Matt Campbell held an advantage of 8.3s in the #7 Porsche Penske 963 LMDh after 21 hours of racing in the IMSA SportsCar Championship season opener, with the #31 Action Express Racing Cadillac of Jack Aitken settling in second position.
After the #6 Porsche came into the pits at the end of Hour 18 to serve a 10-second stop/go penalty, Aitken assumed the lead in the sole remaining Cadillac, but was struggling to shake off the other 963 of Campbell.
Campbell kept the pressure up on Aitken and finally made a move after duelling for 20 minutes, taking advantage of a GTD car to go around the outside of Caddy on the banking and move into the lead.
The Australian driver was able to pull out a lead of five seconds before handing over the car to team-mate Felipe Nasr, who put in an equally impressive stint to extend that advantage further to 13s.
A caution period – deployed after the #33 Sean Creech Ligier LMP2 car left debris on track – wiped out Nasr’s lead but he had no trouble keeping Aitken at bay as the race went back to green.
Campbell took over the driving duties again at the next pitstop and kept the #7 Porsche well clear in front as the clock hit 10:40am in Daytona, while Aitken likewise strengthened his hold on second position.
The #6 Porsche was running third until Kevin Estre went off the track just after a pitstop in the 20th hour, getting stuck in the run-off area.
Estre was able to get going again but dropped to sixth position, behind the two privately-entered Porsches driven by Alessio Picariello (Proton) and Tijmen van der Helm (JDC-Miller), as well as the #40 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura of Colton Herta.
Era Motorsport consolidates LMP2 lead
In LMP2, Era Motorsport consolidated its advantage with Connor Zillisch circulating 14s clear of the #04 Crowdstrike by APR Oreca of Malthe Jakobsen.
The #52 Inter Europol by PR1 Mathiasen entry ran third with Pietro Fittipaldi at the wheel, while IndyCar racer Scott McLaughlin was fourth in the #8 Tower Motorsports Oreca.
Advantage Ferrari in GTD Pro
James Calado propelled Ferrari to the lead of the GTD Pro class with an impressive charge in the #62 Risi Competizione-entered 296 GT3.
Calado, a factory Ferrari driver, passed the #1 Paul Miller BMW of Niel Verhagen in the 20th hour of the race, despite Risi losing time repairing the car under a previous FCY.
Lauren Heinrich ran some way behind the duo in the #77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
There was a lead change in the pro-am GTD class, with Indy Dontje in the #57 Winward Mercedes AMG GT3 passing the #023 Triarsi Ferrari of Onofrio Triarsi at Turn 1 following a long battle between the two.
Triarsi was later pitched into a spin by the GTD Pro car of Verhagen, an incident for which the Paul Miller driver escaped penalty.
It dropped the #023 Ferrari now driven by Agostini to third, behind the #12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Aaron Telitz.