Defending race champions ESM suffered heartbreak just before half way through today’s Rolex 24 at Daytona with the race leading No.22 headed to the garage after contact.
Heavy rain and cold temperature had the No.22 Nissan Onroak DPi struggle to get heat into its tires when Brendon Hartley exited the pits on new rubber.
After almost running ride at both hairpins in the infield, Hartley suffered a “wiggle” coming on the banking and was swamped by fastest GT cars. Contact with a Porsche turned the prototype into the wall.
The team emerged from the garage 25 laps later but their chance of toppling the dominant Cadillac prototypes was over.
The Porsche squad held the top spots in GTLM at the half way mark with the Kevin Estre in the No.912 leading Patrick Pilet in the No.911.
Joey hand held onto third in the Ford.
Other class leaders included Performance Tech Motorsport in PC and the new No.86 Michael Shank Racing Acura in GTD.
Persistent rain throughout the night left all teams battling for grip.