way initially in his pro-am Coronary heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage however shortly got here underneath assault from Jack Hawksworth within the Lexus, which was topped as GTD Professional class champion because it took the beginning. Doriane Pin jumped to second within the Iron Dames Lamborghini, after which inherited the lead within the first spherical of pitstops as James’s Aston fell again down the order.
The GTD pack was shaken by the cautions that adopted, with Jules Gounon main the best way within the WeatherTech Mercedes, simply forward of Kevin Estre’s Pfaff Motorsports Porsche. IndyCar star Kyle Kirkwood took over the #14 Lexus from Hawksworth to run third, forward of Jordan Taylor within the Corvette.
Russell Ward led the pro-am class within the Winward Mercedes, operating fifth total of the GT equipment.